While escort cards and escort table are a much more popular choice for most contemporary weddings, some black tie weddings and events will call for place cards.
When I received the request for calligraphy of place cards for a black tie wedding, I had to do some research to make sure that I would be delivering them a product that met their expectations of formality.
Usually when I create place cards and escort cards I find myself using up a lot of space on the card and putting the guests first name on the first line and surname on a second line below the first name. This usually looks fantastic and creates a beautiful composition on the card, but this is not proper etiquette for the most formal events.
If you are creating a place card for a very formal black tie event you want to have the full name including title all centered on the same line. The correct version of this would be the image of the card you see on the left. The card of the right would be better suited for a semi-formal or cocktail attire wedding.
One more tip is that for the most formal or black tie events, all of the calligraphy should be black ink on white paper (the best quality 100% cotton rag you can find of course!). I love metallic inks, and thankfully this bride did as well, but I do always recommend black ink for calligraphy if I know that the event of wedding is very formal. I always want to make sure that I am meeting the client's expectations and making it look like they are in the know as well ;)
In the end there are no real rules when it comes to weddings and events, but I feel strongly that knowing the traditional answers to these questions will help me give insight and context to the client's choices.