Wedding Etiquette Forum

How Do I Indicate My Guests Meal Choices?

My wedding coordinator just informed us that we have to indicate, at each table setting, which guests gets what meal (for the servers). Ugh! Just when I thought I had everything all planned/figured out!

Our 3 entrees are Chicken Piccatta with Salmon, Filet Medallions with Scrimp Scampi and a Vegetarian plate. She suggested we use different colored cards to represent each. We wanted to avoid using place cards so not to tell our guests where they have to sit.

Does anyone have any creative suggestions? My mom, God love her, suggested we put stickers of chickens and cows on each card (and she would help)! :) No thanks Mom! :) Also, how will guests know that they will have to take their escort card/holder with them into the ball room and place them by their plates?

As a guest at others weddings, I was always asked by the server so I'm wondering if it will even matter but she told us that we have to do it so...we must! Anyone else have to do this?

Re: How Do I Indicate My Guests Meal Choices?

  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    I think this means you must have place cards.  You're right, there is no way to ensure your guest will take their escort card and put it exactly at their place setting.  They might just get to the correct table, sit, and not put the escort card down at their plate.

    Just use different colors.  Or if you don't want different colors, try slightly different designs: floral/polka dot/stripe, three different scroll prints, or three different border styles.
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  • We are also doing choice of entree, and our venue requires us to have place cards on the tables so the staff know who is getting what. We are doing different colours for each entree. Our coordinator prints the seating chart and she asked that we provide info like table 1 5 chicken, 3 beef when we give her the seating chart to help organize dinner service. As a guest I don't mind being told where to sit as long as the host was considerate and sat me with people I know or might have things in common with. I actually prefer this to being told to sit where you want.
  • Thanks! Oh boy, I was anticipating the dreaded use of place cards! The ballroom will be very dim, most light will come from the centerpieces and the purple and blue up lighting on the walls. I wonder if different prints/borders would even be seen but I love this idea! I dont think we'd have any way to do a trial. hmmmm....
  • I put small stickers on the escort cards for the kids meals at our wedding.  I've never seen people not take their escort card with them to their seat.  People usually realize if there is some type of dot or sticker on them that they are indicative of their meal choice.  The waitstaff can just ask people for their cards if they don't have them displayed.  
    Jen&Mike8
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I've been to some weddings where it actually says "chicken" or "filet" under the name and table number. The wedding I was at most recently had a different color jewel next to each name. It's really discrete and I thought it was just for decoration, but it actually was green= vegetarian, blue= fish yellow= chicken. So you could do something like that. 
    buddysmom80fleur1870
  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 2014
    I was just about to suggest jewels. That's pretty common and easy to incorporate into the design, as you can use your wedding colors. You could do purple for chicken, blue for fish, and silver for vegetarian. Although, in that lighting, the purple and blue could look too similar.

    If you're concerned about guests bringing their cards to the tables, you could do a main seating chart displayed near the guestbook and such, and then put the escort cards at the actual place settings. That way, if people walk in and start milling around for a seat (some people are clueless about seating charts), they'll notice the place cards and look for theirs accordingly.

    Here are some examples of seating charts. You would put it on an easel or mount it on the wall somehow (check with your venue first):

    lc07
  • We had to do this for our work holiday dinner with about 300 people in attendance. Place cards are pretty much the only way to go, and we did a green font/border for vegetarian, red font/border for Halal, and black font/border for those with no special dietary restrictions. For the few with allergies, we noted it under their name.
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We used place cards that were a different colour to coordinate with the entree choice. We put the place cards out on a table for guests to pick up that had their table number on it, but guests could choose their seat at the table. 

    Jewels are a good choice. We used variations of our wedding colours, but the purple and navy blue looked very similar and the servers had trouble picking out the difference (we thought it was fine when we ordered the cards, but we also had the card right in front of our faces) so the servers ended up having to ask each guest at table side (though we had also provided our venue coordinator with a file that had each guests name, grouped by table, with their meal choice, so they could've used that...).
  • I was just about to suggest jewels. That's pretty common and easy to incorporate into the design, as you can use your wedding colors. You could do purple for chicken, blue for fish, and silver for vegetarian. Although, in that lighting, the purple and blue could look too similar.

    If you're concerned about guests bringing their cards to the tables, you could do a main seating chart displayed near the guestbook and such, and then put the escort cards at the actual place settings. That way, if people walk in and start milling around for a seat (some people are clueless about seating charts), they'll notice the place cards and look for theirs accordingly.

