Assembling Your A-Team for your Arizona Wedding - Here's What you Need to Know... by Kristen Bradley

As Arizona wedding planners it’s common for our couples to ask us just how to pick a few important people from a large group of loved ones and VIPs that will ultimately make up the wedding party.  While we know it may seem overwhelming to narrow it down, selecting your wedding party is all about following a few important guidelines, and above all, your gut instincts.  Read on to learn how to draft the perfect team for your Arizona wedding!

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography 

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography 

Think twice before asking

In all of the initial engagement excitement, it will be tempting to ask all of your favorite friends to be in your wedding party.  Don’t.  Trust us wedding planning experts, and take time to think through who is the best fit for your party.  The first question to consider, who can you see in your life in five years time?  Who will grow with you as a couple through the next life stages such as eventually starting a family.  Another important point to note is where your bridesmaids live.  Do they live in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area, and will it be easy for them to physically help with some of the wedding planning to-dos?  Make a short-list, and give yourself a month’s time to weigh the options in your mind.  If you are on the fence about someone, think about how this person may mesh with the rest of the group. If you truly can’t decide between two people, why not just ask them both? (Hint: you don’t need to have the same number of people on either side of your wedding party.)

Include your brothers and sisters

Including siblings in your wedding party may not be so clear cut for every couple, and for others siblings are the obvious first choice.  Consider this, even if your sibling isn’t your first choice - your sibling will most likely remain a presence in your life for 10, 20, 30+ years to come.  If you are not super close, it’s possible you will become closer over the years by including them in one of the most meaningful experiences of your life.  If you come from a very large family and cannot include everyone, you can ask some of your younger siblings to participate in your day by welcoming or seating guests.  In our experience, some Arizona wedding venues can be a bit confusing to navigate with how expansive they are.  Having someone you trust posted at a resort's valet can help your guests feel welcomed and your family member included.     

Consider the size of your Arizona wedding and your wedding budget

First take a quick look at your guest list; is your wedding smaller with less than 50 guests, or are you planning a larger celebration with 150+ people?  The size of your Arizona wedding naturally will guide how many people will be included in your wedding party.  For smaller weddings, you may only want three or four people on each side, and for larger, it’s not uncommon for brides and grooms to have ten or twelve people.  Keep in mind, more isn’t always merrier.  Each person adds to your overall budget when you consider gifts for your party, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, suits, dresses, etc… Further, you will add another layer of complexity with each person.  For example, consider organizing details for bachelor and bachelorette celebrations, or finding dresses that flatter many different skin tones and body shapes.  If you feel that your list is too long, but you still want to include you “B-Listers”, find a special role or assignment that they will happily embrace.  

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography

Don’t ask someone just because they asked you

Be honest.  If you have been a bridesmaid or a groomsman in the past, and are no longer close friends with that person, the thought has crossed your mind about how you can get out of returning the favor.  Let us alleviate some needless wedding social stress.  Don’t feel pressured to ask your a former colleague, roommate, or college friend if you haven’t spoken in five years just to return the favor, or that you just aren't close with anymore.  If someone approaches you about why they were not included, just be open and keep true to your personal reasons for making the choices you did.  Explain that the decision was very difficult, but that you chose those who you felt closest to, or who could help with organizing plans, or who needed to be included due to family commitments.  You can also share that there were others who you genuinely wanted to include but couldn’t for various reasons.  Don’t get defensive if you find yourself in this situation; just keep a calm open nature, and hopefully your friend will understand that you still value their friendship.  If your wedding ceremony setting is more intimate, you can also explain that your Arizona wedding venue only really accommodates a certain size bridal party.  

Wedding party “rules” can be broken

Here are some traditions that you can completely rewrite for your own wedding.  You don’t need to have the same number of people on either side of your wedding party.  It’s ok if you have a few more or a few less than your partner.  Also, it’s absolutely more than ok to have bridesmen or groomswomen!  If you are a bride and have a brother or a male friend that you are close with, we encourage you to follow what feels right regardless of gender.  One of the joys as Arizona wedding planners is that we have the privilege of helping couples rewrite the social "norms" of wedding planning.  Remember, this is your special day, and only you know what is the right decision regardless of other people’s expectations.

