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P.O. Box 50622, Phoenix, Arizona 85076   (480) 921-7891


December 30, 2011


Organize your guest list (if you haven’t already) all in one place.  Make an alphabetized guest list which includes your guests’ full names with their complete addresses.  Depending on which program you use, would highly recommend separating each field (so you may sort as the need arises) by:

  • assign a “special” number to each guest as a “couple”* (see #1 below for details on why you will thank me a billion times for this tip)
  • first name
  • last name (easy to make an alphabetical list by last name of each guest) and title (if any)
  • address
  • city
  • state/country
  • zip/postal code
  • phone number (in case they don’t RSVP and you need to call them)
  • # RSVPed for reception
  • # RSVPed for brunch (the day after your wedding)
    dietary restrictions (if any, especially if you are having a choice of beef, fish, vegetarian, etc.)
  • table number (if you are having assigned seating at your reception)
  • thank-you sent
  • make brief notes of relationships (“Andrew’s mom’s best friend,” “Elena’s fiancé”) NOTE:  as you assemble your list these details will be helpful when you greet guests, arrange table seating, and when you write your thank-you notes.

Read through these tips to make it easier for you:

1).  Make an assembly line so you do each step one by one (one task at a time will make sure you don’t forget to do it for one invitation)!

2).   To keep your sanity once you receive your RSVPs, use your “special” assigned number to each guest on the back of their RSVP card.  Many of your guests will forget to write or fill in their name on their RSVP card when they see the M________________.  When this happens, you receive their RSVP with the number attending, yet you do NOT know who they are!  Easily solve this by being proactive and printing the guest’s “special” number lightly in pencil or an invisible ink pen on the back of your RSVP card.  If your guest forgets to write their name on the line, you will know who is responding.

3).  Consider hiring a calligrapher, or ask your wedding planner for a recommendation of someone who has nice hand writing to address your invitations.   Depending on your envelopes, they may fit into your printer if you are a DIY, check one before continuing this so you don’t damage multiple envelopes.

4).  Do not abbreviate streets, cities, or states.

5).  Write the guests’ full names on the outer envelope (without abbreviations).  Traditionally invitations are inserted into two envelopes, an inner envelope and an outer envelope.  The outer envelope is the one that is addressed and stamped, while the inner envelope has only the names of the people the invitation is addressed to.  For example a married couple’s inner envelope is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.  Anderson” with neither first names nor address.   You may want to write the names of intimate relatives and lifelong friends in informal terms such as “Uncle Tom and Aunt Sadie”. 

6).  Avoid writing “and guest” or “and family” so everyone invited feels the invitation is especially for him or her.

7).  Before mailing, take an assembled invitation (don’t forget all of your enclosures such as  your maps, RSVP cards, etc.) to your local post office to have them measure and weigh your assembled invitation and confirm you have the correct postage on your invitations.  (The last thing you need is to have your invitations  returned for improper postage or even worse having them delivered to your guests with “postage due”).

8).  In addition to your invitation you may have other enclosures  such as response cards, maps, and tissues.  Make sure everything is assembled one by one so you don’t omit an important item from your invitation mailing.

9).  Stuffing the envelopes:

  • When 2 envelopes are used (inner and outer envelope) put all the enclosures in the inner envelope facing the back.
  • The inner envelope is placed unsealed in the outer envelope with the flap away from the person.
  • When there are insertions, they are placed in front of the invitation, so they face the flap (and the person inserting them).
  • In the case of a folded invitation, insertions are placed in the same direction but within the fold.

10).  Mail invitations eight weeks before the wedding (especially if you are inviting many out-of-town guests). 

11).  Make sure your return address appears on the invitation on the upper left-hand corner, or on the envelope’s flap.  This lets your guests know where to send replies and gifts to in case your return address does not appear on the invitation.

12).  Expect that not everyone will attend.  25 percent of those you invite will not be able to attend.   You will receive your “yes” RSVPs before the “can’t make it”.  

13).  A and B list etiquette.  If you have a “wish” list or “B” list, try to mail all your invitations on the same day regardless of their “list” category.  Remember your “B” list may know some of your “A” list, and vice versa.  You don’t want to hurt the feelings of others by thinking they are not invited to your wedding.

Copyright 2012, Kim Horn, MBC™

To hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.

Kim M. Horn, MBC™

Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 59 in the World

Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings

Publisher | Pres. |

AZ State Coordinator | Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 – May 2012

ABC 2010 Conference Chair worked with David Tutera

O 480.921.7891

C 602.418.9089

F 480.829.6292


December 3, 2011


Your RSVPs are in, what’s next? 

Deciding who sits with whom requires being tact, being considerate, having diplomacy, and having a sense of adventure.  This is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, where you will be putting all the pieces together, one by one.    

1).  Do I really need assigned seating?  Most guests prefer having assigned seating to a table.  Unassigned seating sounds great in theory, yet it rarely works out well. 

  • Do you like going to an event which is “general admission”?
  • There may be a “rush” for the best seats.
  • Couples may get split up.
  • If people turn up who did not RSVP, they may take seats intended for your RSVPed guests.

2).  Assigning tables or assigning seats?  Guests may be assigned to a table (where they may be choose any seat)  or assigned to a specific seat.  Assigning tables is more common in the United States, where assigning seats is more common in Europe. 

