| SIP AND TWIRL| ARIZONA WEDDING PLANNER:Stress-free Tips for Seating Your Arizona Wedding Reception Guests / by Kristen Bradley

If you’re in the final stages of planning your Arizona wedding, you’re probably starting to think about seating assignments, and we’re here to help!  Like any Arizona wedding planner knows, assigning seats can be complex.  In Arizona we have a huge variety of outdoor desert wedding venue options and making a seating chart can be an arduous task.   Seating every wedding guest in the perfect spot can truthfully be a little bit stressful depending on the dynamics within families or friend groups.  Additionally, if you are serving a plated meal, (vs. buffet or family style), you will want to be precise with just where everyone will placed.  Read on for our top tips on how to seat your wedding guests that will be helpful for any Arizona wedding venue.

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner

Start Early

Set a deadline for your final RSVPs to arrive with enough time to work through your wedding seating chart with at least a couple of weeks to spare before your big day.  We have heard of crazy stories of couples who leave their seating assignments till the end, but this added stress can be avoided with a little advanced planning.  You will definitely make some last minute changes, but get started on your first draft with time to spare and with plenty of time to get your escort cards and place cards printed or written.  If you're having an outdoor Arizona wedding, you may also want to consider having a rain-option seating chart as a back-up.  While it rarely rains in our neck of the woods, you'll be grateful you'll have it if you need to move your seating indoors.  

Map it Out

As wedding planners, we are visual people, and we like using our internal software to actually see just where everyone will be.  If you’re not working with a wedding planner, and you are local to Arizona, we, at Sip and Twirl would love to begin the conversation with you about this detail of your wedding, as it can significantly impact the flow of your event and the photos.  If you're unable to use a planner, you can use a spreadsheet to list each of your guests, and generally breakdown which group of people they belong to, including family, friends, colleagues, and others sub-groups.  Next, find a simple program on your computer that will allow for you to make a visual first draft, including the tables arrangements, and other pieces of furniture from a bird’s eye view, just like a floor-plan.  From here, you’ll be able to map it out logically, and can easily make edits when needed. There are lots of digital options online as well, just search “wedding seating chat tool”.  

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner

Seat Yourselves and Your Wedding Party First

There are lots of options for you and your new spouse’s seat at your reception, especially if you are not limited by space, like many Arizona outdoor wedding venues.  Traditionally, a head table is long and rectangular, (not round), and your wedding party will sit along one side facing out towards the other guests with you two in the middle.  These days, while this is still a great option, it’s more flexible, and you get to create the dining experience you really want!  Consider if you’d like to be seated alone at a sweetheart table, or if you’d like to be surrounded instead by your wedding party.  Another point to consider is if you’d like your bridesmaids all on one side, and groomsmen on the other, or if you will invite dates to the head table with everyone sitting intermixed.  Once you have this point of your seating chart settled, you can set the rest of the framework for the remaining guests.  

Seat Your Parents

Depending on your family dynamics, or the size of your wedding, you can choose to have your parents sit with your new spouse’s parents, along with your siblings, and your officiant.  On the other hand, if your parents, or your spouse’s parents are divorced, or if your parents prefer to sit with their close friends, you can also opt to give each parent or set of parents their own table.  Remember that parent-seating is flexible, and you can set it up depending on whatever works best for everyone.  If you’re not sure, talk to the parents in question before making your final decision.  

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner

Dissolve Tension Before it Starts

Unfortunately, as many of us know, there may be situations where certain family members or friends do not get along.  It’s possible they haven’t spoken in years or it’s possible that the last time your family members were at a wedding, there was a fight.  Whatever the scenario, consider the various relationships, (or lack there of), when placing guests.  If you do find yourself in this predicament, here's a point to consider.  Sometimes it is helpful to have an objective third party, like a wedding planner just like our team at Sip and Twirl, who will help navigate a wedding seating chart, so that you don't get stuck in the crossfires of any uncomfortable conversations.  

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner

Sydney and Doug's wedding photos were taken by Daniel Kim and their floral was designed by Fiori Floral.  

Sip and Twirl is a passionate and creative group of Arizona wedding planners.  Our office and wedding planning showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Whether you have just started envisioning your dream wedding day, or are in the thick of wedding planning, we'd love to hear from you!  We plan for both small and large scale Arizona weddings, and genuinely love what we do.  Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at info@sipandtwirl.com.