ANNIE & JARED'S MOUNT LEMMON ENGAGEMENT SESSION

There are not enough good things in the world to say about this couple. Working with Annie and Jared in the months leading up to their recent wedding at The Royal Palms was a true joy - the kind of interaction that made me love what I do even more. Naturally there's so much anticipation and excitement right before a wedding day, but the goodbye after is one of the hardest parts that people don't always talk about in this industry. I just loved these two so much, and the love they were surrounded by at their wedding was infectious. Annie and Jared, thank you so much for letting me and my team be a part of it with you! 

And while I anxiously wait to see their beautiful wedding photos, I'll just continue to look through their gorgeous Mount Lemmon engagement session with Lexi Moody Photography instead - lucky me!

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MAKING YOUR RECEPTION SEATING ARRANGEMENT

Creating table assignments can rank up there as one of the most frustrating, argument inducing, let's-just-go-elope-instead parts of wedding planning. Naturally it comes at the very end of the process when you are ready to just do the dang thing already, but instead you're sitting at home waiting on your last RSVPs to come in (when the due by date was a week ago) so you can figure out where to put everyone. Trust me, I get it, that is why I am here today to help save you from that misery as much as possible. 

Phoenix Wedding Planner tips for making a seating arrangement

As a planner I truly never want any aspect of preparing for your wedding to make you feel this way. But as much as I wish I could take the burden from you and do the seating arrangement myself (I oddly enough enjoy the giant game of Tetris that it is), I don't know your great aunt from your college roommate so what you would end up with probably wouldn't work. Let's face it, you're never going to please everyone and at the end of the day guests really shouldn't care where they sit because they are there to support you. So don't lose too much sleep over the matter and put these tips in place and everything will work out just fine! 

Wait until you have received all RSVPs

I don’t advise beginning your seating arrangements until you have received everyone’s responses first and know your final headcount. There will be people who don’t send their RSVP in by the requested date, so make the necessary phone calls to see if they are able to attend or not and then begin working on placing them at tables. 

Assigning tables vs. seats

This is likely a decision you made earlier on in the planning process when you discussed the formality of your event. But my advice is not to assign seats for each guest at the last minute unless you've planned accordingly for it.

While place cards can be a beautiful touch and definitely a part of your table design, I personally believe that you do not need to assign seats unless your caterer requires it or you are hosting a more formal, black tie wedding. Assigning tables will suffice in most cases and is always highly, highly encouraged.

Have a copy of your layout in front of you before you start arranging

I find it easiest to have a hard copy of the reception layout in front of you so you know where everything is. Even if the layout is not completely set in stone yet I think it helps to have a visual reference and understand the general flow of the space. 

Tip: Don’t seat elderly guests too close to the band or DJ’s sound equipment.

Start with paper and pencil

Before entering anything into a finalized spreadsheet I find it easiest to put pencil to paper and just draw it out. One of my favorite ways is to get a white poster board, draw out your tables and start arranging names in pencil at each. Another option is to use an index card to represent each table and write each guest's name on the notecards (again in pencil) until you have everyone assigned. 

Alway start with the head table, move on to immediate family and VIPs, then so on through your extended family members, friends and other guests until you are satisfied. And don’t be afraid to mix and match guests and groups of people, it makes it more exciting and promotes conversation!

Once everything is finalized

After you have created a seating arrangement that works for everyone I suggest typing up a general list of who is sitting at each table and entering each guest’s table number in your main spreadsheet. Both of these will be handy and you need this information to give to whoever is making your escort cards or seating chart. 

Tip: If you are doing escort cards vs. a seating chart make sure the cards are arranged alphabetically by last name before wedding day!

 

While this whole task may seem daunting, I hope what I have outlined helps you in the process!

Photo by: Amy and Jordan Photography 

ETSY WEDDING CAKE TOPPER ROUND UP

I think every bride knows that when all else fails while finding decor for your wedding there is always Etsy to save the day. I have rounded up some cute, whimsical, and unique options for handmade cake toppers each found on that beloved site. Everything from custom bride and grooms that can be made to look like you and your soon-to-be spouse to hearts in various shapes and sizes. Each of these toppers would look adorable in the appropriate setting and style of wedding.

(If you need more of an etsy-fix you can look through my bridesmaid gift round up as well). 

