There are many creative ways to direct your guests to their seats for your wedding reception. Escort cards and seating charts are the two most popular ways to tell your guests where to be seated.
What is the difference? A seating chart is definitely less work - you can easily make a seating chart on several computer programs or websites, print it out, get it enlarged at your local Kinko's or Office Depot, and either mount it on foam core or have it framed. It's cost effective and simple, but it still looks elegant and gets the job done. Many couples personalize it by adding their monogram or another design that represents the style of their wedding.
Escort cards are created either for the individual, couple, or family, and on this card their name and table are listed. Although it does take more effort to make each card (either by writing them yourself, printing them on the computer, or having a calligrapher do it), there seem to be more options and unique ways to display them which is the benefit. Some couples choose to do a very elaborate setup of the escort cards in order to make an impact when the guest first walk into the cocktail hour or reception room, while others do a more traditional setup. Here are some of my favorite escort card and seating chart photos from our past weddings and from other sources as well:
(Photo credits - The first 5 photos-- Our personal photos and weddings we have done with Jason Angelini; The last 5 photos -- TheKnot.com. For more seating ideas, click here)