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography

Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography

The final detail you will want to take into consideration is to determine which roles exactly you’d like your wedding party to play, and whether or not they will be able to meet your expectations.  For example, are you hiring an Arizona wedding planner?  If so, you will need less help from your crew than if you are hiring someone who is a wedding planning professional, just like us!  Consider details like addressing the invites, assembling center pieces, and helping you find the right Arizona wedding venue.  These details can seriously stack up for the average bride, groom, or wedding party guest.  

We at Sip and Twirl are always here to help both Arizona brides and brides out-of state.  We get more than a bit excited about helping couples with these and all other details in the Arizona wedding planning process.  We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and have many years of experience in wedding planning.  We’d love to hear about your dream wedding day, and learn how we can help make this vision a reality.  Contact us at (480) 648-0663 or info@sipandtwirl.com.  

Ceremony Order Demystified!  Here’s the Scoop on Rocking your Arizona Wedding Ceremony. by Kristen Bradley

There are many different ways to organize an Arizona wedding processional, and it can be influenced by culture, religious background, or simply personal preference.  If you are currently in the planning stages, at Sip and Twirl, we’re here to help!  Check out some simple guidelines below to help you pull off a superb Arizona wedding ceremony.

Seating

Wedding Planner Arizona Grandparents

1.  Start by seating the grandparents.  Paternal grandparents are seated first, followed by maternal grandparents.  If you no longer have grandparents remaining, you can start with the next step.  If you'd like your grandparents honored at your ceremony, you can brainstorm with your Arizona wedding planner to find ways to pay tribute to their memory.  

2.  Next up, seat the parents.  The groom’s parents seated first, and the bride’s parents second.  The seating of the mother of the bride signals the end of the seating and the beginning of the processional.  You may also decide to walk with both of your parents down the aisle, and you can ask your wedding planner how to make the appropriate alterations to your ceremony processional.   

Processional

3.  The processional traditionally starts with the officiant and the groom making their way to the altar.  The groom can accompany the officiant, or walk alone, or even walk with the best man.  He can also choose to accompany his mother to her seat, and then head up to take his place at the altar.  A side note on officiants.  Great Arizona officiants get booked quickly, and well in advance, so it's a good idea to tackle this one in the beginning wedding planning stages.  Ask you Arizona wedding planner for their list of preferred officiants.    

Wedding Planner Arizona Groom
Wedding Planner Arizona Flowergirl

4.  Next up, the bridesmaids make their way down the aisle, and you can choose to have them walk solo, or paired with a groomsman.  Following the wedding party, your maid, (or matron), of honor will make her way towards the altar, and similarly, she can walk with the best man, or they can walk down solo.  Once she arrives at the altar, she will stand immediately next to where you will stand so that she can hold your bouquet during the ceremony and make adjustments to your train and dress.  

5.  Your adorable ring bearers and flower girls are up next.  Traditionally the flower girl is the last person to walk down the aisle before the bride, as the bride is the only person meant to walk on the flower petals, if this is something you are planning on doing.  

6.  Finally, it is time for you to make you debut!  The bride walks down the aisle last, and is traditionally escorted by her father.  The bride’s mother may choose to accompany her as well.  Your guests will rise as you make your way to your partner, and will be seated once you are settled in your place at the altar.  

Wedding Planner Arizona Bride and Parents

A few final notes and considerations:

If you are getting married in a church or a synagogue, there may be a preferred order of the processional that can vary from the above.  Check with your Arizona wedding venue if you choose to respect these traditions.  

Next, we are mindful of the fact that some couples will help us as a society redefine how we view the processional with same sex marriages and gender identification flexibility.  We are at an exciting time in our industry's history where we have the opportunity to create new traditions and perceptions about how the processional is carried out.

Finally, nothing is set in stone!  It’s your day, and you can get as creative as you like.  Want to dance down the aisle instead?  Go for it!  Ultimately, it is up to you and your partner to decide. 

If you are recently engaged or in the thick of planning your Arizona wedding, let's chat!  Sip and Twirl is an Arizona wedding planning team, and we simply love what we do!  Our wedding planning showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Check out our Facebook page to hear what real Arizona brides and grooms have said about our services.  We plan for both small and large scale Arizona events.  Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at info@sipandtwirl.com.  

