Bridesmaid Budgeting 101: What You Do and Don't Pay For by Kristen Bradley

It’s no secret that the costs of a wedding add up, and not just for the bride(s) and groom(s)!  It can be tough to ask your bridesmaids, or anyone in your wedding party for that matter, to pay for certain things, but in our experience as wedding planners, it’s far better for both parties to communicate and set expectations for what is and isn't covered from the beginning.  To get the conversation started, here are some of the major areas that you’ll want to consider with budgeting for your bridesmaids.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Here are all of the areas that your bridesmaids will typically cover.

Hotel and Travel

Traditionally, it’s up to your bridesmaids to get to your wedding, and cover their own accommodation.  With that said, this is usually the largest chunk of change that they will spend in one place, and they should feel comfortable discussing their financial needs with you.  One way that you can help your party is by reserving a hotel block in advance so that rooms are offered at a better price.  Another option is putting air miles on your registry and offering to book your out-of-towners' travel on points for those that really need the assistance.   

Wedding Day Ensemble

Everything that your bridesmaids wear on your wedding day, from their dress, shoes and accessories, are their responsibility.  When choosing your bridesmaid dresses, keep in mind that likely people will have varying budgets, and if you’re open to having variety in your bridesmaid dresses, it’s a good idea to choose a few options that range in price.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Bridal Shower

Often someone close to you, like your mom, your mother-in-law, your maid-of-honor, or bridesmaids will want to host your bridal shower.  The costs associated with the shower typically fall on those planning the shower, and can include all or some of your bridesmaids. Some of the things to consider when totaling up the cost of a shower include the venue if it is not held at someone’s home, the decor, activities, and of course food and beverage. 

Bachelorette Party

This is another event that is your crew’s responsibility.  This too will include the decor, activities,  food and drink. However, if you’re hoping to do a destination bachelorette party, you will want to consider the additional costs for a weekend getaway that you are asking of your bridesmaids.  If you are traveling, you should plan on paying for your own transportation and accommodation, and you may also want to chip in for some of the activities.

Wedding and Bridal Shower Gifts

Your bridesmaids are already paying for a lot to stand by your side on your wedding day, so don’t be surprised or offended if they don’t get you a gift for either occasion.  If they do plan on doing something, they can always go in on a gift together, or you can set up group buying on your registry so that they can give as much or as little is comfortable. 

Here are all of the areas that you and your fiancé will typically cover.

Bouquets, and All Floral Accessories

All floral should be covered by the couple, which includes not just the bridesmaid bouquets, but any hair pieces, corsages or crowns.  

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Hair and Makeup

Admittedly, hair and makeup can be a little trickier.  Generally as a rule of thumb, if you request your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup professionally done, or ask them to do either a particular way, then you should pay.  If, however, your bridal party’s look is flexible but they are particularly excited to use a glam squad, they can pay.  It’s also totally acceptable to split the bill on this one.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography 

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography 

Transportation

Transportation on wedding day is the last thing that you will want to plan last minute.  You and your fiancé should cover the transportation for your wedding party, and may also want to strongly consider covering this for guests as well.  Work with your wedding planner to have a solid transportation plan down so that every one has a ride in advance and isn’t scrambling to find a solution on the day of.

Accommodations the Night Before Your Wedding

It's a good idea to plan to pay for the accommodation the night before your wedding if you are hoping to bunk up with your crew.  Many of them will have already paid for accommodation for themselves and their plus-one for the duration of their stay, so they shouldn't have to pay for yet another night of hotel stay.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

With all of this said, it's always best to set expectations early in the planning process and to have clear communication about what is and isn't covered.  There are no hard rules, and you can choose to follow traditional guidelines or you can choose to go an alternative route.  Importantly, if you remain open, gracious and understanding in your communication, your friends will be too.  

