MD wedding planner

Wedding Guest Table Assignment Ideas

How do you tell your guests where they should sit? There are actually a lot of options out there and chances for you to get creative when thinking about wedding table assignments. Below are my top five favorite ways to communicate those assignments to your guests!

Escort Cards

Photo by Jessica Crews

Photo by Jessica Crews

The most common option is via the traditional escort card, which lists the person’s name and what table they are assigned to. A couple of things to consider with this option is that you need an escort card table to display and arrange the escort cards (though it can often be “flipped” later into dessert or even a favor table, fyi!). Menu choices can also be indicated on the escort cards. One little tip from me to you: if you don’t need to indicate menu choices (i.e. you have a buffet or family style meal), put couples on ONE escort card to save money on how many you need to print! And finally, per one of my earlier tips… alphabetize them, please!!

Non Traditional Escort Card

Robinson Imagery

Robinson Imagery

You can take the same concept, but get creative with some non traditional escort cards! I’ve had couples at an outdoor, farm wedding attach names and table info to fruit (!), insert names/table info to potted succulents or attach the info to other favors. The sky’s the limit as long as you can communicate the name and table details to your guests!

Banners or Signage

Another option is to create a board or creative sign with each table listed and your guests names underneath. This requires the signage to be easy to locate for guests to look at during cocktail hour - and also requires that your guests have good memories :) You can also do the same concept on banners or other items that also list names beneath table numbers!

Wedding Placecards

Photo by Mantas Kubilinskas

Photo by Mantas Kubilinskas

In addition to table assignments, you may also want to assign folks specific seats at those tables. I’ve had couples have fun with it during their Halloween weekend wedding (with vampire teeth as place card holders!), or you can get creative and use new tools like the Cricut to carve out their names, or make things easier and simply add their names to the top of each menu on their place setting.

Don’t! Have a Cocktail Reception Instead

Photo by Stephen Gosling

Photo by Stephen Gosling

I don’t recommend this for everyone - in fact, it’s rare that a cocktail style reception with no assigned seating really works. But it can! A couple of things to consider is that if you’re not providing assigned, formal seating for everyone, you still need to provide plenty of OTHER seating - from low-top cocktail tables, to lounge chairs, you still need to have seating for everyone. In addition, make sure the food you’re serving is actually edible with one hand and no utensils - people hate standing up and eating awkward food. It’s the best way to make guests grumpy. Also, generally don’t recommend this for large weddings. This style of a reception works best for smaller, more intimate groups. And finally, make sure you clearly communicate the style of reception to your guests so they know what to expect (hey last week’s blog post, how you doing?).

Victoria and Brian's Murugan Temple of North America, MD Wedding Ceremony

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Victoria and Brian were full planning clients of mine - we started working together back in January for a September wedding. I was so excited to work with them because their wedding day was going to be very eclectic - they'd start off with a traditional wedding ceremony at Murugan Temple of North America in Lanham, MD, and end the day with a non-traditional, modern reception at the Newseum. I decided to split this wedding into two blog posts cause it's just too good not to :) So today we'll focus on the morning ceremony and tomorrow we'll dive into their modern reception!

The day started off with Victoria getting ready at the Hotel Monaco. They then proceeded to the temple for various ceremonies throughout the morning (including a saari change!), followed by a luncheon of delicious food post-ceremony at the temple.

I just adore the beauty captured by Shandi Wallace - so much color, joy, smiles, and detail! Enjoy this look into their stunning ceremony and come back next week for a look at their reception...

Emily and Zach // Woodend Sanctuary Wedding, Chevy Chase, MD // MD Wedding Planner

rainy wedding First of all, I dare anyone to view that picture, above, and not pray for rain on their wedding day. Take in that gorgeous, stunning photo (by the truly talented Amber Wilkie) for a moment and then we can move on.


I did partial planning with Emily and Zach - they were most stressed about finding a venue, so I helped them find and secure their venue, gave them some resources for the rest of their planning process along with some vendor recommendations and then reemerged this past February to do month-of coordination. This was the first wedding of my 2014 season and it was amazing. It helped me realize that while I adore and love month-of coordination, I get way more emotional when I'm working with clients I feel like I know because I have watched them go through the whole planning journey. Plus, it didn't hurt that Emily and Zach are basically the best and nicest people you'll meet. So. I got quite teary at this wedding, I'm not gonna lie.

After some prep at their own homes/hotels, both of them finished getting ready separately at Woodend with boutonierre pinning and dress putting-on. Then, they did their first look  (unfortunately inside because of the rain - but with these two? who cares). Also, Emily's dress was to die and she was the hottest.

We moved the ceremony to the tented area due to the rain (which we flipped to reception during the cocktails - big props to Main Event and their staff for getting that done so smoothly and flawlessly). And what a way to start my season. Not only did the ceremony open with the fabulous officiant Maureen Burke saying "Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us togethaah today" (PRINCESS BRIDE REFERENCE WHATTT), but it moved on to a very personal, wonderful service. Teary grooms and dads get me every time.

The chuppah and all flowers were done by Shelly at B Floral Event Design and I loved her arrangements, especially with the bird table numbers Emily and Zach put together. People then ate, drank, gave speeches (which I missed because I may or may not have been out buying more wine. Reason #204,568 that you should have a wedding coordinator. Just saying), and then danced their booties off.

I was so happy for this beautiful couple and wish them all of the best in what will undoubtedly be their wonderful mawwage.


Emily and Zach's Vendors:

Event Planning and Coordination: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Woodend Sanctuary

Photographer: Amber Wilkie

Caterer: Main Event

DJ: Evan Reitmeyer

Officiant: Maureen Burke

Hair/Make-up: Carolyn Berry, Modern Bridal Studio

Audrey and Adrian // Glen Echo Park, MD // MD Wedding Planner

I helped Audrey and Adrian with Month-Of Coordination for their Glen Echo Park wedding this September. It was an intimate affair of about 50 guests - a size I ended up enjoying as it felt like a real communal gathering rather than an over-the-top party (and something the bride and groom were obviously hoping and going for). Before I get to the rain (wa wa waaa), can we talk about how gorgeous Audrey is? I adored her hairpiece, dress, red lips… the whole thing was just stunning.

So yeah. It unfortunately rained. Hard. All day and night. Like, legitimately started raining at 3pm when I arrived for set-up and steadily rained right until 11pm when the guests were leaving. But Audrey, Adrian and their friends and family did an awesome job embracing/ignoring the rain. Their ceremony was originally planned for the small grassy portion of Glen Echo Park by the carousel, but the rain thwarted those plans. Luckily we had the Cuddle-Up Pavilion as back-up and it was great.

After a cocktail hour in the Bumper Car Pavilion (which luckily wasn’t too crowded since they had a smaller reception), along with some great shots at the carousel, the guests sat down to a family-style picnic meal and then danced their booties off. I need to quickly mention how beautifully Audrey styled her reception. She used Glen Echo well and did an upscale picnic-type vibe. She picked bold red, blues and yellows - mismatching florals with picnic checkers and chose beautiful botanical plates. I just loved it, so had to give her that shout-out!

Big thanks and congrats again to Audrey and Adrian!


Audrey and Adrian's Vendors:

Event Coordination: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Glen Echo Park, MD

Caterer: Five Fifty Catering

Photographer: Michelle Frankfurter

DJ: Steve Hoffman, Good Note DJ

Officiant: Maureen Burke