    Here are some examples of seating charts. You would put it on an easel or mount it on the wall somehow (check with your venue first):

    This is such a great idea-since there are concerns about lighting, what about putting it in different corners?  So, color + location = meal type. (I think about this kind of stuff when putting together presentations at work, i.e. using color + pattern...same kinda deal).
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    First, double-check with your venue. Our venue also requires some kind of indicator on escort cards, but they require only table assignments, not seat assignments. So you might not have to do seat assignments, just table assignments.

    Like previous posters have recommended, you can do different colored escort cards, or you can do little jewels in the corner. At the last wedding I went to, we had jewels, and we had SO MUCH TROUBLE figuring out if that was actually how servers were figuring out who got which meal. Why? Because everyone at our table had the same entree, so we all had the same colored jewels. But we were curious!

    We'll probably do jewels, but we'll see.
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  • Whatever you decide, do NOT make your place card attached to an edible favor. I worked at a country club that required place cards for menu choices and a bride tried to avoid it by attaching the placecards to their chocolate dipped pretzel favors, and most of the cards were thrown away as they were eaten or in purses. Serving dinner took way more time than was supposed to, the bride's family was not happy, the servers were not happy because we had to repeatedly ask guests who felt that being spoken to was rude what their meal choices were, and chef was mad that service was extended by almost triple the time it should have taken. It held up a lot of things set up for later, like our staff breaks, especially because that party had opted for a huge chocolate fountain late night snack. Obviously we skipped our breaks instead of pushing back the late night snack, but 12 banquet servers working 12 hours with no breaks for your wedding doesnt bode well for anyone. Just something to keep in mind. I have seen different colors, different jewels, and yes.... stickers of cows and chickens. Just make sure you keep it on the same side as the name, otherwise servers will be turning them around tableside or asking guests to. 
  • SP29 said:
    We used place cards that were a different colour to coordinate with the entree choice. We put the place cards out on a table for guests to pick up that had their table number on it, but guests could choose their seat at the table. 

    Jewels are a good choice. We used variations of our wedding colours, but the purple and navy blue looked very similar and the servers had trouble picking out the difference (we thought it was fine when we ordered the cards, but we also had the card right in front of our faces) so the servers ended up having to ask each guest at table side (though we had also provided our venue coordinator with a file that had each guests name, grouped by table, with their meal choice, so they could've used that...).


    Just from experience, not all wedding coordinators are the same. I know one of the ones I worked with would have never shared that information with the servers in any place that would have been convenient to reference while trying to serve dinner. It would have been posted in the server station near the bar selections and impossible to stop by and read everytime chef hands you a tray to take out. 
  • We had a served dinner at our reception with 3 entree choices and this had me perplexed as well. We were married at the beach and somehow starfish became our unofficial theme.  We used the Martha Stewart paper-punch for part of our invitation design and every time we punched it, the "leftovers" would be put to the side.  Well, thank goodness my mother is the creative one b/c she took those punches and adhered them to the escort cards on the table.  The servers knew that teal starfish were the london broil, the tangerine was for the chicken dinner and no starfish at all meant vegetarian.  Here is a pic below, which I hope isn't ginormous.  HTH :)

    image

     

    phiramysticlerinlin25
  • This is very common with plated meals.  Make place cards--guests will see them as they enter the room and know they need to take them.  We had 3 choices as well, I printed plain white cards and had a rhinestone ribbon on the top in our wedding colors depending on what they had: dark purple was Filet; lavender was Salmon and crystal was vegetarian.  We let the venue know our color code and it was easy for everyone. 

    image


  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We placed a 5 x 7 framed note on the table with the escort cards.  It said something simply along the lines of, "Please take your escort card and place at your table setting as it indicates your meal choice."

    It did not matter at what seat each guest sat; only that they needed to be at a particular table number.  We opted out of complicated or color coded.  I worried faux gem stones would fall off. We wrote a pretty but simple "B", "C", or "V" in the upper right hand corner of each escort card.  It was self explanatory to the servers and no additional charts were required.
  • Thanks everyone! Great ideas! I like the idea of just using escort cards, so I will probably use different "bling" stones for entree choices. So name+table number+jewel with a direction sign as @ mobkaz did!


  • I like my animal stickers.
    Romans8Love
  • s-aries8990s-aries8990 member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    I've been to place that used different color ribbons tied to the top of the escort cards that went with the decor/ colors of the event- burgundy for beef, black for chicken, white for vegetarian.

    These places also had favors placed at each place setting rather than attached to the cards.
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  • We just put a B, C, F, or K (kids) in the corner of our escort cards. I can't imagine people not putting eir escort cards near their place setting. I do like the jewel idea though and love love love the starfish cards above!

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

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