Do You Need Place Cards at a Wedding?

Explore all the pros and cons of wedding place cards if you want to incorporate them into your special day.

By Maggie Mahoney

Do You Need Place Cards at a Wedding
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

When it comes to your wedding, there are many big design elements to consider, from the venue to the flowers to the color scheme. However, often overlooked, but equally important, are the small details that tie your wedding aesthetic together to create a cohesive and thoughtful overall look.

A prime example of those impactful accent elements is wedding place cards. They perform double the work by informing your guests where they need to sit, while also visually enhancing your table settings! However, you may be asking yourself: Are place cards actually essential? Are they worth the extra work? Zola is here to help you explore all the pros and cons of wedding place cards and come to a decision on if you want to incorporate them into your special day.

What Is a Place Card?

A wedding place card is a piece of stationery labeled with a person's name that most often goes on reception tables. They are positioned at each place setting to let wedding guests know where they need to sit. Place card materials can vary widely from cardstock to acrylic, wood, chalkboard, or really any design or material that inspires you. Some place cards, such as tent cards, can stand on their own, while other place card designs require place card holders to anchor them. They may not be maps, but wedding place cards can help guests navigate the wedding venue.

What Information Goes on a Place Card?

There are no hard rules about what goes on place cards—making those decisions is up to you and your SO. You want to include your guests’ first and last names for practical reasons, of course, but besides that, the choice is yours. Many couples opt to add table numbers to place cards too. If you want to add a personal touch, you can always write a sweet little message to your guests from you and your spouse on the back of the cards. If your place cards don’t stand up on their own, remember to order place card holders to keep them propped up and visible.

Galata Photo Credit // Zola - Galata Place Cards

When to Use Place Cards and When to Avoid Using Them

Having place cards at your wedding is up to personal preference, and by that same token, when to use place cards comes down to individual preference. For example, if you and your SO don’t care about assigned seats, they may not be necessary for your reception.

Place cards are best suited for more organized, sit-down events, such as the wedding reception. The actual wedding ceremony has less need for place cards, but if you want to include place cards at your wedding ceremony, consider keeping them flat and placing them on people’s assigned chairs.

Benefits of Place Cards

Although place cards are optional, using them at your wedding can be helpful in various ways. For one, they create order and organization, and aid in enforcing your planned out seating chart. They also prevent confusion and chaos by guiding your guests to their assigned seats. Another sneakier benefit of the place card is its ability to aid in your guests’ conversations.

Gone is the awkwardness of introductions or forgetting a distant relative’s name. Finally, place cards tend to enhance the look of the reception tables without adding too much clutter. Do you want to tie together your green table linens and yellow flowers, for example? Infuse a yellow and green color scheme into your place cards to create subtle unity.

Galata Suite Photo Credit // Zola - Galata Suite

What to Keep in Mind

Narrowing down place card designs can be difficult since there are so many fonts, colors, patterns, and materials to choose from. When designing your place cards with your partner, try to think first about the style of your wedding. Is it a casual beach affair, a fancy black-tie soiree, or somewhere in between?

Next, consider your wedding colors or theme (if you have one). You may love a certain place card look, but if it isn’t your color scheme or is off-theme, it could throw off your intended aesthetic. Your answers will dictate what materials and styles will best suit the overall vibe. For example, a beach wedding may opt for wooden place cards with rustic, engraved names. Couples hosting a black-tie event may gravitate towards acrylic, marble, or cardstock place cards with delicate, gold leaf lettering. Once you have gathered your favorite options, sit down with your SO and any other family members or friends that you trust and make the final decision.

Place cards are one of the many special details that make a wedding feel unique and personalized. They may not be every couple’s cup of tea, but if you want to keep your reception tables organized and add a touch of class, a place card may do the trick!

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