So you’ve made it down the aisle, partied the night away and managed to get away for a honeymoon… now married life can begin!
The conclusion of your wedding day doesn’t mean your wedding admin (aka “wedmin”!) can finish up just yet though. There’s still a few must-dos on the list before you can wrap things up. No stress though, let’s cover off what needs done (and we will give you some tips along the way).
This is a great task to delegate, especially if you pop off for your honeymoon straight after your wedding. Get anything hired back as soon as you can to save on late fees and receive back your bond, so you have cash on hand to…
Pay your vendors
Many of your wedding vendors will have been paid prior to the wedding day, but some don’t require paid until the day of, or just after. If you’re heading away straight after the wedding, set up a bill payment online so there’s no delays in receiving those final bits (like the edited video, or your photos).
Change your last name
For those of us with hard to spell and/or pronounce last names, changing our last name is a major perk of marriage. And you may want to practice your new signature by signing all those thank you notes.
First priority for many couples is reliving their day again through the magic of photography (and videography if you went for that). If you’ve signed a contract with your photographer, it will probably say when you shall expect to see your photos. Most photogs get their photos to clients between 4 weeks and 4 months after, as they tweak the colours and work their magic while juggling other weddings. Good things take time, but once they are here, you can move onto…
Thank you cards
This is an often-dreaded part of wedmin, but flip it this way – if you’ve got lots of thank you cards to write, you have lots of people who love and celebrate you!
Heres’s some advice to help make this task a little easier:
Whether you plan to sell your wedding dress, or stash it away for future generations, your first step here is to get it cleaned. There are professional services that do this, but I have to admit to a DIY clean of my bridal gown.
Naturally, most of the seating plans we design are for wedding receptions, since couples love to match their wedding stationery to their Be My Guest designed wedding invites, but our seating plans are also used for formal dinners at school reunions, sports reunions and corporate events.
Wedding Seating Plan Printing Options
You can select from a range of different table plan printing options to suit different budgets and display styles (i.e. whether you want to display your plan on an easel or something smaller that you can frame):
Canvas Seating Plans: Printed onto a lightly textured canvas which is then stretched over a 40mm frame. These give a seamless, sleek modern look and can be propped onto an easel or hung on a wall.
Board Seating Plans: Printed onto 220gsm synthetic poster paper then mounted onto 10mm thick foamboard. These are a lightweight option that can be propped on an easel or hung from a sign stand.
Poster Paper Seating Plans: Printed onto 220gsm synthetic poster paper. This option needs to be framed, then you can pop it on a table or easel. Tip: pick a frame that you’ll reuse for your wedding photos!
Single Card Seating Plans: Perfect for smaller weddings, as these only go up to A3 size. There’s a variety of card types available. Prop on a small easel or frame.
Multiple Cards (Individual tables on each card): These smaller card sets are popular to clip to string or bespoke seating displays. There’s a variety of card types available.
Electronic/Digital PDF File: If you’re in a rush and don’t want to risk the couriers, or perhaps you have access to a large format printer. Whatever the case, we are able to assist with an electronic version of your seating plan with a turnaround of 2-3 working days.
The right seating plan for you will depend on where you’re putting it, how long you’ve got, the look you’re going for and your budget.
Be My Guest Seating Plans include:
Custom designed to suit your specific table layout and guest list. You don’t have to worry about how many tables you have, or how you want them laid out – we will make the design fit your wedding guests!
An electronic draft mockup of your seating plan before it goes to print – so you can see how everything looks, check your guest’s names are correct and request any changes.
Fast turnaround: For card and poster prints, allow two weeks for design, printing and delivery. For canvas and mounted board seating plans, allow up to three weeks. We offer an urgent turnaround option for an additional charge.
All Be My Guest Design’s seating plans are NZ designed & made and professionally printed on a high quality commercial digital press.
One of the lessons I learnt when getting married was the importance of delegation. On your wedding day, you can’t very well roll up your sleeves and cook your reception dinner, or take selfies while reciting your vows.