Getting Married in Arizona this fall? Here's a Modern Twist on a few Wedding Traditions by Kristen Bradley

As team of Arizona wedding planners, we have seen hundreds of variations to some of the most classic wedding traditions.  In fact, we love finding ways to help our Sip and Twirl couples express their personalities and create new traditions on their wedding days.  Here are a few simple ways to modernize your wedding day that even the most traditional couples will embrace. 

Swap your white veil for flowers, greenery, or bling in your hair

Veils can be an absolutely beautiful adornment to any bride’s final look, but if a traditional veil isn’t for you, consider a more updated look by weaving desert-inspired eucalyptus leaves, wildflowers, greenery, ribbons, or other organic materials in your hair.  Alternatively, if you are going for a more glamorous look, pin some bling, such as stones or delicate headband chain.  If you are in Arizona like us, we are in love with using desert-inspired tones, such as sage, nudes, and yellows.  Here are some of our favorite looks from our gorgeous Sip and Twirl brides!

Arizona wedding planning and design by Sip and Twirl 
Wedding Planner Arizona Bridal Hair
Wedding Planner Arizona Bridal Hairdo

Bridesmaids don't need to be female, nor do groomsmen need to be male

You don't need to confine your wedding party to your female friends (and vice versa for grooms).  If you have a life-long friend that happens to be the opposite sex, you can still include them by making them a bridesman or a groomswoman.  Have fun by coordinating their outfits with the rest of the wedding party through your color theme, or floral accessories.  

Hold cocktail hour before the ceremony

Wedding Planner Arizona Cocktails

We’re willing to bet that the majority of the weddings that you have attended have started with the ceremony, continued with cocktail hour, and are followed by the reception.  Holding cocktail hour before the ceremony has a few benefits.  First, your guests won’t be rushing to get to the ceremony in time.  Instead, they can have a refreshing beverage before the ceremony and visit with some of the other guests they may not have seen in a while. Further, starting with cocktail hour can break the ice and raise the energy leading into the ceremony.  In Arizona, you can count on about 300 days of beautiful sunshine, so this is the perfect opportunity to offer a sparkling drink to get the celebrations started. 

Upgrade your theme by going with a palette of colors

Choosing just two colors for your decor will feel dated.  Instead, update the look and feel of your wedding by opting for a collection of hues that compliment each other.  Some of our favorite color pairings include grouping bold tones with complimentary nudes or mixing different soft shades of blues and purples with bright floral yellow and pinks.  Another option is to build a monochromatic palette.  Choose one color to which you feel most drawn, and perfect your look by incorporating light and dark variations of that same color.  You can also look to your environment to play off of the tones in your venue.  Outdoor Arizona weddings often carry tones of copper, reds, golds and sage, and many Arizona brides that we have worked with have chosen to work with this pallet alongside of their preferences, rather than masking it.  Finally, adding metallics, colored glass, and reclaimed wood creates an interesting balance of tones and textures, such as this Sip and Twirl couple's wedding, pictured below. 

Wedding Planner color theme

Give your bridesmaids the freedom to choose complimentary dresses

Asking your bridesmaids to wear identical (or nearly identical) gowns is a waning tradition.  Instead, try giving your bridesmaids guidelines to use when shopping for a dress.  You can narrow down a few major areas such as the dresses length, color palette, how formal or informal, a print or a solid, how the dress hangs (form-fitted or flowy), and the texture of the material.  Bonus, your friends will likely end up shopping for a dress they actually love and will wear on multiple occasions with greater flexibility.  

Wedding Planner Arizona Bridesmaids
Wedding Planner Arizona Bridesmaids

If you are recently engaged or in the thick of planning your Arizona wedding, let's chat!  Sip and Twirl is a passionate and creative group of Arizona wedding planners.  Our wedding planning showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Check out our Facebook page to hear what real Arizona brides and grooms have said about our services.  We plan for both small and large scale Arizona events, and genuinely love what we do.  Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at info@sipandtwirl.com. 

Recently Engaged? Here's your getting started Arizona wedding planning checklist. by Kristen Bradley

Ok, so you’re recently engaged; congratulations!  Now what?!  

