In Any Event 

Name tags? I’m afraid so!

Name tagsWhat’s your name? That is a question an attendee never should have to ask at an event.

Let’s get this out of the way early. Name tags are a laborious part of event planning. We know that.

But they also are an absolute must at events.

I recently was asked if name tags were still needed at events. My answer of “I’m afraid so” wasn’t what the inquirer wanted to hear.


Name tags are vital for two primary reasons:

  • The opportunity to network is one reason to attend events, especially business gatherings. Name tags help everyone connect more readily.
  • Name tags prevent the awkward question of: “What’s your name?” They help attendees remember someone’s name when their paths cross again at that event or a future one. Or, perhaps someone looks familiar, but you aren’t certain of his or her name. A name tag clears that up for you without having to ask.


Alan Carmichael and Natalie Lester at the name tag table for the opening of Sweet P's Downtown Dive. (Photo courtesy of the Blue Streak)
Alan Carmichael and Natalie Lester at the name tag table for the opening of Sweet P’s Downtown Dive. (Photo courtesy of the Blue Streak)


There is nothing glamorous about the nitty-gritty work of event planning, and name tags fall in that category. Here are some tips to make the process as smooth as possible:

  1. Track your RSVPs daily and prepare a spreadsheet of all attendees.
  1. Determine on the front end who will accompany the invitee – spouse, partner, children, etc.
  1. Edit the list to ensure all names are spelled correctly and affiliations, if used, are accurate.
  1. Have the name tags printed in advance, not handwritten, with first and last names. Handwritten names sometimes are illegible, negating the benefit of having name tags.
  1. Be prepared for last-minute guests who don’t have a name tag. At Moxley Carmichael, we have a label maker to print name tags on-site, if needed. If a name tag must be handwritten, print neatly and large enough for the name to be seen.
  1. Have name tags on hand for key attendees, such as elected officials, major philanthropists and their spouses or partners, whether or not they RSVP’d.
  1. Develop an efficient system for checking in guests at the name tag table. Attendees should not wait in long lines to get into events.
  1. Don’t hand attendees a name tag with the sticker layer still attached. Peel it off and instruct the guest to wear the tag on the right side. This puts the name tag in someone’s direct line of vision when shaking hands.
  1. Use name tag paper that actually sticks. Name tags should not curl up and start to peel off the wearer.


Kailey Kritch, Erica Coffey and Sharon Moore, all of the Knoxville Zoo.
Kailey Kritch, Erica Coffey and Sharon Moore, all of the Knoxville Zoo, at the EventCheck Knox launch party. (Photo courtesy of the Blue Streak)


Name tags certainly are a benefit for guests, but they also help event planners. A logo can be added to the name tag that recognizes the organizer of the event, an especially nice touch for business gatherings. After the event ends, you can check your RSVP list against the remaining name tags and determine an accurate guest count and know exactly who attended.

Name tags require extra work, but it’s an added detail that attendees will appreciate.

Cynthia Moxley is the CEO of Moxley Carmichael. She can hold a plate of food, fork, napkin and wine glass in one hand and be able to shake hands with the other without spilling anything or blocking the name tag.

5 responses to “Name tags? I’m afraid so!

  1. While they may not bring a touch of elegance to one’s attire, I must agree with you about name tags. I’m so bad with names that I sometimes wish we would all just slap on a name tag every day. And a big Amen to numbers 7/9!

  2. Haha Gay, everyday wear would help. And I agree – name tags are a must at events, so helpful to everyone in attendance.

  3. I volunteer at dozens and dozens of nonprofit fund raising events a year. I wish name tags were mandatory.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree. I notice it so much now if an event doesn’t have name tags. It is so helpful for everyone in attendance.

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