At Sip and Twirl, we are pros at creating wedding budgets, at walking couples through these and other aspects of the wedding planning process.  Not to mention, we genuinely love every minute of it!  We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and would love to hear from you.  You can reach us at (480) 648-0663, or at info@sipandtwirl.com.  

Vendor Spotlight: Fabulous Florists in Phoenix by Kristen Bradley

SWOON.  If you love flowers as much as we do, you’ll be left weak in the knees after checking out these beautiful blossoms.  However, with infinite options for your floral design, sometimes it can be tough to narrow down your big day look.  Leave it to the pros!  Today, we’re highlighting some of our favorite local florists in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area to give you a little inspo for your wedding day. 

Fiori Floral

Instagram: @fiorifloralaz

Gina Benedict and team is the creative force at Fiori Floral, and they are masterful at making harmony out of chaos.  We adore Fiori’s fusion of bold colors with different textures that results in truly stunning creations.  The team at Fiori offer floral for each moment of your big day - from bouquets to boutonnieres, centerpieces to ceremony floral, and every design element in between.  Take a look for yourself at Fiori’s arrangements below.

Saturated tones and unique textures at Christine & Ryan's Wedding

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planners
Photos of Christine & Ryan's Wedding by Ben & Kelly Photography

Photos of Christine & Ryan's Wedding by Ben & Kelly Photography

Bold wild greenery at Elizabeth & Dan's Wedding

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planners
Photos of Elizabeth & Dan's Wedding by Trevor Dayley

Photos of Elizabeth & Dan's Wedding by Trevor Dayley

Having worked extensively with Gina and her team, we have a deep respect for the care and customer service that Fiori Floral shows their clients.  Fiori Floral is based out of Scottsdale, AZ, and you can schedule an appointment by calling them directly at 480-580-8772.  

The Flower Studio

Instagram: @flowerstudio

The Flower Studio was founded in 1995 in Scottsdale, AZ by Christine Siegel as a one of a kind artisan studio, stepping away from the typical retail flower shop.  Today, the studio has expanded to a 3,500 square foot showroom and warehouse, and allows The Flower Studio’s team to produce incredible arrangements for even the largest weddings.  Their floral style can be described as trend setting, fashionable and couture.  Take a look at The Flower Studio’s work in these photo below from previous Sip and Twirl weddings. 

Soft pinks and mint greens at Jacqui & Andrew's wedding

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Jacqui & Andrew's Wedding by Andrew Jade Photography

Photos of Jacqui & Andrew's Wedding by Andrew Jade Photography

Timeless beauty at Makenzie & Matt's Wedding

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Makenzie & Matt's Wedding by Trevor Dayley

Photos of Makenzie & Matt's Wedding by Trevor Dayley

The Flower Studio's “by appointment only” business practice allows their hardworking team to give their clientele the full attention and service they deserve, and you can reach them directly at (602) 279-3404.

Carte Blanche Design

Instagram @carteblanchedesign

Randi Eshelman is the owner and founder of Carte Blanche Design, and her passion for all things natural and beautiful radiates through Carte Blanche’s floral design.  Carte Blanche magnificently creates a romantic and dreamy feel to their arrangements, and their overall approach brings beautiful cohesion to a couple’s wedding day look.  Check out these awe inspiring photos below from Linda and Steve’s wedding at The Royal Palms.

Elegant whites and greenery at Linda & Steve's Wedding

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Linda & Steve's Wedding by Saje Photography

Photos of Linda & Steve's Wedding by Saje Photography

You can reach the team at Carte Blanche by calling them at (602) 703-9411 or you can fill out this contact form on their website, and take a moment to introduce yourself and your big day! 

Petal Pusher

Instagram: @azpetalpusher

The team at Petal Pusher are a fantastic selection for a couple that is looking not only for first class floral design, but also for guidance with the additional details that set the ambiance and tone for your wedding day.  Petal Pushers has a inventory of boutique furniture, and will work to create a design aesthetic that flows all the way from floral, to linens, to lighting, and all other details in event stylizing.  Take a look at these spectacular photos below from Meghan and Brendan’s Montelucia wedding, and you will know just what we are talking about! 