A quick Google search, “first steps to planning an Arizona wedding”, will tell you to work out your budget, pick your wedding party, and start the guest list.  While all of these things are essential to the wedding planning process, we are here to coach you on modifying this approach, and how an Arizona-based wedding planner can really help!  We at Sip and Twirl are passionate about helping brides from Arizona and all over the world.  We love every part of the wedding planning process and are experts in everything from choosing the perfect Arizona wedding venue, to helping brides navigate their extensive Phoenix wedding vendor options, to helping a couple develop and execute the design of their dream wedding day.  Read on to learn more about the dos and don’ts of getting started.

DO start with reflecting on what is important to you and your fiancé, including what your overall vision is.  Do you imagine getting married in Arizona in an outdoor wedding venue, where you can incorporate the beautiful desert-scape and sunset into your ceremony?  Or, do you imagine tying the knot in one of the many stunning Scottsdale or Paradise Valley resorts, such as Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, or Royal Palms Resort and Spa?  Additionally, you will want to focus first on the deeper meaning of your wedding.  We recommend picking up a journal or a planner that you can dedicate to your wedding, and it use to record your thoughts and inspos.  Anthropologie has some beautifully crafted notebooks, and we also love the Create 365 The Happy Planner because it’s completely customizable.  This will help you stay true to your core values during the planning process.  Work with your Arizona wedding planner to answer questions like: 'will your wedding reception be indoor or outdoor'; 'what is the overall design aesthetic you are hoping to accomplish'; 'how large or small is your guest list', and 'how does this impact your budget'?  A great wedding planner will ask questions that you didn't yet think to ask yourself!

Planner

DO create a digital vision board to share with your wedding planner.  If you aren’t hiring an Arizona wedding planner, you can still use your vision board to guide yourself and others who are helping you in the wedding planning process.  You can browse Pinterest and pin images and color themes that you feel a connection to.  You can even search for specific Arizona wedding venues to see what other brides have done, or see if your dream venue has a Pinterest account.  Focus on what’s really most important to you.  Is it more important to you to have the most spectacular photographs of all time, and small aesthetic details such as floral placement rank high? Or, is it more important to you that your friends and family have a blast and you focus on guest experience?  Go through these questions with your wedding planner to prioritize your budget and planning focus.

DO identify your natural points of stress in advance.  Are you breezy about going over budget or do you find yourself becoming emotional about over spending?  Do you contract at the thought of giving up control over some of the small details or do you welcome the extra help?  Are you a decisive person, or do you feel overwhelmed with the infinite options for customizing your dream Arizona wedding day?  Creating awareness around these points will help you pause in the moments that you are faced with your triggers and move through them like a champ.  

Champ

DO start to draft a wedding guest list with your partner so that you have a basic understanding of the size of your wedding but DON’T reach out to anyone just yet.  We repeat, do not invite anyone yet!  In our wedding planning experience, there are likely many additional costs that even the most savvy brides haven’t taken into account.  One of the easiest ways to reduce your overall spend in by managing your guest count.   By having a rough estimate in advance, you will be able to choose the right Arizona venue but you will not feel pressured to stretch your resources to accommodate people you perhaps invited in the initial engagement excitement.  

DO be a superstar but DON’T be a superbride.  “Wedding planning was the most stress-free experience of my life,” …said no bride ever.  While becoming engaged and planning a wedding is a joyful experience, even the most informed brides need a helping hand!  There are simply too many spinning plates to balance them all by yourself.  Of course as a team of Scottsdale-based wedding planners, we believe in hiring a local professional, but we too have been brides in the past.  In our personal experience, working alongside of an objective expert can help you navigate all of the small and big details with ease and grace.  Bonus, you will actually have a blast in the wedding planning process with expert hands on deck.  

After you have worked through these dos and don’ts we recommend researching the average prices in Arizona for the big things you will need to book for your wedding day and creating a budget you are comfortable with.  This is where your wedding planner can provide a ton of value, as a they will include things you hadn’t considered, and a good planner will help match your expectations with your budget.  Once you have done this, shop around first for your Arizona wedding venue, wedding officiant, and wedding photographer, because they can usually only accommodate one wedding per day.  Caterers and florists can wait for now, as they can usually support multiple events in one day, and have a bit more flexibility with bookings.  

Let us know in the comments below if you have any top dos and don’ts to share based off of your own experience.  We’d love to hear from you!

