Two of our most popular day-of stationery requests are for seating charts and place cards. So, which is better? Seating chart or place cards? Let’s dive into this question!
It is vitally important to consider a seating chart and/or place cards to make sure the logistics around guest seating go smoothly. Determining which one to use depends on the size of the gathering, the dynamics of the group and even the dietary needs of the guests in attendance. Depending on your specific needs, you may want to consider using both a seating chart and place cards or using only one of these items. We have listed what each item is useful for below, and have included some pros and cons for each of the varying styles and setups.
THE SEATING CHART
Providing a seating chart makes guests feel more confident in finding their places while minimizing the number of people wandering around the reception hall. We highly recommend that any dinner event that involves some sort of assigned seating for 25+ guests have some kind of seating chart.
Charts can be printed by table number, or, as we are seeing becoming more common with larger gatherings, in alphabetical order by first or last names. There are also many printing and display options available for any kind of budget. Many couples prefer to create a one-piece design that can easily be hung on a wall/from the ceiling or placed on an easel.
- this creates a beautiful aesthetic that can easily be placed in a frame, adorned with florals etc.
- options for printing materials include paper, PVC, wood, mirror, acrylic etc.
- are perfect for a mid-size gathering of 50 – 200 people with all names contained on a single page
- require additional rentals such as easels or hanging equipment
- the files will need a large format printer to produce, which will be more expensive than a standard print
- for materials like PVC, wood, mirror and acrylic, a specific type of printing process is required for the print to be set, which adds to the expense
- once the piece is printed, any errors to be fixed or any changes to arrangements cannot be made without reprinting the entire piece
- larger gatherings of 200+ people may require either a larger sign or a couple of signs to accommodate all your guests’ names
The other option for couples/event planners is to print off each table individually on cardstock or other materials. These can be hung together or placed in frames on a table. It’s a totally different feel from a single sign but does come with a different list of pros and cons.
- can be printed in a standard-sized printer (unless materials like wood, acrylic or PVC, etc. are being used)
- easily transportable and perfect for destination weddings
- if error fixing or edits are required last minute, only the pieces containing the error or edit need to be reprinted
- rentals or purchases of large frames and easels are not required, as prints can be hung on string, or even mounted to a wall (provided the venue allows this and their directions for installing/removing are followed)
- individual tables can get lost/damaged in transport and setup
- not recommended for a super large guest count
THE PLACE CARDS
These little things can do so much more than mark an assigned guest seat! Place cards can be used to help the serving staff identify food choices and dietary restrictions. They can be used as a game device (i.e. adding a sticker on the bottom of a random card to see who gets to take the centrepiece home). They can also be used as a coaster as well as the guest favour (a trend we are seeing quite often these days).
Typically speaking, our place cards are printed on cardstock at 3.5″ x 4″ and are scored in the middle to create a folded 3.5″ x 2″ tent card. However, other final sizes and layouts are available, as well as paper and printing options.
Using digital black and white printing on a basic cardstock is the most cost-effective print method. However, you can get full colour for only a fraction more.
- guests are seated precisely where you want them, instead of randomly selecting a place in the hall or table
- make plated meals and dietary restrictions so much easier for serving staff
- unique place cards can be a fantastic conversation starter
- do add on an additional “per person” expense to your event
- can be more labour intensive, requiring extra design/proof and production time
- need to be reviewed before the event to ensure all names are accounted for
PLACE CARD PRO TIP
We get many requests from couples who want to have all their guest place cards written with their name in gold/black/white/silver foil. Although this is a stunning look, it is often out of the client’s budget. Clients can always hire a calligrapher to do the names in ink or ask the stationer about digital gold/white/silver ink. Otherwise, this look requires tools and costs per item that bring this style to print, out of reach for most clients.
We are so happy to help couples navigate the day-of stationery world, and would love to meet you to start designing for your day!
We are also excited to announce the launch of our day-of stationery rental website! We have gathered many items through the years that we think could be useful for couples on their special day, and are happy to provide affordable rentals of these items! Click the button below to head over to the site, and keep checking back as we add more items!