Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chalkboards, Burlap, Kraft Paper & Succulents? Oh, My!

Chalkboards, Burlap, Kraft Paper & Succulents? Oh, My!
If someone had told me ten years ago that these items would be extremely popular wedding components, I would have said, “You’re nuts!”  But it’s 2012 – and they have been rockin’ the wedding world.  Many brides can’t get enough of chalkboards, burlap, Kraft paper & succulents.


Chalkboards:  So popular for menu displays, table number & table name signs, reception signage (“Guestbook,” “Cards,” etc.).  What’s the big appeal with chalkboards?  I think chalkboards are appealing because they are so unassuming, relaxed and down-homey; the perfect fit for an outdoor, tented or barn reception.  Yee haw!

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Chalkboard Table Number Sign

Instead of traditional chalk, you can also use chalk paint pens in all sorts of awesome colors.  NeoChalk works well.  I’m still partial to good ol’ white (regular chalk or chalk pen) – makes for an old-school look.  Traditional chalk will smear with the slightest touch, so I recommend using chalk pens if your chalkboards will be transported, handled a lot or moved around.

I made the table number sign above using a $1.99 chalkboard.  I painted the wood border in tangerine (color of the year!) and added rick-rack trimming.  I used a white paint pen to make the number “3” and some flourishes.

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Wedding Reception Chalkboard

Burlap:  Table runners, table signs, aisle runners, table coverings, boutonniere embellishments, burlap flowers on escort cards & place cards, burlap display boards for escort cards.  If it’s made out of burlap, then many brides want it!  What could possibly be so appealing about this brown, itchy fabric?  I think brides are attracted to this woven material because it is completely different from typical wedding fabrics (smooth pastel silks, fancy tulles, gorgeous bright organzas).  To turn something scratchy & dirt-colored into something beautiful and eye-catching….well, that’s really special.

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Burlap Table Number Sign

I made the table number sign above using scrapbook paper printed with a burlap pattern (who knew?).  I cut the number “2” out of beautiful linen paper and affixed it to the “burlap” using double-sided tape – and framed it in a $4 wooden frame from the local craft store.  SO EASY!

Kraft Paper:  Envelopes, invitations, escort cards, place cards, favor tags, table signs.  If it’s made out of paper, then lots of brides will want it made out of Kraft paper.  Brown ink has been very popular for many years now, so why not brown paper?  Kraft paper is very utilitarian & unglamorous –so to use it for wedding invitation envelopes is to turn it on its head.  I think it’s brilliant. Trendy brides love turning ordinary items into something unique & beautiful.

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"Fancy Script" on Kraft Paper Envelope

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"Splendid Blend" on Kraft Paper Envelope


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Super Fun Kraft Paper Place Cards

I made the place cards above using layers of different papers (including the “burlap” paper!).  Double-sided tape works great to hold the layers together smoothly.  Buttons, paper flowers, metal flowers…all make great embellishments.  I drew the stem on the paper flower using a white gel pen – and wrote the name in “Contempo.”

More photos of the Kraft paper place cards:

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Kraft Paper Place Cards

I collect boxes—and I thought it would be fun to incorporate some in these photos (I have no idea why).

Succulents:  Bouquets, boutonnieres, favors & table arrangements.  Succulents are native to the desert and are hot, hot, hot right now.  “LOVE THEM!” (in my best Anthony Marentino voice).  Wedding bouquets and floral arrangements are traditionally full of vibrant colors, a veritable riot of gorgeous hues.  So what’s the appeal with these fleshy plants, whose colors run the near-monochromatic spectrum of green to grey-green?  I think succulents draw the eye because of the distinct designs & patterns of their unique leaves – they’re plump, often geometric & always beautiful.  The eye is drawn to the shape & form of the plant – not the color.  They’re earthy.  They’re lovely.

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Succulent Escort "Cards"

OK, how cute are these succulent escort favors?  They were so easy to make.  I purchased tiny succulents from Lowe’s Home Improvement (!) and repotted them in teeny-tiny terra cotta pots (from the local craft store).  I added some tangerine rick-rack.  I cut the “tweet bubble” tags out of Kraft paper (what else, right?).  The precious painted wooden birds came from a local import store.  They were affixed to clothespins, but at a very odd angle, so I removed the clothespins and hot-glued the birds to bamboo skewers.  Voilà!

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Succulent Escort "Cards" - more shots

The succulent table number centerpiece below was super easy to make.  I cut burlap into thin strips for the bow.  I cut the table number out of linen paper and affixed it to a Kraft paper “flag” (hot-glued to a bamboo skewer).

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Succulent Table Number Centerpiece

I hope you have enjoyed this post!  Be on the look-out for my next blog about steampunk wedding trends. Ooooh…..and a big shout-out to my daughter Hannah for the photography!  (Hannah is a senior Illustration major at ECU.)  – Calligraphy by Carrie

What’s the difference between a “Place Card” and an “Escort Card”? Ask Me!

What’s the difference between a “Place Card” and an “Escort Card”? Ask Me!
Boy, do I get asked this question a lot.  I am passionate about escort cards & place cards.  I am head-over-heels in love with them.  So you’ve come to the right place.


