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If you’re working on your day of stationery, you know the pleasure of trying to get all of your guests to RSVP on time, figuring out the seating chart and ordering table numbers, seating charts, or place cards. So when it comes to your own names, do you need a place card?
The bride and groom do not need their own place cards per se. Of course, the bride and groom will know where they are sitting and don’t need a physical reminder. There are some instances where a place card for the couple will come in handy.
There are a few reasons why you might consider getting a place cards with your own names on them or with “bride” and/or “groom” written on them.
First, if you’re using the place cards at the table to reserve seats at a table with more than just the couple sitting there, you’ll want to mark your places so a guest doesn’t accidentally steal your seat! By using a place card that says your names or roles, you can ensure that everyone knows you’ll be joining the table when your cocktail hour photos and entrances are done. This is especially useful if you have u-shaped or long tables where everyone is not only given a table assignment but a seating assignment at the table, traditionally. If you have your own sweetheart table, of course, this isn’t strictly necessary since most people will know that the special table for two is for the newly weds. 😉
Second, if you’d like to photograph your place card display table or place settings to remember what your decor looked like or to submit to publications that cover weddings, you’ll want to have a few place cards with your names or roles in the shots. This makes for a great details shot or flat lay with your other stationery to show off the cohesive look of your wedding.
Third, you may want to keep the place cards as a souvenir after the day is over. If you plan to have a wedding album or scrapbook or memory box, the place cards with “bride” and/or “groom” make for a great little keepsake.
Fourth, if the place cards are not traditional paper but something fun like a toast, shot, appetizer or wedding favor, you’ll definitely want to include yourselves so you get one! How awful would it be if you planned out a champagne toast with place cards on the rim and didn’t have a glass to toast with? Make sure you count yourself in on the fun.
In most other scenarios a place card for yourself as the soon-to-be married couple is not necessary. Here are some instances where you definitely don’t need a place card for the bride and groom:
I’m kind of kidding with the last one. Everyone will tell you that you won’t eat at your wedding because you’ll be too busy. But make sure you plan to eat the dinner you and your family paid for, please! It’s essential to take a moment to yourselves to enjoy a bite and refuel before you hit the dance floor.
Speaking of forgetting, don’t forget these other day of stationery items! I have a full checklist for you to review and download to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Now that we’ve addressed the bride and groom, make sure you include place cards for all of these important guests. Your immediate family and wedding party should also receive place cards unless you’re opting for a seating chart without individual cards. And all of the other guests should get one as well.
Guests or plus ones of couples also get their own place card. If you’re not sure the name of the guest, you can ask (my preference to have someone’s actual name) or simply write “Guest of ____” and the name of the person bringing a plus one. It’s not as personal but it’s not offensive if it’s someone you’ve never met and genuinely don’t know the name of.
You can double up and put couples’ names together on one place card but I find that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. It’s often easier to just format them with one name each and send them along to the stationer or calligrapher who is doing your cards as individuals. It helps you keep better count of the total guest number, instead of juggling more numbers. (“So I have 100 guests but 62 place cards, wait, is that right?”) And you’re not accidentally leaving off a couple’s spouse or redoing cards where the couple splits up at the last minute (eek! It happens!). It’s just a lot more complicated than it seems.
Since every guest gets a place card, you may be wondering about your wedding vendors and whether to include them.
Vendors do not get a place card at weddings and they don’t need to be included in the seating chart. Vendors are seated at a separate table by the venue and therefore don’t need a card telling them where to sit.
Your vendors do need to be included in your guest count for the caterer. So make sure you don’t forget them there. To make things crystal clear, provide your caterer with a list of guests and a separate list of vendors and the total of each list. Unless you’re doing a buffet meal, vendors typically receive a different meal than the rest of the guest list. This is not a snub or necessarily a way to just save some money. Your vendors are BUSY working your wedding so sitting down to enjoy a five-course meal is not in the cards for them. They need a quick meal they can eat quickly and get back to taking photos, shooting videos, their planning duties, or playing music.
The one exception is your officiant if they are invited to the reception. Their role is finished so they are typically invited to partake in the meal and celebrate with you. Especially if you have a pastor or priest who is close to your family, they should be treated more as a guest than a vendor once the ceremony is over.
You can always DIY place cards for your wedding with a template and a printer (or great handwriting!). But if you’re looking to order a unique shape, matching font, something that goes with your theme, or simply to cross this off your to-do list, send me a message and let’s work together.
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Bread and Jaim is a stationery company located in Westchester, NY that specializes in watercolor wedding invitations and other premium illustrated stationery. Contact us for your custom stationery needs or visit the shop for semi-custom and ready-to-ship items.
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