Post # 1
We are having dinner with our 40 guests at a restaurant after our ceremony.
How do you do place cards for something so small? I mean there isn’t really room to do a table with everyones place card lined up and table numbers assigned.
But if I put individual place cards at their seats I’m afraid the guests will arrive and be walking around each table looking for their places all at one time, and it will be a mess.
Is there a better way to do it that I’m not thinking about?
Post # 3
@Crazyhair: there are tons of creative ways to do seating cards that don’t require a table. A quick pintrest search of ‘escort card setup’ will yield a ton of ideas!
Post # 4
I’m doing a magnetic board that is holding my place cards. It is going on a standing easel. You might find a little spot for something like an easel, it wouldn’t take up much room. Or if you did set the place cards at seats, just do a seating chart and have it placed at the entrance, would also take up little room.
Post # 5
Forty people is a nice manageable size for an intimate formal meal. I would do place-cards as a matter of course: I do any time I sit down more than ten people, and sometimes do it for even ten. Place cards are always placed on the table before the guests arrive, one per guest, centered just above the plate, either on little folded tent-cards, or on flat cards in some sort of holder.
“Escort cards” are optional but if they are used, they are in addition to place-cards. Since, at a highly formal meal, couples are always separated to give them the piquant experience of a novel dinner-partner, an escort card is intended to inform each gentleman of which lady (or ladies, if the table is unbalanced in that direction) he is to escort in to dinner. Each lady’s proper formal name is written on a plain flat card, and placed inside a small envelope which is addressed to the gentleman by his proper formal name. The envelope is handed to him at the door when he arrives. In your case, since you are probably not separating couples, I would forego escort cards.
Since it is the gentleman’s responsibility to ease his ladies’ way, he must find out in advance where to escort them to. The most standard means is an attractive map of the table(s) with the guests’ names written on paper slips which are then arranged around the map showing where they will be sitting. I use a large antique picture-frame with the back-board under the glass covered in green felt. The paper-name slips stick to it reasonably well if you lay the glass on carefully before inserting the board into the glass-paperslip-backboard sandwich into the frame. If you foresee holding formal dinners at your own home or club (or at the same restaurant) more than a couple of times it is worth your while to invest some time into making an attractive reusable table-cart. Put this on or next to the gentlemen’s coat-rack or the table where the escort-cards are being dispensed, so that the gentlemen will notice it immediately.
At very large parties with multiple small tables marked by numbers in high-mounted holders, the standard seating map may be replaced by writing “Table n” on the escort card(s), so that the gentleman knows the table whereto escort his ladies, where he will find only eight or so place settings to search for the right individual places. It is in this role that escort cards have been co-opted for the wedding industry even when the hostess has no clue that they are meant to introduce a new dinner-partners. But that is a work-around for when the banquet is so unwieldy large that a table-map will not work; and for the ultra-strict high-formal banquet where a single large table is de rigueur, it is of course not an option.
Post # 6
You can print the list in a easy to read script font and place it inside a nice frame. I’m sure there’s an area you can place it or lean it against that guests will see.
Post # 7
Thank you everyone for your suggestions! (and especially aspasia475 for that extremely informative explanation) 🙂