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JEN AND BRAD'S VENUE AT THE GROVE SPRING WEDDING

Jen and Brad are two very, very dear friends of mine, so working with them on planning and designing their wedding day was truly a dream for me. They are both Phoenix natives but currently live in the great state of Texas (if you want to learn more about my affinity for the Lone Star State head here). Not only do each of them have extremely demanding jobs that require a lot of travel, but at the time of their engagement Jen was also working on her MBA - quite the ambitious duo. 

They knew getting married back home in Phoenix was a top priority for both of them, and regardless of their busy lives they were going to make that happen! I was able to work with them from the very beginning of the process all they way through to their wedding day which was such a rewarding journey for me. Together we designed meaningful details and really crafted a day that was reflective of them as a couple. They wanted to ensure guests had a great time and that their day had a garden-party-meets-backyard-wedding feel to it. As you can see from the photos everything turning out beautifully and I think we achieved the vibe we were going for! 

Jen and Brad, thank you so much for having me along on this ride with you. I hope you enjoy many years of Moscow Mules together, cheers! 

Wedding Planning & Design: Wild One Events // Photographer: Amy & Jordan Photography  // Venue: The Venue at the Grove // Getting Ready Location: Arizona Grand Resort & Spa // Floral: Sarah's Garden // Stationery & Calligraphy: Roots and Rain Creative // Specialty Rentals: The Confetti Studio & Retro Rentals // Band: The Instant Classics // Caterer: Ensemble Catering // Dessert Bar: A Bakeshop  // Photo Booth: Snapbooth // Bride's Dress: Liancarlo from Destiny's Bride // Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo // Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux

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HOW TO PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF YOUR WEDDING DAY

After your long-awaited wedding day has come and gone, my hope is that there will be many memories you look back on with a full and happy heart. I myself am a firm believer that those memories are ones you should preserve (aka show off) rather than keep hidden on your computer or stored in a box somewhere. We are all guilty of putting off projects from time to time, but I am here to share some of my tried and true favorite ways to make your wedding day last long after the celebration has ended. 

Arizona wedding planner tips for preserving wedding day memories

Photographs

Pictures are likely the first thing you think of when it comes to the preservation of your wedding. After you've hired your dream photographer you obviously want to display the beautiful works of art they captured for you! I always advocate for getting a wedding album and hanging prints in your home. If you came over to my house you would see what I mean, almost every room has wedding photos displayed and it makes me smile every time I look at them! 

If you didn't order an album through your photographer I recommend Artifact Uprising for the do it yourself route. Their albums are beautiful and I have made many as gifts over the years.

Tip: They also make great photo guest books at your wedding!

As for prints one of my favorite labs is Persnickety Prints. Their quality is amazing and I have done side-by-side comparisons of the same printed photo between them and Costco - Persnickety is always far better and clearer! (Sorry Costco, I still love you for other reasons). And for a non-traditional but totally unique option I am a big fan of Photo Barna company that will print your photos on wood. 

Paper goods and other small keepsakes

I love the concept of framing small detail items such as your invitation suite. If the paper goods from your wedding were a large part of your overall design, then I think preserving them is a beautiful way to turn them into decor for your home. Other keepsakes you can consider framing are small items such as a handkerchief, a ceremonial marriage certificate, fabric swatches or ribbon, pressed flowers from your bouquet, or a ceremony program. One of the best resources for doing this is a company called Framebridge which is an online custom framing service that really simplifies the process.

Wedding Vows

One of my absolute favorites! If you wrote your own wedding vows then a beautiful way to preserve them is to hire a calligrapher or artist to write them out on paper (I say 11x14 or 16x20) and frame them. The ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day and those vows are meant to last a life-time, so why not hang them in your home?!

While my husband and I did not write our own vows we did write love letters to one another and read them out loud during our ceremony. I recently had someone hand-letter them and they are now hanging over our bed. I absolutely love seeing them each day and laugh because it is slightly noticeable who wrote more than the other (guilty). 

Signage

This one is a little more unconventional but stick with me. Have you ever wondering what people do with all those signs they make for their wedding? Personalized signage like a welcome sign/ceremony program or dinner menu are not likely to be reused by someone else, but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. My solution was to turn ours into a more sophisticated version of lawn art. In other words we propped them up against the back wall in our backyard and have trained our vines to grow over and around them. While they are extremely weathered at this point it has given our backyard somewhat of a secret garden effect and is definitely a talking point when we have friends over! I say give it a try if you think it would work nicely with the aesthetic of your garden or backyard. 

So there you have it, some of my favorite ways for keeping those memories alive! I am sure there are plenty of other ideas out there. If you have any send them my way and I will add them to this post!