A PLACE CARD is just that:  a card with a guest’s name on it that is positioned at a specific place setting on a table.  If you are using place cards at your reception, then each individual guest at the table should receive a place card.

Samples of Traditional Place Cards - Calligraphy by Carrie

Apple Place Cards - Calligraphy by Carrie

Traditional place cards are tented cards.  But ANYTHING that can be written on can be used as a place card.  Sand dollars, magnolia leaves, small mirrors, even ping-pong balls (which I did for a fabulous bar mitzvah last year). A wedding favor with an individual guest’s name on the tag can do double duty as a place card.  The sky is the limit.

An ESCORT CARD includes the guest’s name AND their table assignment (either a table number or a table name). Escort cards are used in lieu of a table seating chart.  If you’re having a large reception, using escort cards will prevent a log jam of guests trying to find their names on a single seating chart!

Escort cards are displayed alphabetically near the entrance to the reception venue.  Guests retrieve their card to find out their assigned table.  Tented escort cards can be displayed on a table top.  Flat escort cards or tags can be pinned or clipped to a decorative board.  I’ve seen whimsical displays of escort cards pinned to clotheslines, and elegant displays of escort cards dangling from tree branches and large floral arrangements.  Many brides affix their escort cards to their wedding favors – which are displayed creatively.  Just like place cards, anything that can be written on can be used as an escort card!  Brides are very creative these days.

Whimsical Escort Card Display - Calligraphy by Carrie

Magnolia Leaf Escort Cards - Calligraphy by Carrie

Wedding Favor Tag as Escort Card - Calligraphy by Carrie

You can use individual escort cards – one for each guest.  Or couples (or even families with young children) can be included on a single escort card.  Both types of escort cards (individual or couples) are considered “proper.”  As a professional, I personally prefer the look of individual escort card displays because the names on the cards are more uniform & balanced.

Some clients use small envelopes as escort cards – with table assignment cards tucked inside.  The beauty of this type of escort card is the table assignment cards can be switched around as often as necessary before the event.  How brilliant!  If you have table assignments written on the bottom or on the back of an escort card, or on the inside of a tented escort card, then a few of the cards will have to be redone if there are some last-minute changes to the table assignments.

If you use escort cards, then you do not have to use place cards.  Your guests may sit wherever they wish at their assigned tables!  However, some clients wish to assign seats and, therefore, also use place cards.  Some reception venues require place cards to indicate entrée selection.  Keep in mind that escort cards with individual names (not couples) can be used as place cards as well!  Your guests can put their individual escort card at the place setting where they wish to sit at their assigned table – and the escort card then essentially becomes a place card.  Individual escort cards can indicate entrée selection, just like a place card.

Dangling escort cards! - Calligraphy by Carrie

What’s the best format for the names on place cards & escort cards?

In my professional opinion, the very best format for a place card & escort cards is first & last name only (no titles):  “Samantha Jones,” “Donald Draper.”  Not using titles is not considered less formal.  If you are having a very formal reception, then I recommend using “Benjamin” instead of “Ben,” “Rebecca” instead of “Becky,” etc.  The names are much easier to read without titles, and are easier to balance on the cards, making them very appealing to the eye.  When your escort cards have been displayed alphabetically, it is much easier for your guests to spot their names without titles.  If you are including couples on the same card, then I recommend for couples with the same last name that the woman’s name appear first (“Mary & John Wilson”) – per traditional etiquette.  Another bonus if you forego titles:  instead of “Mr. & Mrs. James Jones,” your card will reflect the woman’s first name as well as the man’s first name:  “Sarah & James Jones.”

For couples with different last names, you may put the person to whom you are closest first on the escort card (your best friend, family member, etc.).  However, escort cards can look cluttered with multiple first & last names.  So if you’ve invited lots of couples with different last names, then that’s another reason to consider individual escort cards.  Aesthetics are important!  Yes, escort cards serve a very important function (getting guests to their table), but they are also a way to show your fabulous style to your guests!

For smaller affairs, first-name-only place cards (“Judy,” “Thomas,” etc.) add a very personal touch.

Place Cards for a Bridesmaids' Luncheon - Calligraphy by Carrie

Super Fun Taxi-Cab Escort Card (with Table Name) - Calligraphy by Carrie

My venue requires place cards with entrée selection.  What’s the best way to indicate entrée selection on a place card or individual escort card?

Use no special designation for the most popular entrée (usually beef)—no added bling or indicator; just the plain card with name (and table assignment, for an escort card).

Then, for other entrées (chicken, fish, vegetarian), you can affix some bling in the corner of the place card or individual escort card.  Examples of bling:  very small flat metal squares or circles (from your local scrapbook store); or small crystals or other decorative element. You can affix one bling for chicken; two blings for fish, etc.  I have found that using a single bling in different colors to indicate entrée choice (blue for fish, green for vegetarian, for example) is far less effective than the “1-bling, 2-bling” method.  Wait staff can more readily read the number of blings than the color of blings (especially in candlelight).

Some clients have affixed different colors of ribbon to their cards to indicate entrée.  You can also use different colors or patterns of paper for place cards (or individual escort cards) in order to indicate entrée choice – as long as the color or pattern differences are easily discernible.

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I hope this information on escort cards & place cards is helpful to you!  If you have any questions, please let me know. – Calligraphy by Carrie