For their May wedding reception in Bourne, Mass., Jason and Amelie Neese turned to their shared love of literature as inspiration for table names and homemade escort cards.

Guests sat at tables named after the couple's favorite books, such as "The Great Gatsby," "A Movable Feast" and "Sophie's World." And the escort cards, which tell guests which table they've been assigned to, were made of old-school library cards and pockets that the Neeses ordered on Etsy.com and decorated with vintage paper.

Met a poetry reading

"We met at a poetry reading in 2007 and fell in love with each other's work, which led to us falling in love with each other, so we wanted to represent that part of ourselves and our relationship in the little details of our wedding day," Amelie Neese said.

Many couples are incorporating homemade themes to help guests navigate seating assignments at wedding receptions.

Everything from wine corks and fruit to seed envelopes and clothespins can be repurposed as place cards at individual table settings, or escort cards at the front of a reception area.

"Couples are getting increasingly creative," said Christina Friedrichsen, founder and editor of Intimate Weddings.com. "For a barn wedding, for instance, they might tie a place card to a pear or apple.

For a literary-themed wedding, they might use Scrabble tiles as place cards. For a destination wedding, luggage tags might be used.


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Friedrichsen details a number of playful do-it-yourself ideas on her website, including one using vintage fashion illustrations and another using found sea glass.

"Place cards can be the perfect way to infuse a little whimsy or add the element of surprise," she said.

One couple featured on her blog spelled out each guest's name using Legos.

Friedrichsen likes cards that are multi-functional.

"For instance, you can pin vintage brooches to card stock, add the guest's name and voila, you have a favor and place card in one. Stamp or stencil the guest's name onto a linen napkin, and again you have something that is multi-functional," she said.

Used seed packets

Kelsie Evans and Douglas Woodhouse, who got married in Antrim, N.H., made seed packets that doubled as escort cards for their 110 guests. Woodhouse handmade the packets and decorated them with 16th-century botanical illustrations.

They were marked with the guests' names and assigned tables, filled with assorted wildflower seeds and hung with clothespins in an empty picture frame in a tree.

"We wanted to plan a very intimate, detailed wedding," Evans said. "Getting married at a family member's farm where we, along with many of our friends and family, had devoted time and energy to getting the space ready already made it a very personal experience."