Yes, plenty of the people you are delegating to are being paid for their help, but what about the volunteers? The Mother in Law who picks up the flowers from the florist and drops them off to the bridal party. The friend who stacks the chairs away after the ceremony to clear space for the dance floor. The friend who calmed your nerves, carried your bouquet and fended off the weird relatives you didn’t really want to invite.
The art of the thank you note is being lost, which is sad in some ways, but in others it’s a bonus. Why?
When you write a thank you note now, you’re typically doing it because you WANT to, not because society is forcing you to. So the act of sending, and receiving a thank you card is a whole lot more genuine than it once was.
The other positive, is that because we are receiving less of them, the thank you notes we do get are all the more impactful and appreciated. Lordy, any physical mail we get that’s not a bill is a surprise these days!
So, if I’ve convinced you not to forgo a thank you, what are your options? Well good news, there’s a few.
Saying thank you with a gift
For your bridesmaids, your parents and any friends who spent a substantial amount of time contributing to your big day, you may wish to give them a small gift accompanied by your thank you note. I love the personalised wine labels for this – it’s a fun way of adding personality, showing you’ve put some thought in, and a memento that your giftee can keep if they choose to.
Our labels come in a variety of sizes, so if cider, beer or spirits are more their thing, you can get something that suits! We can also customise the text, so if you want to add your thank you message right on your wine labels – no problem at all!
Sharing your wedding photos
It’s not often you hire a professional photographer, so how about sharing your wedding photos somewhere other than Facebook?! There are lots of options, whether you want to share a heap of photos or just one. I personally love when couples share their group shots!
Getting your wedding photos printed on a card is all well and good, but if you want to share your gratitude prior to getting these photos (like, on your wedding day!) then we have some lovely cards for this sort of situation too.
Thank yous come in all shapes and sizes, so just pick the one that sits nicely with you! All our stationery is designed and printed in New Zealand, and is accompanied by NZ made envelopes (yep, even the ‘basic’ envelope option). Check out more options for thank you cards from Be My Guest Design below:
After all the time and effort you spend in selecting the perfect guestbook, the next hurdle is ensuring your wedding guests actually sign it!
Today we are going to cover off 5 sure-fire ways to have your wedding guests lining up to jot down their well wishes and messages of luck.
Give your guestbook pride of place
Make sure your wedding guestbook doesn’t get tucked in the back corner. Have it set up on a table right at the entrance. Ask a trusted guest to move the guestbook to a more central point later in the wedding reception, when the center of the party moves closer to the bar and dance floor, and away from the front door.
Set up a sign
Frame or prop up a matching sign to request your wedding guests sign the guestbook. Seems simple, but it works! If you have a instax camera or something similar you’d like guests to use, mention this on your sign too.
Make it as easy as possible
Ensure there’s a stash of pretty pens, and include tape, embellishments or gluesticks for adding instax/polaroid photos onto the guestbook pages.
Offer an incentive
You can’t go wrong with a bowl of lollies sitting on the guestbook table – slow your wedding guest’s partying down long enough to notice there’s another activity to partake in!
Ask your most outgoing bridesmaids to take your guestbook and pens around the tables during the wedding reception. Your MC can also direct guests to sign the book. A little light peer pressure might be the ticket to getting your reticent friends and family to share their messages of congratulations.
We’ve had a few enquiries about the best pens for signing your wedding guestbooks. So we took the credit card and spent up large at our favourite stationery stores, purchasing a ton of pretty pens so you don’t have to!
There’s a few things to keep in mind when picking the perfect pen for signing your guest book:
It’s got to write smoothly straight off the bat (the guestbook is going to be kept for a while, after all!)
We don’t want the ink bleeding through to the other side of the page (or even the page below!)
