Making something like a DIY place card is one of the easiest ways to personalize your wedding dinner tables. But you want to do it well,

Not everybody chooses to have place cards at their wedding reception, and that’s perfectly okay. But if your guests were able to choose their entrees or desserts or anything else in advance, assigned seating makes dinner service significantly easier for your servers. I’d highly recommend doing place cards to make any non-buffet dinner service for more than 20 guests go smoothly.

Place Cards and Escort Cards

Most brides don’t know the difference between these two items, so I’ll explain real quickly here. Place cards are the cards that sit on the dinner table and indicate your seat. Escort cards are the little envelopes with cards that tell guests on which table they’ll find their place cards.

If you want to assign tables, but don’t care which seat your guests choose, you can use just place cards and put the table number somewhere discretely on the back of them.

The first thing you have to do before you start creating your wedding place cards is determine which format you’re going to do, and plan your paper shopping accordingly. But remember, if you assign seats, some people will move around. Don’t let it bug you. It’s just annoying to the caterers.

Options for DIY Place Cards

You can go super-simple, and purchase blank folding, table-tent style cards that can be put through a printer, or hand-written. Just because you bought the cheapest possible cards online doesn’t mean they have to be boring once you get your hands on them. You can be as colorful and creative as you want. I’ve seen brides glue little seashells and ribbons and all sorts of things to the place cards (note: glued place cards

like this don’t travel well, but work great if you’re getting married nearby).

You can choose something creative that goes with your wedding’s theme – such as these maps that represented places the bride and groom had traveled together.

Map place cards

Take something fun that’s representative of where you’re getting married (a starfish in this example) and tie a pretty ribbon in your wedding color with a place card label attached to the tag.

Starfish place cards

Decorative frames are very trendy – although I’m not an advocate of attempting to put a personal pic of each attendee in the frames in lieu of names. I’ve watched some panicked messes trying to finish those up. But a cute frame like these below, with a beautifully written name, makes a lovely place card the guests can take home.

Decorative frame place cards

If you or your fiancé have children, and you want to get them involved in the planning, you can turn place cards into an art project. Depending on the age of the child, it could be as simple as you cutting up differently-shaped fun paper into squares and giving them a glue stick. For an older child, you can buy them glue and fun gems or shells or sea glass or snowflakes or whatever goes with your décor, and let them get as creative as they want. If you’re worried about legibility, but want to let an old child do the writing, consider stencils! It’s okay to have your place cards look like they were colored by a five year old if you have your five year old make them!

Final tip: Be sure to get the cards stacked alphabetically in advance do you don’t have to waste time figuring it out on your wedding day!

Until next time, happy wedding planning!