The place card is one of the most important table elements a hostess can provide for her Shabbat or dinner guests! It may seem like an insignificant little piece of paper or perhaps a time consuming affair, but in reality, the place card will help to avoid potential problems or embarrassment. Not only an artistic expression, but perhaps a way to truly show your guests how much you value them by how they are seated.
Depending upon the religion and observance of your guests, you may need to forgo the seating arrangement as laid out in Emily Post's 75th Anniversary Etiquette Book (pgs. 382-383). Some religions and observances will not allow men and women to touch therefore the seating arrangement must not be "boy, girl, boy, girl, but rather men on one side and women on the other. It is very important for the hostess to know her guests well enough to be able to plan ahead for this possibility. This is where the place card becomes the quintessential component of the dinner party, or Shabbat dinner. The comfort of the guest must set the precedence.