Creative Alternatives to Traditional Table Numbers

As much as things change, one remains the same — couples are continue to be on the lookout for ways to add a personal touch to their weddings through unique details.

wedding table numbers
Photo: Jenny DeMarco

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to put your personal stamp on your wedding is by implementing unique alternatives to table numbers at the reception. We asked wedding professionals for the most creative ways they’ve seen couples break the table number tradition. Here are their favorites:

"A big trend that we're seeing is using unique and thoughtful décor items to display the numbers, such as potted plants, and these items can also serve as favors. We're seeing puns used in the title of the table number display that ties back to the overall theme of the wedding itself. Table number displays are becoming their own focal point of the wedding." —Julianne Smith, The Garter Girl

"I've seen an identifiable centerpiece as a table number and put a picture/label on the card. For example, a Star Wars-themed event could sit people at tables identified by ship (i.e., there was a Millennium Falcon, TIE fighter, X-wing, etc.). For those with an established fandom and great collections, this provides an option to put this theme front and center. It also provides a potential talking point and table identity. Much more fun to have a table of rogues and bandits than a simple Table 19." —Vijay Goel, Bite Catering Couture

"For smaller weddings (under ten tables), we love when you can inject some personal details into table names, be it travels you’ve taken together or moments of your dating/personal life (think schools or restaurants that hold special meaning to the two of you)." —Andrea Smith, SoiréeSmith

"I love keeping table numbers personal to really tie in the couple's personality, background, and love story. We once coordinated a wedding for mathematicians, and the table numbers were (easy) equations! Guests really loved it. For another client, they wanted their fur baby to be a part of the festivities, but he was a little too wild to be on-site. Instead, they did an impromptu photo shoot with their pup next to large numbers that were framed on each table. It tied in with the aesthetic and still brought in some personal touches." —Nora Sheils, Rock Paper Coin, Bridal Bliss

"Some table numbers we have created for our clients were not actually numbers but rather names of locations the couple had visited. Our team of designers was tasked to custom-illustrate a watercolor landscape for each location. It was very obvious how much thought and effort were put into those cards, as they were another way the couple was able to share their love story with their guests." —Kelley Nudo, Momental Designs

"One of my favorite replacements for a traditional table number is a little painting. The mother of the bride painted a different bird for each table so that guests were able to match the bird on their escort card to their assigned table. After the wedding, the couple framed the collection of paintings to hang in their home." —Jocelyn Filley, Jocelyn Filley Weddings

"One creative alternative to table numbers is to pull names from either the wedding location or the couple’s love story. This could be city names of places where they have lived or traveled to. If it's a destination wedding, it could be names of their favorite towns or spots in that location, like a beach or a restaurant. In addition to a table number, I’ve seen couples use photos of themselves at that specific age that correspond with the table number. (#3 is photos of them at the age of 3, etc.)." —Jessica Feiden, Jessica K Feiden

"One of my favorite creative alternatives to table numbers has been using album covers of the couple’s favorite bands or singles. To keep it within their classy theme, they altered each of the albums to black and white instead of keeping them in full color. Guests loved looking at the photos, and they were a hit with the photography team." —Kimberly Sisti, SISTI & CO.

"At a recent LGBTQIA+ wedding, the couple highlighted some of their favorite icons with their table numbers, including celebrities like Elliot Paige and Laverne Cox. The table numbers included short bios about each figure and their contributions to the community." —Katie Leonard, The Treasury on the Plaza

"One of my wedding couples is a New York City vegan wedding dress designer and her (now) husband. The two of them wanted an entirely vegetarian wedding even though the majority of their guests were Texans. Although they received feedback from the guests before the wedding (until those guests had the most delicious vegetarian meal of their lives), they thought of a clever way to incorporate animals into their wedding reception dinner after all. They decided to represent animals in the form of creatively drawn table titles! It was a super successful option with a touch of wit. Loved that idea, as did the guests when finding their tables." —Sarah Chianese, Mangia and Enjoy!

Table number alternatives are one of the best ways to showcase your personality as a couple, support your wedding theme, or creatively tell your love story. Whatever you choose to go with, make sure it resonates with who you are as a couple and brings your vision to life. Have fun and be creative when selecting alternative table numbers — the possibilities are endless!