| SIP AND TWIRL| ARIZONA WEDDING PLANNER: 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!


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.  


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. 

Engagement Season is Here! First Steps and Tips to Keep You on Track by Kate Baskauskas

The holiday season is upon us again, and as we reflect on the past year (where did 2013 go?!) we also embrace the new one with much anticipation. Amidst the shopping, eating, and enjoying time spent with loved ones, the holidays are the most popular time for proposals!  As a new wave of couples begins to celebrate their engagements, there are also a lot of questions and next steps that come along with such an exciting time. As planners, part of our job is to make those next steps a breeze for you. Upcoming deadlines and "to-do's" can really be made a lot less daunting if you stay well organized and have a planner who is able to track and remind you of each step. Here are some of the first few items to complete post-proposal:

1. Decide on a date and venue: Many venues fill up months (sometimes years) in advance. If there is a venue that you are set on, make sure you book it as soon as you are decided on a date. If you don't have a dream venue in mind, that's okay! Discuss with your wedding planner what you envision for your big day and they are sure to show you some fabulous options.

2. Agree on a rough guest count with your partner: Having a guest count goes hand-in-hand with picking a venue. Which venue you choose will depend on how many guests you plan on inviting, and vice-versa.

3. Plan an engagement party! Traditionally, the bride’s parents host this. But these days, we are seeing engagement parties hosted by other relatives of the couple, close friends, or the bride & groom themselves! Do what works for you, but don't miss out on the chance to celebrate this exciting new step in your lives before the wedding planning really begins!

4. Start Pinning: If you don't have a Pinterest account, RIGHT now is a good time to sign up! Create boards for all things wedding: dress, linens, hair, makeup, color schemes, flowers, cakes, and anything else wedding-related you can possibly think of. Here at Sip & Twirl, we link our Pinterest account with our brides' so that we can "pin" images to each other to create the perfect wedding vision for our couples.

Staying organized during your engagement is also important, and we have a few simple tips to keep you on top of things:

1. Make Time: This seems obvious, but the weeks can tend to slip away from you, especially in the glow of celebrating your engagement. Take in the moments (see #3 above!), but also make sure to set aside time each week to focus on wedding planning. A good tip is for you and your partner to set a certain time one day per week to sit down together and collaborate. This will also help in making sure you are communicating well and often about your needs and wants for your big day, and ensuring that both of your ideas are heard.

2. Start Calendaring: If you don't already have one, buy a day planner. We, personally, live by ours. Whether yours is a physical day planner, an online calendaring system, or a structured system through a wedding website like The Knot or Wedding Wire, we can't recommend this enough. Keep track of important deadlines and best of all - make a checklist. Sip & Twirl offers clients interactive software that includes all of these items, so both bride & groom, and planner can stay on the same page every step of the way.

3. Hire a Planner: OK, we swear we aren't just saying this because we are, well -- planners. Having a planner to assist you along the way can make a huge difference in the process (and your level of stress in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding).  We fully believe in the importance of our work. This step alone is sure to take a LOT of the pressure off our your shoulders! Stay tuned for upcoming posts detailing “how wedding planners can SAVE you money” and “the differences between your venue coordinator and your wedding planner.”