Creative ways to steer guests to their seats in style

The most memorable special occasions often have some elements that are a little offbeat. At weddings, one easy place to add a creative and personal touch is the escort cards, seating charts and place cards that steer guests to their seats in style.

“Getting creative with seating chart and place card displays allows couples to tell their story, bring in unique details from their hometowns, or convey their interests,” says WeddingWire’s creative director, Jeffra Trumpower. “They’re essentially a blank slate to showcase what makes them unique.”

Couples should think about what their interests are, she advises, and what they like to do together. Escort cards ‚Äî the little cards that tell guests what table they should go to ‚Äî don’t have to be paper. Seat assignments could be printed or tied to all manner of objects. Get creative and make the “cards” yourself, or look at the work of designers online.

It’s all part of a larger trend toward personalization in weddings. “Couples this year want every detail of their wedding to be completely customized and Instagram-worthy, down to the seating charts,” says Etsy.com trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson.

For their April 2018 Montauk wedding, Jamie Ianello and Dan Morrissey, who both work with animals professionally, found a way to play off that mutual interest. Jamie bought an array of small plastic animals from online shop Safari Ltd ., spray-painted them copper and put escort cards in small top slits.

“I chose animals I liked and that would stand up easily,” Jamie says. “I matched people I knew really well with their favorite animals, but I also tried to keep it somewhat random, so people wouldn’t get the wrong impression.”

Nature lovers might attach seating cards to a vintage paddle or potting bench, or place the cards on sticks inserted into fruits, small potted plants or trays of sand. You can print names and seat assignments on seed packets or paper leaves.

For a coastal wedding, Dallas designer Rachel Carl has done calligraphy on small pieces of driftwood and oyster shells, giving tablescapes a note of seaside flavor and soft, natural color.

A nautical couple might consider pieces of sea glass for the cards, or ‚Äî if they’re displaying a larger seating chart ‚Äî colorful life preservers or buoys as a backdrop.

For a more glam look, MaryAnne Ducut-Moochun of Hamilton, Ontario, who founded Enamoured Calligraphy , hand-letters seating charts onto mirrors, plexiglass or chalkboard.

Or, for a rustic affair, display the seating chart on an antique ladder, vintage wagon wheel, weathered shutters or wooden pallet. Create escort or place cards out of sanded slices of wood or pretty earthenware tiles, lettered with permanent inks.

Avid travelers might consider placing seating assignments on an antique suitcase or steamer trunk. Attach seating cards to mini compasses, or on leather-look luggage tags. Jennifer Minch of Anthologie Press in Bend, Oregon, designs seating cards that look like retro paper luggage tags, complete with grommet and twine tie.

San Francisco wedding planner Erica Rose helped one couple combine their love of animals and music for their Napa Valley affair. Seating assignments were put on cards printed with vintage-style animals, and chair rows were delineated by placards printed with favorite song lyrics.