This blog is part of a series hosted by Austin wedding calligrapher, Jen Krause sharing how to make a seating chart for your wedding. Read more tips from Jen on the first blog post, “How to Make a Seating Chart for Your Wedding.”
Hi friends! Jen of Jen Krause Paper Co here. I’m a calligrapher/designer/stationer here in Austin, Texas, and one of my absolute favorite parts of wedding day-of signage is the escort display, or seating chart! Lately, this seems to be the design element that couples get the most creative with. I’ve done all sorts of things from lettering on acrylic boards leaned up against the wall, to hand-lettered envelopes with personalized notes inside, to escort cards pinned to greenery walls, to multi-piece hanging displays, and everything in between. There are SO many options, so it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. But, I’m here to help!
Designing Your Escort Display
Onto the fun part! There are so many options and seating chart ideas and possibilities, so my recommendation is to first start on Instagram or Pinterest and browse for inspiration! You know your style the best, so start with key words that apply to your design aesthetic. (Traditional vs boho. Colorful vs neutral. Classic vs funky. And so on!)
PRO TIP: You will see many escort displays that are arranged alphabetically, and many that are arranged by table number. Now, this is a question I get very often from couples. “Which should I do?!” Well, if your guest count is greater than ~120, definitely stick with alphabetical! It makes it so much easier for your guests to read, rather than having to search a huge jumbled list for their name. If it’s lower than ~120, you could go either way! Alphabetical is still typically easier, but sometimes it looks really nice to organize by table number, especially if your tables all have around the same number of guests at each. But, if you have different sized tables with widely varying numbers at each (for example, some are 6-tops, others are 12-tops), the chart may look untidy and messy, and I’d stick with alphabetical. Just a thought!
But enough with all the talking. Let’s look at some examples!
Printed Escort Board
We’ll start off simple with the printed escort board. This can be printed on poster stock and placed in a frame, or it could be printed and mounted to foam board to stand on an easel on its own. A perk of doing a printed display as opposed to handwritten, is that you can incorporate classic typefaces and get the text relatively small while making it still readable. You can also include colors, graphics, or illustrations that match your other stationery pieces.
The most common size I see for a printed seating chart is around 18×24” or 24×36”. It is easy to find frames in both of these sizes, and they fit well on both tabletop easels and floor easels.
Photos shown from left to right: chart printed and mounted to white foam board; chart printed and mounted to white foam board that incorporates watercolor calligraphy (which mimicked the invitation suite); chart printed on poster paper and placed inside gold frame that incorporates floral illustrations from the invitation suite; chart printed burgundy and mounted to foam board to match the overall color palette.
Paper Escort Cards
Another very traditional way to do your escort display is good ol’ fashioned paper escort cards. A very classic way to display escort cards are to have tented cards placed on a table. But of course, as ideas and trends change, there are so many new ideas! You can secure them onto boards or walls with tape, or hang them with clothespins, or place them in cute holders, and so much more! Just be sure to keep these in alphabetical order by last name!
PRO TIP: Since escort displays are typically displayed at cocktail hour, a great thing to keep in mind is whether your cocktail hour will be indoors or outdoors. If it’s outdoor, I wouldn’t recommend doing tented or flat cards on a table. All it takes is one gust of wind to blow them completely out of place!
Photos shown from left to right: flat printed escort cards, clothespinned to pieces of horizontal strings along a greenery wall // handwritten escort cards with gold wax seals, taped onto an acrylic board with double-sided tape // handwritten flat escort cards, placed in spray painted plastic animal toys (for a super fun, DIY touch!) // handwritten tented escort cards, arranged in rows on a table.
Other Materials: Acrylic, Wood, Mirror
The handwritten escort board leaned against a wall is probably what I see most often. At least as of lately. I do a lot of these on mirrors, acrylic panels, or wood boards. (But of course, the opportunities are endless!) The examples above are arranged both alphabetically and by table number. You could even go super casual and just include first names, but only if you have a small enough guest count to where this makes sense.
PRO TIP: Be sure to have your florist add a little greenery or floral to your seating chart, no matter what style you choose! It is the cherry on top of this fun focal piece!
Photos shown left to right: a mirror that belonged to the wedding planner (we literally took it from her living room to create this piece, then she got it back at the end) // a clear acrylic board leaning against windows // an acrylic panel that was painted solid black and displayed on a low floor easel (so it didn’t have to be up against the wall) // two light-stained wood panels leaned against the wall.
A slight variation to the handwritten escort board is to hang/display the piece(s) in ways other than leaning it against a wall or window! This gets a little more complicated, and may require additional setup or rental costs, but it’s worth it if this piece is an important focal piece for you. Figuring out other, creative ways to display your escort board(s) is a fun challenge and will definitely make your display stand out!
Shown from left to right: an acrylic board standing upright in a white wood base with a greenery installation behind // four acrylic square boards hung with fishing line from two greenery walls // two custom-cut acrylic pieces installed into custom built wood frames // ten 8.5×11” clear acrylic panels, secured into a larger gold rental frame for a “windowpane” effect.
You can also do escort boards/cards on new materials, like draping fabric, copper sheeting, vases/jars, vellum, champagne drink stirrers, paper tags tied to small favors, or so much more!
All this to say, the options are ENDLESS when it comes to your seating chart! Feel free to get funky, try new things, use new materials, and push the boundaries! Or, if you want to keep it classic and pretty, that is more than fine too! The moral of the story is there are no wrong answers. As long as the information on your seating chart is easily accessible and readable by your guests, have fun!
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Bianca Nichole Events is a wedding planner in Austin, TX, and will travel to Dripping Springs, San Antonio, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country area.