Smudge-factor – the less it smudges, the better it’ll look. Especially if you have some left-handed guests
You want the tip of the pen to stay crisp and clean. The thicker the tip, the bigger the handwriting
It would be nice if the ink matches the colour scheme of the wedding, and the pen looks as good as the guestbook too 😉
We’ve conducted these tests on our guestbooks, so note that your results may vary if you’ve picked a different page option or another brand. We especially picked the card stock and weight after lots of tests and feedback, as a thinner weight or glossier finish can cause issues on the day and leave you with a guestbook that’s less than perfect (even if it ends up cheaper to produce… what’s the point if it doesn’t perform its function?!)
Our last requirement was that the pens needed to be readily available in New Zealand. As a proudly New Zealand owned business, we wanted you to be able to call into your local stationery shop to grab the pens we recommend. The majority of the pens in the videos are from Paper Plus.
Without further ado, here’s our pen tests compiled in one place for you.
Pens texted on our standard white 210gsm guestbook pages:
Staedtler Metallic Pens
Various Branded Black Pens:
Uniball and Sharpie Metallic Pens:
Pens on our standard black 210gsm guestbook pages
Uniball and Sharpie Metallic Pens:
Staedtler Metallic Pens:
To order one of our beautiful wedding guestbooks, visitor log books and special occasion guest books, please browse our range and order online – and thank you for your support!
One of the most popular perks of working with Be My Guest Design is adding your guest’s names to your invitations – and at no extra cost!
We’ve put together some guidelines as often the first question we get is “well, how do you want the names then?”. And that’s a great question to hear. Submitting your guest’s names in the correct format means your design can be created faster, and has less chance of typos/errors happening.
All information submitted for design is to be typed up. This is because there’s a high chance of error when trying to type up a document and/or trying to decipher someone else’s handwriting. This typed up file/list does not need any fancy formatting. In fact, I’d prefer it didn’t! Where possible, we copy and paste the exact text we are supplied, straight into the design file.
Plain Text List Required
What’s plain text? I’m not talking about a special computer code or special program. Just simply, a list of your names that we can copy and paste with no fancy formatting. Here’s some examples for different situations
Submitting your guest list for your wedding invitations
Please submit your guest names written exactly how you want them to appear on the wedding invitation. i.e. if you want your guest’s first names listed on the invitation, then only submit their first names (in this case, supply Amanda rather than Amanda Cookson)
Group your guests names together – one line is one invitation (Craig and Amanda rather than a separate line for Craig and another line for Amanda)
Decide if you want to use “and” or “&” and use this consistently throughout your guest list
No special formatting – i.e. no numbering, tabs, multiple spaces, bullet points, columns. They just create more work. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be pretty (that’s what you’ve got us for)
You can submit your list in the body of your email, or in a single column within a spreadsheet. If you’re using the Southern Bride Guest List Planner Template we love that too.
Amanda and Craig
Mum and Dad
Scott and Partner
Wally and Glenys
Amanda and Craig
Mum & Dad
Wally Riach and Glenys Riach
Submitting your guest list for your placecards
Please submit your guest names written exactly how you want them to appear on the placecards. i.e. if you want your guest’s first names listed on the placecard, then only submit their first names. (in this case, supply Amanda rather than Amanda Cookson)
Each guest goes on an individual line (as each guest needs a placecard)
If you order more placecards than you have guests, we will supply the extra ones without a name, so you’ve got spares. You don’t need to label them “Spare” as we will automatically add the extras on.
I do not require any special formatting – i.e. no numbering, tabs, multiple spaces, bullet points, columns
You can submit your list in the body of your email, or in a single column within a spreadsheet
Submitting your seating plan diagram for your seating plan
Many couples find it easiest to create these in spreadsheets, and that’s perfect for us. Seating diagrams created in Word can be a bit harder to copy/paste from, as people tend to add columns, tabs or spaces that don’t copy and paste well. Simple is perfectly fine by me. You can also share a plain text list. i.e.:
First line is the table name and subsequent lines are the guests at that table:
Well guys, what a crazy few weeks we’ve had, huh? I know I’ve been all over the place bouncing between wallowing in self-pity and heightened motivation to be The Best Version Of Amanda 3.0 (I’m going to finally clean the house! Do I really have to shower again this week? I’m going to do yoga daily! Oh my god how are we going to pay the bills? Let’s write an extensive checklist of tasks to complete!)
