|Sip and Twirl| Arizona Wedding Planner: Scottsdale Bridesmaid Budgeting 101--What You Do and Don't Pay For by Kristen Bradley

As Scottsdale wedding planners, we have seen the costs of weddings creep higher and higher over the years, 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.  In our experience, there are dozens and dozens of hotel options in Phoenix and Scottsdale, our neck of the woods, that work with all different budgets.  With that said, this is usually the largest chunk of change that your wedding party will spend in one place, and they should feel comfortable discussing their financial needs with you.  One way that you can help your wedding party is by reserving a hotel block in advance so that rooms are offered at a better price.  Another out-of-the-box idea 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. You'll also want to keep their comfort in mind.  For example, Arizona wedding venues often have lots of outdoor space, and the climate is usually hot and dry with strong sun.  Choose something that is sensitive to the temperature, and your gals will be thanking you! 

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.  Your Scottsdale wedding planner will have a long list of hair and makeup artists that they trust, and you can ask them for recommendations based off of the look you are going for.  

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 Scottsdale 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.  

We at Sip and Twirl are always here to help Arizona brides and grooms to be.  We get more than a bit excited about planning everything from the perfect first look to the last toast on wedding night.  Our Scottsdale wedding planning showroom is located near the 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright, and have many years of experience in Arizona 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.  

|Sip and Twirl| Arizona Wedding Planner: Avoid these 5 Common Arizona Wedding Planning Mistakes by Kristen Bradley

As any married person knows in the Phoenix valley, 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 about wedding planning in Arizona.  Here are some of our top Arizona wedding planner insider tips on how to avoid some common 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 Arizona wedding so that you can move forward with booking an appropriate 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 Scottsdale wedding 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 wedding venue choice.  Assemble your rough-draft guest list first to avoid this common wedding planning mistake, and make sure to keep your list between you and your partner, (and family), for now.  When you are in the trenches of Arizona 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 wedding planning 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 Arizona wedding planner first to get your budget squared away, which will help you understand the costs associated with getting married in Arizona, 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 Arizona 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 wedding 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 Arizona 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 local Phoenix 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 wedding planning process, don’t be afraid to make the changes, but don’t forget, you’re marrying your soul mate, not your centerpieces!  We at Sip and Twirl truly love helping Arizona brides with the entire design process, and can assist our couple with confidentally executing their vision to the smallest detail.  

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, putting 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 Arizona 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 local Phoenix 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 Arizona 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.  A professional Arizona-based 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

We at Sip and Twirl are always here to help Arizona brides and grooms to be.  We get more than a bit excited about planning everything from the perfect first look to the last toast on wedding night.  Our wedding planning showroom is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and have many years of experience in Arizona 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.  

|Sip and twirl| Arizona Wedding Planner: Explaining the Key Differences Between an Arizona Wedding Planner and an Arizona Venue Coordinator, (and Why You Need Both!) by Kristen Bradley

We are frequently asked to explain the differences between an Arizona wedding planner and an Arizona venue coordinator.  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 Arizona wedding venue is such an important “checklist item” because it enables the bulk of your wedding planning to start with this key detail in place.  If you have already started looking at wedding venues, you have probably learned quickly that Arizona wedding 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 Arizona venue coordinator for the first time.  

The on-site Arizona 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 Arizona 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 an Arizona 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 your 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 Arizona 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 Arizona wedding planner, who knows the local market very well before signing.  Your wedding planner 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 local Arizona 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 local 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 wedding planner will oversee every aspect of your beautiful Arizona 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 wedding 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: 

Arizona 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 Arizona wedding planner’s main concern at all times is advocating for YOU.  Professionals like us at Sip and Twirl are here to 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 local Phoenix wedding 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 Arizona 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! 

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.  

|Sip and twirl| Arizona Wedding Planner: To Plan or Not to Plan?  Here Are Three Ways an Arizona Wedding Planner Can Actually Save You Money. by Kristen Bradley

Today’s blog is one of a three-part series, and in this post we will share more about why there is value in hiring an Arizona wedding planner and how a wedding planner can actually save a couple money in the end.  Over the next couple of weeks, look out for our upcoming posts on what the differences are between a Arizona wedding venue coordinator and a wedding planner. Then, finally, we will demystify the poorly named "day-of coordination" services.

When starting to plan for your wedding day, it becomes pretty apparent that there are numerous costs associated with getting married in Arizona, (and nationwide!).  Everything can really add up from the photographer, to venue, to the expected food and beverage costs, and so on.  As a result, many couples are faced with the big question - should we hire a wedding planner?  We are here to let you in on a secret - a wedding planner can actually help save you money and will certainly protect you from wasting money when it’s all said and done.  Plus, a wedding planner will keep you sane and actually enjoying the planning process!  Read on to learn more about why hiring a wedding planner is the most important investment you can make for your Arizona wedding day.

Photo by Bradford Jones

Photo by Bradford Jones

More bang for your buck

Wedding planners are industry insiders and experts.  They are valuable resources, and are often able to find the best prices on products and services in the local market with their extensive knowledge.  A great Arizona wedding planner will have strong and lasting relationships with local vendors and Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley venues that aren’t necessarily mainstream.  Arizona brides can leverage some of these relationships, receiving 5-star products and services for 3-star prices by working alongside of a planner.  There are many businesses in the wedding industry that are hidden gems, and it’s a wedding planner’s job to make these connections.  Additionally, many Arizona wedding planning companies, just like Sip and Twirl, own some of the rentals needed for the big day, such as tables and chairs, and couples can score a great discount on these types of items.  

Wedding planners can help you read between the lines

Couples will soon come to realize that the majority of Arizona wedding venues and vendors require a signed contract, and will also often require a deposit before they guarantee their products and services.  In fact, contracts are associated with nearly every aspect of the wedding planning process.  To brides and grooms, this may be the very first time that they have had to comb through the fine details of these documents, but to a seasoned Arizona-based wedding planner, this is all in a hard day’s work!  A good wedding planner will know what to look out for so that a couple is not charged for unnecessary things, and they will also be able to provide clarification so that couples can make informed decisions about their spending commitments.  

Photo by Bradford Jones

Photo by Bradford Jones

Time is money

This may be a bit of an overused statement, but any couple who’s gotten married, with only a few exceptions, will tell you that planning a wedding in Arizona is a time consuming job!  It can be difficult and stressful for a working bride and groom to sustain full-time jobs and devote the appropriate amount of time to planning their big day.  Arizona wedding planners are hired to keep things on schedule, and they will help take the burden off of a couple’s shoulders for much of the negotiating, researching, and busy work needed to bring the big day to life.  Further, many couples become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of decisions that need to be made in order to bring everything together for their wedding day, and a wedding planner will help a couple save hours upon hours by making professional recommendations based off of the couple’s vision and budget. 

Photo by Bradford Jones

Photo by Bradford Jones

Soon we are going to look at the differences between Arizona wedding venue coordinators and wedding planners, and what the specific roles of each party play. 

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you!  We are a passionate group of Scottsdale-based wedding planners that get our kicks from planning a couple’s dream wedding day.   At Sip and Twirl, we specialize in helping Arizona brides and grooms with weddings of all sizes and all budgets.  We can be reached at info@sipandtwirl.com, or at (480) 648-0663.