If you are recently engaged or in the thick of planning your Arizona wedding, let's chat!  Sip and Twirl is a passionate and creative group of Arizona wedding planners.  Our wedding planning showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Check out our Facebook page or our Yelp! to hear what real couples have said about our wedding planning and design services.  We plan for both small and large scale Arizona eventsd, and genuinely love what we do.  Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at info@sipandtwirl.com. 

3 Simple Wedding Week Practices To Keep Healthy in Arizona this Fall by Kristen Bradley

Your stunning Arizona fall wedding day is just around the corner. Every bride knows that in the weeks leading up to your wedding, a couple can experience additional stresses.  Brides in our hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona know how busy the fall season can be.   The holidays are just around the corner, the beautiful weather is in full effect, and the wedding industry calendars are full with Arizona weddings!  Here are some ways that you can keep happy and healthy during this time so that you feel your best on your wedding day.

Writer Affirmations Wedding Healthy

Be Proactive 

It’s always better to approach your health proactively than it is to treat symptoms of illness.  The first, simple thing you can do each day leading up to your Arizona wedding is thinking healthy thoughts throughout the day.  Try writing phrases like, “I am bursting with health; I am energized, and I feel beautiful from the inside out,” and leave these on your bathroom mirror, plus a few other prominent locations.  Every time you see your note, think consciously of your affirmation.  If this sounds a little too woo, woo for you, trust us, and try it for a couple of days, and see how it impacts you.  In the very least, you will raise your self-esteem and feel extra glowy and gorgeous. 

You can also take natural remedies to boost your immune system. There are lots of farmers markets that are opening in Scottsdale with the cooling weather, and you will have a blast shopping for your favorite fruits and veg.  Foods that can help give you a boost include garlic, oil of oregano (take a few drops under your tongue daily), and superfoods like blueberries, kale, brazil nuts, papaya, and black pepper.  Check out this helpful website to read more about a list of 50 nutrient dense foods. 

Create a Morning Ritual 

Everyone knows that stress can cause a dip in your immune system, and one of the best ways to work through stressful periods is by creating inner peace and strength. Start each day by getting up 30 minutes earlier to practice a few self-love exercises.  If you're getting married in Scottsdale, or the surrounding Phoenix Valley, why not take to one of the beautiful hiking trails at least one morning in the weeks leading up to your wedding?  

Other things that you can try include reading 10 pages of an uplifting book, or go for a short walk around the block and listen to your favorite, fist pumping songs.  You can also stretch for a few minutes, or practice some deep breathing exercises.  If you find your mind racing while sitting still and quietly breathing, check out some meditation apps on your phone or search for guided meditation tracks on Spotify.  You can also simply set a three-minute timer and practice deep breathing.  The morning is an important time of the day to do these things because it helps you set the intention for having a happy, peaceful day, plus if you do something positive for yourself first thing, you definitely make time to fit it into your current commitments.  

Clean Healthy Superfoods

Clean Up Your Diet

It’s common for brides to experience a change in their diet leading up to their weddings due to friends and family arriving in town, and the additional tensions that the final stages of planning can bring.  A few common food groups that can cause you to feel less than amazing include dairy, glutenous grains, refined sugar, and foods packed with preservatives.  Eating clean and avoiding refined sugar is one of the easiest ways to feel energized and healthy.  

Some simple swaps that can help you avoid crashes and tummy upsets are trading any kind of soda, traditional energy drinks, or copious amounts of coffee for unsweetened green tea or matcha; try sweet potatoes or quinoa instead of pasta and bread (wheat or white), or use nut or coconut milks instead of dairy products.  Bonus, your skin will glow even more in all of your wedding pics!  If you are in Arizona like us, you can check out a list of local farmers markets here, or if you are elsewhere in the world, a simple search online will connect you to your local farming community.  

Do you have any helpful tips for boosting your physical and mental health during your wedding week?  We’d love to hear!  Leave a comment below.  

If you are recently engaged or in the thick of planning an Arizona wedding, we'd love to hear from you!  Sip and Twirl is a passionate and creative group of Arizona wedding planners.  Our wedding planning and design showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Check out our Facebook page to hear what real Arizona brides and grooms have said about our services.  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.