So I can’t imagine having planned a wedding, just in time for the whole world to (metaphorically) catch on fire and implode on oneself. Can’t say I’ve ever had “Check for imminent global pandemic” on any of our wedding planning resources.
What does one do in this situation? There’s not really a guidebook for that (although She Said Yes would be a good port of call) but if you’re on Level 4 lockdown and your wedding is only weeks away, then you’ll be looking at postponing.
Or perhaps your wedding is further out, but with the COVID-19 travel restrictions likely to last months, you want to change your wedding date, so your important international guests will be able to travel to celebrate with you.
Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to wait at all, and rather than risk a large gathering and endangering your favourite Grandma, you’re massively downsizing your guest list, or eloping with very few (if any) guests.
The complicating factor in all these situations can be letting your guests know there has been a change in your wedding plans – particularly if you’d already sent out Save the Dates or wedding invitations (or poured some of that hard-earned budget into beautiful wedding stationery that is now printed with the incorrect date).
If you want colours changed, or a physical copy printed, or want us to design something else for you – we can totally do that too. We are busy setting up some designs that match our existing wedding stationery (so your Change of Plans card can still match your existing stationery, because #matchymatchy doesn’t take pandemics off). You can check out the latest additions to our range here. If there’s a design that’s missing that you’re hanging out for, let us know and we’ll bump it up the list for you.
For couples who got their Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations through Be My Guest, we are also offering free electronic ‘Change of Plans’ cards to match your stationery – just email them out to guests or take advantage of discounted reprints. Just email and we will make it happen.
In the meantime – stay safe, stay sane and don’t stress – we are all in this together.
As you are probably aware, the NZ Govt has ordered a lockdown of all non-essential businesses.
We are unable to print or dispatch items until the lockdown lifts. The Be My Guest team are working remotely from their homes, and are checking emails regularly. So any orders placed that require design work will still progress, up until the printing stage.
This is an unprecedented time filled with uncertainty for everyone. Please continue to support small businesses, be patient with each other, and look after yourself.
Getting organised for your wedding reception? One of the trickiest tasks is trying to figure out where everyone will sit for the speeches and meal.
Family politics, friend drama and ex girlfriends all have to be kept in mind – sure, it’s your day, but if you can do something to minimise the chance of drama taking away from the shine of your big day, you would, right?
With this in mind, allocated seating for your wedding guests is a smart move. In this article I’m sharing my tips and tricks to creating the perfect wedding reception seating plan with Be My Guest Design.
How many seats and tables do you need for your wedding guests at your reception venue?
To create a seating plan for your wedding, you’ll first need to figure out how many people can sit per table, and how many tables you’re having. This might be an easy exercise if you are getting married at a venue experienced at hosting weddings. They’ll know how many people can fit at the tables they have, and how many tables can fit in their space (or how many tables you’ll need for the number of guests you’re expecting).
If you are getting married in a marquee or setting up your own furniture in a hall, it can be a bit more complicated. This is the point where a wedding coordinator, planner or stylist becomes invaluable, and is typically a core part of their offerings (see for example, Encore Events)
If you’re determined to DIY, it’s doable – just a little bit more planning, number crunching and fiddling round. Depending on the space, furniture and budget available, you might like to mix up your seating arrangements too (check out some ideas here). Different table shapes have their pros and cons – long rectangular tables can fit a greater seated capacity into a space and it’s easier for guests to talk. Round tables are a more traditional option and afford your guests more leg room.
How to map out your wedding reception’s space
Mapping out your wedding reception’s space will help you ensure all your guests have enough room to eat their meals and are comfortable. On the other hand, too much space can make things a bit awkward as well. A bit of preparation now will make setting up the day before a whole heap easier!
How can you do this? I recommend creating a floor plan to map out your reception. Go old school and sketch out a floor plan to scale with measuring tape, paper and pen – or there are some software programs dedicated to the task. Look into Social Tables, Perfect Table Plan or All Seated.