Tropical white orchids float at Meghan and Brendan's Wedding

Scottsdale AZ wedding planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Wedding Planner
Photos of Meghan and Brendan's Wedding by Brittany Janelle

Photos of Meghan and Brendan's Wedding by Brittany Janelle

You can reach out to the team at Petal Pushers directly at (623) 337-4868 to book your appointment today. 

All of these vendors are those that we have worked with at Sip and Twirl, and provide excellent service for all budgets and tastes.  If you are recently engaged, we'd love to speak with you! We are passionate about helping couple plan their big day, and love each detail of the planning process.  We are located in Scottsdale, AZ, and you can reach us at (480) 648-0663.

Avoid these 5 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes by Kristen Bradley

As any married person knows, a few mistakes are bound to be made during the wedding planning process. Our first piece of expert advice is to embrace the entire process, including the peaks and the valleys.  There are a few mistakes though that you can avoid easily by doing a tiny bit of basic research in advance.  Here are some of our top insider tips on how to avoid some common planning mistakes so that you can make the most of your engagement!

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Photo by Trevor Dayley

1. Doing anything before drafting your guest list

First things first, you need to have a solid understanding of how many people will be at your wedding so that you can move forward with booking a venue, which will dictate the date and the many other details associated with your wedding day.  Consider this scenario - you and your fiancé ideally would like a smaller wedding, and you book an intimate venue that will accommodate 75 people.  You then physically tally the number of guests that you’d like to include, plus you hear from your parents and your in-laws that they too have people you did not think of that should be invited.  Your list is now up to 125, but you already have your heart set on your original venue choice.  Assemble your rough-draft guest list first to avoid this common mistake, and make sure to keep your list between you and your partner, (and family), for now.  When you are in the trenches of wedding-planning, you may want to make edits to your list, and this will be much easier if you haven’t yet shared invites with anyone.

2. Verbally inviting people to your wedding before you have finalized your guest list

If you’ve just read our first tip, you know it’s best to keep your guest list to you, your partner, and your close family before it has been finalized.  Often couples are so excited about their engagement that it’s only natural to chat about it in social settings, and sometimes couple’s can jump the gun and “impulse invite”, or sometimes even feel socially pressured to invite people.  Our advice is to meet with your wedding planner first to get your budget squared away, which will help you understand the costs associated with getting married, and in many cases, may dictate how large or small a wedding you’d like to have in the end. 

3.  Changing your color theme (with two months to go)

If you’re engaged, some brides can probably identify with this scenario.  You initially fell in love with a few beautiful photos on Pinterest and had a theme in mind that you were drawn to.  You made plans to coordinate your colors, bridesmaid dresses, and decor around this vision.  Now, the more and more that you scoured inspiration boards, the less confident you felt with what you chose.  You’ve now completely changed your mind, and while it’s not the best realization to have, don’t fret!  There are still ways that you can revamp some of the aesthetic elements to your wedding.  If you’ve already ordered your bridesmaid dresses, think about adding a bold sash or accessorizing with a colorful blossom in your bridesmaid’s hair.  You can also liven things up a bit with chunky accessories or shoes.  Another option is to visit your florist and work out the changes to your bouquets and centerpieces, adding pops of your preferred colors throughout the room.  You can do the same thing with linens.  Spice them up with adding a lacy overlay or a colorful table-runner.  If it’s still relatively early in your planning process, don’t be afraid to make the changes, but don’t forget, you’re marrying your soul mate, not your centerpieces! 

