Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What are escort cards and place cards?

Escort Cards
Information on an Escort Card: the guest's name and the table number they have been assigned to sit at
More Details: An individual's name, a couples' names, or the entire family's individual names can be printed on a single escort card, considering all the guest names included on the card are sitting at the same table.
Purpose: These cards are designed to let your guests know which table you have assigned them to but allows them to choose their own seat at that table. If you want them to sit at a specific seat you will need place cards at each place setting as well.
Where to Set Them Up: any location near the entrance to your reception
`Note: Escort cards can take many shapes and forms and can be set up many ways. Look for a follow up post to see some fun ways to present escort cards to your guests.

Place Cards
Information on a Place Card: the guest's name
More Details: Each card should have an individual's name only printed on it. Children should also have their own place cards so that the parents know where they should be seating them.
Purpose: These cards are designed to let your guests know exactly which seat they are to sit in at the table they have been assigned to. Place cards are typically used in correspondence with escort cards or a seating chart for a more formal seating arrangement.
Where to Set Them Up: each place setting
`Note: Place cards are not necessary for less formal seating arrangements and can be eliminated to save money for other things.

Seating Chart
Information on a Seating Chart: the guests' names and the table number they have each been assigned to sit at
More Details: A seating chart lists all of your guests and the table number they are assigned to sit at. There are two easy ways to organize the guest names and the table numbers on a seating chart.
A. listing their names alphabetically with a table number next to each guest name
B. listing the table number followed by the guests' names that are assigned to sit at that table number
Purpose: This chart is designed to let your guests know which table you have assigned them to, but allows them to choose their own seat at that table. If you want them to sit at a specific seat at the table you will need place cards at each setting as well.
Where to Set Them Up: any location near the entrance to your reception
`Note: A seating chart is normally the least expensive option out of the options listed above!

Table Numbers don't have to be numbers...they can be places you have visited as a couple, famous people, romantic words, movie titles, or anything else that goes with your wedding theme and shows off your personalities.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What you should know before booking your reception venue...

*If the reception venue says there is room for lets say 200 people that does not always mean that is the total number of people that will fit comfortably in the space. Typically the capacity number is a number set by fire codes which takes safety and not comfort into consideration.  A good rule of thumb is to allow 8 to 12 square feet per guest so that everyone is comfortable. 2 to 4 square feet per guest is a good amount of space when considering the size of the dance floor. The band or DJ you hire for entertainment will need at least 100 square feet. That measurement may vary widely depending upon the size of your band or equipment your DJ plans to set up. If you are hosting a buffet style meal you will need about 100 square feet per table for guests to easily navigate. Also, no one wants to be sitting on top of each other so don't forget to allow your guests enough room to easily get up from the table. Allowing about five feet between tables is standard practice.

*Many reception venues only allow you to access your reception space a few hours before your reception is scheduled to begin and some only allow two hours for set up. This is certainly one place a wedding planner can really come to your rescue!

*Your photographer may be restricted to certain areas to take photos. This occurs most often at golf clubs, art galleries, and museums.

*When figuring out a final price for the food and beverages always add 6% sales tax and ask your venue what they charge for gratuity. On average the gratuity fee can add anywhere from 16% to 20% to your final bill. These are the most common fees not accounted for.

*The reception venue may need you to indicate each guest's dinner selection on their escort card, place card, or an overall serving chart. Believe it or not your guests may forget what they have selected to eat.

*If the food is being provided by your reception venue you may have to meet a minimum food and beverage purchase, which often does not allow you to include tax and gratuity to reach that minimum.

*Vendor meals are normally available. These meals are less expensive than your guest meals so you can afford to feed your vendors without breaking the bank.

*Cake cutting and corkage fees are unfortunately becoming more common. Some venues will charge you per slice for bringing in a cake from a vendor other than the one they provide. This cake cutting fee is typically around $2 per slice, but does vary. A corkage fee may be assessed if you are providing your own wine or alcohol. This fee varies widely, but on average it ranges from $8 to $20 per open bottle.
*Some reception venues are particular about the vendors you bring into their establishment and will insist you choose from their preferred vendor list. This is especially common with your choice of caterer.

*Open flame candles are not always welcomed. Confetti, sand, glitter, and balloons also find their way onto many restricted decor listings.

*The reception venue may charge you for a dance floor. This fee is charged for by section, by square foot, or as part of a package deal.
*Charges may apply if your reception lasts longer than scheduled or longer than the normal working hours set by your reception venue.

*A clean up or set up fee may be offered or required as an extra charge.

*Some reception venues require you to acquire an insurance policy to rent their space. This can be added temporarily to your home owners or renters insurance policy or you may want to purchase a separate policy at a company like

*Believe it or not a venue might book more than one reception for the same time on the same day. However, most venues do try to make sure the timing is slightly varied for their own convenience. This does not mean you will have to share your actual reception space, but be aware that you may have to share common spaces like a foyer, lobby, and/or bathrooms with another reception party. Also, be aware that the other reception's noise level may travel if your room is right next to their room.  

Discuss These Topics With All Your Potential Reception Venues
 Always Ask Questions and Always Get Agreements in Writing!