Once you’ve figured out how many people can sit at each table, hopefully you’ve got enough spots for all the wedding guests you’ve invited!
Grouping your wedding guests
With any luck your guests have sent their RSVPs in promptly and you can get this done nice and early… realistically you’ll be chasing procrastinating guests.
Luckily, this step can be done without your guest list finalised. Go through a list of your guests (either handwritten or in a doc on the computer) and group each guest/couple into the following categories:
bridal table (i.e. who is sitting at the top table/you and your partner etc)
your immediate family
your partner’s immediate family
your partner’s family
any other categories that might make sense for you (church friends, sports associates etc)
You can either physically group them into separate lists, or just colour code each category. I also recommend you group couples together at this point, as they’ll be sitting together. This doesn’t apply for members of the bridal party that will be sitting at the top table, as they are (usually) seated separately.
Depending on how far away you are from getting the finalised guest list lined up, you may be able to start grouping guests into tables, so let’s move onto that now.
Arranging wedding guests into tables for the wedding reception
At this point I find using Excel or Google Sheets handy, as you can easily shift guests around between tables. If you are still using pen and paper to compile your list, now the time to transfer it to the computer.
Start a spreadsheet and at the top of each column type out your table names. This is not your final seating plan that the guests will read from, so don’t waste time trying to format it all fancy or worrying about order yet. If you want to do this part with pen and paper, there is an alternative approach here.
Copy and paste your guest list into the worksheet from your guest list, so that you have the list of names handy and you are not switching back and forth between windows. If you have grouped them or colour coded them in the previous step, then copy that formatting over as well.
Underneath each table name, leave the number of cells empty that the table can fit, and in the next cell below, write down how many people can fit at that table. You’ll have something that looks like this:
You are going to cut and paste your guests from the guest list to under each table (note, the keyboard shortcut for this is ctrl X + ctrl V). ‘Cutting’ instead of copying means that your list of guests will get smaller as you allocate their seats at a table. Start with the easy one – that’s the top table, aka the head table or bridal table.
Next, do tables holding your immediate family and your partner’s immediate family – depending on the dynamics, guests might need to be split over a couple of tables. If you still have room to seat people at the family tables, you could seat the bridesmaid/groomsmens partners, close friends of the family that don’t know anyone else, or favourite extended family members.
Next move onto compiling tables of wider family, then friends, and so forth. In addition to seating guests by how you know them, you can also consider their age, interests, and backgrounds. Try to make every guest feel comfortable with a mix of familiar and new faces at each table.
If you want to avoid drama and seat certain people away from others then put them at separate tables first and work round them. In the scheme of things, if you get it a bit wrong, it won’t matter – they’ll only be sitting there for the evening!
There will be lots of shifting round and back and forth – it is a giant Tetris puzzle and a process of elimination.
Conveying your seating arrangements to wedding guests at the reception
Once you have figured out who will be sitting where, your next step is deciding how you will communicate to your guests who is sitting where.
You can use a seating plan, or placecards, or both.
Using just a seating plan means your guests find their own seat at their allocated table. Using just placecards means your guests will have to look around each table till they find their name. Using both means your guests can see where they are sitting and then when they find their table, the placecard will direct them to their allocated seat.
It is your personal preference and/or budget that will determine what option you choose – my recommendation is having a seating plan at minimum, as this acts as a focal point for arriving guests and manages the flow of guests through the room. Imagine trying to find one seat in a large room of tables.
Designing your wedding seating plan and placecards
When you are placing an order for a wedding seating plan from Be My Guest Design, you need to decide what sort of sign type and size. Here’s some guidelines:
Seating Chart Type
There are a number of options available for printing your seating chart, but the most popular is to receive your wedding seating plan printed onto canvas and mounted/stretched on a frame. This makes them suitable to place on an easel or hang on the wall.
You can also elect to have your seating plan printed onto high quality matt paper and delivered rolled into a cardboard tube. These seating plans are suitable to frame or pin to a wall.