Photo by Jane in the Woods

Photo by Jane in the Woods

4.  Trying to drop two sizes before your final fitting

Every bride wants to look flawless on her wedding day, and while it’s one thing to eat right and exercise a few times a week, it’s another thing to crash-diet, slave away with your PT, and put immense pressure on yourself to look perfect.  Set some fitness goals with your trainer, or with a workout buddy, and make small changes to your daily habits that will compound with great success in time for your wedding day.  If you are someone who is a bit self-conscious of your figure, or an aspect of your body type, shop for a wedding dress that suits your shape verses a particular style that may only be flattering on specific body types.  If you find that you are still freaking out about your figure with weeks to go, just remember, not only does your fiancé love you just the way that you are, but each bride is uniquely beautiful and nothing wears as well as self-confidence.  

5. Doing it all yourself

Sure, we are biased on this one, but think about it.  Do you really want to be the one coordinating whether or not the caterer remembered to remove trash after your reception or calling each individual vendor the day of your wedding to make sure they are set to arrive on time?  Of course you want to be taking in every moment of your beautiful day and don’t want to be consumed with the stresses that can come up on wedding day.  Let your wedding planner handle that.  If you’re not sure if a wedding planner is right for you, probably due to budget, check out our blog post from last week.  A wedding planner can not only save you money in the end, but they can help alleviate some of the less glamorous jobs of wedding planning so that you can truly enjoy the months leading up to your wedding day. 

Photo by Bradford Jones

Photo by Bradford Jones

If you’re recently engaged, we’d love to hear from you!  Our passion is to help couple bring their beautiful wedding visions, no matter how simple, or how complex, come to life!  We specialize in full-service wedding planning, and are located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Reach out to us at any time on (480) 648-0663 or at info@sipandtwirl.com.  

Here are the Key Differences Between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator, (and Why You Need Both!) by Kristen Bradley

We are frequently asked to explain the differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator in Arizona.  After understanding the key roles both parties play, couples will then ask us if they need both parties to pull-off their big day.  As a rule with only a few exceptions, the resounding answer is, “YES!”.  Read on to understand the differences between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator, and how each will help you from the moment you get engaged until you both say, “I do”.  

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Photo by Trevor Dayley

To begin, booking your venue is such an important “checklist item” because it enables the bulk of your planning to start with this key detail in place.  If you have already started looking at venues, you have probably learned quickly that venue packages can vary quite a bit, not only from one venue to the next, but also in the packages offered at the same location.  This is where you will probably meet your venue coordinator for the first time.  

The on-site venue coordinator is a key player whom you will know your venue inside and out!  A great venue coordinator will be able to give your wedding planner all sorts of tips and pieces of advice to make your big day incredible.  This list is by no means complete, but here are some of the key responsibilities of a venue coordinator:

  • Primarily acts at the catering sales manager (when catering is offered)
  • Schedules meal tastings with the chef
  • Completes your banquet event order, (BEO), and bar order
  • Assists with audio/visual needs
  • Assists with ceremony chairs, and general reception arrangement

On wedding day, your venue coordinator is a key person in the overall successful flow of the day.  This person will check in with the wedding planner to make sure everything is running smoothly as vendors arrive onsite, and they will also assist in deliveries, and help coordinate placement of decor items so as to put on finishing touches on everything.  

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Photo by Trevor Dayley

For venues where catering is not offered, the role of the venue coordinator can be limited.  She or he will help you book your date, and will work with you to determine pricing and write up the contract between you and your partner with the wedding venue.  The contract establishes ground rules specific to the location, what is expected, and what the venue provides.  It’s a good idea to run this contract past your wedding planner before signing, as they may be able to objectively help you read between the lines.

The team at Sip and Twirl, Laurie, Emily and Kate

The team at Sip and Twirl, Laurie, Emily and Kate

Your wedding planner, on the other hand, has a different set of responsibilities and focuses on the months, weeks and days leading up to your wedding.  Most importantly, your wedding planner’s focus is you and your partner.  A great planner will make sure that you are taken care of every step of the way leading up to, and of course including wedding day.  

