For weddings and other events, there is a distinction between escort cards and place cards (although people commonly refer to both as “place cards” these days…it’s just easier). So what’s the difference?
According to etiquette, the cards that are arranged in alphabetical order, which the guests pick up as they enter the reception area are the escort cards. These contain the guests’ names and the table number that they are assigned to.
Escort cards are usually written out as follows: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (for a married couple, formal); Mr. Paul Smith or Ms. Mary Smith (single person, formal); or John and Jane Smith (in a more informal situation where first names are used instead of titles).
The place cards usually have only the name of the person written on them, and are set at the appropriate place at the table, telling each person where to sit. The names on the place cards can also be written formally, as above, or informally, as follows depending on the type of event, the relationship of the people, etc.
Some of them can be quite creative – that’s what makes it fun! 🙂