One of the most common questions we receive is “what size seating plan should I use for my wedding?”. The answer is typically: “whatever is going to work in the space that you have”. Think back to the primary purpose of your seating plan. It is to direct wedding guests to their seats. So the seating chart needs to be easily readable, and ideally, large enough for several people to read at once while crowding around the plan as they enter your wedding reception.
When we are designing your seating plan, we adjust and tweak the tables to hold as many or as little guests as possible (and even accommodate guests with reaaaaaaallllly long names, like if you decide to include both first and last names).
Still want some guidance on size? A1 and A2 sizes are by far the most popular. A2 is perfect when your seating plan is going onto a tabletop easel, and A1 works perfectly if you’re using a floor standing easel. A0 is fine in big spaces… A3 can work in other spaces, but you wouldn’t want to be having a big guest list. (Here’s the dimensions of ‘A’ sizes if you’re curious.)
I’ve also recorded a simple video showing the different sizes and material options, so check that out too. You can find it here:
Laying out your wedding seating plan
The spreadsheet you’ve created in the steps above is perfectly adequate to send through to us. In fact, I prefer it – we can copy and paste the guest names through to our design files. This ensures we avoid any typos (we are human beings after all).
You can choose to have your seating plan laid out by table (most common) or alphabetically. Alphabetically is good for really large weddings (200+) with lots of tables. You either sort by first name, or by last name. Sorting by last name means that guests can
Once we’ve designed your seating plan, we send you an electronic copy for you to check you’re happy, or to advise any changes. When you give us the ok, we’ll send it off to print with our NZ based suppliers and courier it to you directly.
How long will my seating plan take to be printed?
It’s important to allow as much time as possible. For card and photo paper prints, allow two weeks for design, printing and delivery. For canvas seating plans, allow up to three weeks (the canvas assembly process takes a little longer).
Allowing plenty of time ensures you receive your seating plan and other stationery pieces well before your set-up day (and you can relax and know you’ve got everything you need for your wedding day).
Faster turnaround times are possible, and we’re aware that these are important, so all seating plans are given priority. However if it’s a tight turnaround, urgency fees apply. We pay extra to bump your seating plan up the print queue ahead of other clients, pay staff extra time to get your design done sooner, and upgrade shipping, all to ensure you get your stationery in a stress-free timeframe!
Please note, the above timeframes also exclude weekends and public holidays, so it pays to be organised, especially around Christmas/New Year and Easter times.
How to get wedding place names designed
If you are using placecards, you simply send us a list of your guest names. We will send you through a draft set of placecards for you to double check.
Because you can occasionally have last minute additions, we suggest getting a couple of spare cards with no guest names included, so you can handwrite any late guest’s names on.
Tips for setting up your stationery for the wedding reception
When you get your order, open it up straight away and check everything is correct – if there are any issues it pays to know about them in plenty of time! If you have ordered a canvas seating plan, it is supplied ready to go and you can pop it on an easel or up against a wall. You can even attach it directly to a wall – I recommend using these strips – they’re quick, easy and come of cleanly. The canvas prints are shipped wrapped in bubble wrap. After you’ve opened up your print and done a double check, re-wrap it into the bubble wrap so it is kept in mint condition before the wedding day.
If you have ordered a photo/vinyl print, it will arrive rolled in a cardboard tube. You will need to frame it or pin it to a wall. You can buy frames affordably from the Warehouse or Kmart that perfectly fit the A1 – A3 size plans that we offer. After your wedding, you can reuse the frame for some of those beautiful wedding photos you’re going to have!
Doing a pegboard or similar? Your individual guest plans are pretty much ready to go straight out of the packaging. Please do a test run to make sure you have everything you need, that the size fits well and your pegs or clips will hold them.
Finally, I suggest you sort your guest’s place name cards into the tables they’ll be sitting at. Put them in ziplock bags or similar with the table number. Then, during setup, you won’t have to shuffle through the whole stack of place cards. This gives you a chance to check if any are missing in lots of time too.