A wedding planner will work with you from the very beginning stages of planning (providing venue options, vendor choices, tracking your budget, creating your itinerary, and coordinating the rehearsal) all the way until you drive off into your “happily ever after” the night of your wedding.  On wedding day, your planner will oversee every aspect of your wedding, making sure that all of the vendors know what time they need to arrive, and make sure to prepare everything your vendors need for their setup.  Your planner will coordinate a smooth timeline for the day/night, cueing important moments such as the ceremony start, processional music, sending the wedding party down the aisle, speeches, MC, grand entrance, etc., and will setup your décor and personalized details.

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Here is the main difference: 

Venue coordinators work for the venue and oversee all of the events that are taking place on a given day. Some venues limit their events to one per weekend. Others have many in a single day.  They will work tirelessly to assist you in getting your preferences arranged for in advance of your wedding,  but are not meant to be a “planner” or day-of coordinator.

Your wedding planner’s main concern at all times is advocating for YOU.  We help plan, prepare, hire and design almost every aspect of your wedding.  On wedding day, we act on your behalf to make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible and everyone knows where they need to be. While planners work in conjunction with venues and adhere to all contract terms that are specific to each venue, our main goal is to make sure the you get the wedding that you have been envisioning since day one. We also like to make sure things run smoothly for our venues and vendors so we go out of our way to anticipate the needs of all who are  involved. 

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Photo by Trevor Dayley

Both venue coordinators and wedding planners are committed allies and valuable people to have during your wedding planning process and on the actual day. It is important for couples to realize the differences between the two so that they are not relying solely on the venue coordinator for things that they simply are not hired to do. The distinction between the two can avoid frustration and unnecessary surprises on your special day, and provide you with the knowledge to consider your needs and plan ahead to ensure a simply flawless day!

Next week on the blog, we will share our recent experiences with a simply beautiful wedding we planned at Desert Mountain, in north Scottsdale.  This wedding is the perfect example of one where the dedication of a venue coordinator, and the wedding planning team at Sip and Twirl were crucial to the success of the day.  

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you!  If you are recently engaged and are interested in learning more about how we can bring your dream wedding day to life, reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or info@sipandtwirl.com. 

Seriously Romantic First Looks That Will Make Your Heart Flutter by Kristen Bradley

Many contemporary couples are choosing to have an intimate first look away from family and friends before making their way down the aisle.  Take a look at these previous Sip and Twirl couples below that will completely melt your heart.

Meghan + Brendan's First Look at the Montelucia

Lots of couples choose to do a first look to release out some of the pre-ceremony nerves and butterflies.  We love these photos below because both the bride and the groom are absolutely beaming!  Their excitement and laughter radiates through the photos, and this lighthearted and joyful energy can carry throughout the ceremony.

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona wedding planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Meghan + Brandan by Brittany Janelle

Photos of Meghan + Brandan by Brittany Janelle

Jessica + Andy's First Look at Legacy Ballroom

Another reason that couples choose to do a first look is because the moment can be quite emotional, and couples want to keep it private.  Take a look at these gorgeous photos below from Jessica and Andy's wedding, and you will know exactly what we mean.  Before scrolling below though, make sure to grab a box of tissue!

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Jessica + Andy by Bradford Jones

Photos of Jessica + Andy by Bradford Jones

Julia + John's First Look at a Paradise Valley Private Estate

Finally, one practical reason to have a first look is actually for the photos!  Take a look at how beautifully captured these photos are.  There can be challenges during the ceremony to capture the bride and groom's faces for the exact moment because of the many guests that are standing and potentially blocking views.  Choosing a moment before the ceremony kicks off will ensure that nothing is missed in that special life moment.  

Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Scottsdale Arizona Wedding Planner
Photos of Julia + John by Brandon Scott Photo Co.

Photos of Julia + John by Brandon Scott Photo Co.

We at Sip and Twirl are always here to help.  We get more than a bit excited about helping couples with planning everything from the perfect first look to the last toast on wedding night.  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.