Question: What is the difference between a place card and an escort card?
Its a common misconception that those two cards can be interchanged, but in reality both serve a different purpose. An escort card's purpose is to inform the guest of which table they are sitting at. Escort cards are at the entrance of the venue where a guest can take their specific tag with them to their table.
The use of the place card takes it one step further. The place card will be at the place setting for the guest upon their arrival; it informs them what chair they are assigned to. By assigning guests to chairs, waiters can more easily distinguish which guest selected what entrée based on a list given to the venue prior to the event.
In recent years, it has become a more common trend to only use escort cards and allow the guests to choose what seat they prefer. What is great about escort cards is your guest can sit next to whomever they like. You can also code the escort cards so the waiter knows what entrée your guest have chosen by coding the back of the them with colored dots. For example, blue could be for steak, and red could be for fish.
This simple solution reduces confusion and makes a more comfortable environment. It doesn't mean that the waiter isn't going to double check, especially for allergy purposes, and ask your guest what they are having for dinner, but it helps the fluidity of the service. It gets you through your meal quicker so you can hit the dance floor sooner!