3).  Obtain a floor plan of your room from your reception site manager.  Make photocopies of the floor plan so you may work with the seating arrangements.  A few items are critical in the seating placement of your guests, such as placement of your:

  • band/DJ (not the best seating placement for your grandparents)
  • dance floor (next to your DJ/Band)
  • bar(s)
  • food tables (depending on the type of service you have chosen – sit-down/plated, action stations, or a buffet)
  • cake table
  • dessert bar or candy bar (not the best seating placement for children)
  • number/name your tables (make sure you place Table #1 next to Table #2; if you have “names” for your tables, make sure they are alphabetical beginning with the letter “A”)

4).  Know your tables sizes and how many guests fit at each table. 

  • 36” rounds seat 2-4 people
  • 48” rounds seat 4-6 people
  • 60” rounds seats 8-10 people
  • 66” rounds seat 10 people
  • 72” rounds seat 10–12 people
  • 4’ banquet seats 4–6 people
  • 6’ banquet seats 6–8 people
  • 8’ banquet seats 8–10 people
  • 36”  square seats 4 people
  • 48”  square seats 8 people
  • 60” square seats 10 people
  • 72” square seats 12 people

NOTE:  If you are having chargers/base plates, you may want to reduce the number of people at each table, since some charges are 13” in diameter.

5).  Seating the bride and groom. 

  • together at a sweetheart table for two
  • together with your matron/maid of honor and best man
  • together with your matron/maid of honor, best man, and their spouse/guest
  • together with your wedding party
  • together with your wedding party and their spouse/guest
  • together with both sets of parents

6).  Seating parents.  Traditionally you would have one table for the bride’s family and close friends, and another for the groom’s family.  You may want to combine the two tables, yet normally there is an entourage of extended family and friends.  When the bride and/or groom’s parents are divorced, and all are in attendance, it is usually not the best idea to seat them together.  Hopefully they are amicable, yet the extended family of each may make it difficult logistically to seat them all at one table.

7).  The bridal party table.   Be creative with your wedding party.  Think of how you feel when you attend weddings or events.  You may your wedding party to sit with their spouse, guest, or family.  The bridal party table may be a rectangular table set against one side or end of the room.  The bride and groom sit at the center of the long side of the table, facing out so guests may see you.  No one is seated opposite of the bride and groom.  The bride sits on the groom’s right, with the best man on her right; the maid/matron of honor sits on the groom’s left, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen alternate along the same side of the table.  If you have a large wedding party, or if you want the spouses/guests of the wedding party to be seated with them, you may want a U-shape table with the bride and groom in the center.     

8).  Other guest tables.  Your basic objective is to make each table as congenial as possible.  For couples, try to mix and match while considering their personalities and interests.  Try to “fill the table”.  If you have a table for 10, try to fill it with 10 guests.  It will cost you more money on each table, linen, centerpiece, etc., if you do not fill your tables.  Trust your instincts and common sense.  If you do not personally know the guest, discuss with your fiancé or the parent which invited that person to assist you in the most logical positioning and grouping.  NOTE:  Seating a guest at a table where the other guests are close friends may leave the person feeling uncomfortable. 

9).  Seating children.  Younger children are usually seated with their parents.  Older children, tweens, or teens enjoy not being seated with their parents. 

10).  Seating disabled guests.  If you have a guest in a wheelchair, you may want to put them close to the entrance doors so they easily may get in and out of the room.  You may want to remove the chair for them if they will be seated in their wheelchair.  If they would like to be seated in their chair, you may want to move the wheelchair to the side of the room for them.  If someone has difficulty walking and has a cane or walker, normally it is easier to place them closer to the entrance doors.  A person with impaired hearing or impaired vision may enjoy being placed near the bridal party or near the band/DJ. 

11).  Seating charts, escort cards, tables numbers, and place cards.  Guests will need to know which table they are seated at so they don’t have to walk around to every table to find their place.  Place cards are recommended for seated dinners and formal buffets with more than twenty guests.  Table numbers with stanchions or frames are placed on each table to display the number or name of the table.  Table cards assign a guest to a specific table.  Place cards assign a guest to a specific seat at a specific table.  The table number of each guest’s table is written on his or her place card.  These place cards are in alphabetical order by last name at the reception entrance.  For assigned seating at the table, you will need to assign a direction in the room such as “the band is at 12 o’clock”, and seating is clockwise in the room.  Make sure you number your floor plan with the appropriate table number or table name, and make sure the reception site has table numbers and table number holders/frames (hopefully their selection will match your décor). 

12).  Alphabetical list by last name of guest with their table number or table name.  Make sure your wedding planner and head captain have your approved floor plan as well as an alphabetical list by last name of the guest with their assigned table number.   It is also helpful if you have a table number or table name list with the guests listed under this.  You will want to double and triple check this to make sure everyone has a seat.

13).  Open the doors.  Make sure at each entrance you have your wedding planner, a head captain, or a server with a detailed floor plan directing guests to their tables.

Copyright 2011, Kim Horn, MBC™

To you hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.

Kim M. Horn, MBC™

Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 59 in the World

Lead Arizona Wedding Planner – specializing in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix, and Destination Weddings

Publisher | Pres. |

AZ State Coordinator | Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 – present

ABC 2010 Conference Chair worked with David Tutera

 O 480.921.7891

C 602.418.9089

F 480.829.6292


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