Top 5 wedding planning tips I wish someone told me

The first thing most couples will do when planning is to dive into or Googling caterers but from my experience as a wedding professional, (and having planned a wedding of my own) here are my top tips that I wish someone had told me when I was planning my wedding...

Hire a wedding planner!

I know your first thought: "I don't have the budget" or "they are expensive!" Well I have some news for you, hiring a wedding planner can be surprisingly affordable. Even more important, a good wedding planner can help you stay in budget and take the stress and time-consuming work of making phone calls off your plate. Wedding planners live and die by their professional network so they have every incentive to give you the best recommendations for the price. Most wedding planners will run you between $4-9k for full-time start-to-finish wedding planning. When you consider the average wedding in our area costs over $40k, a wedding planner is quite a deal. When you consider their knowledge and industry connections, this is a great investment in your vision and your sanity! Bonus: Many will do free consultations to see if you are a good fit.

Start by asking your friends and family for recommendations of planners. If no one has a contact, start searching hashtags like #weddingplanner, #weddinginspo, or #njweddingplanner on Instagram. I have found that the best planners are not on Wedding Wire or The Knot because of the high fees to be listed on those platforms. (Actually many of the best vendors I know are ditching expensive wedding listing platforms because the return is not worth the expense). I have found some incredible wedding planner colleagues on Instagram, word of mouth, and Google. Typically their Instagram accounts are the most up-to-date samples of their work so I strongly suggest starting there.

If you want my wedding planner recommendations, check out my Vendor Love Page!

Insure your ring!

This may surprise you but most homeowners or renters insurance does not cover jewelry automatically. You typically need to add what's called an insurance rider to your policy for your ring. You will want to take photos of it, a detailed description, and even the jeweler's receipt to provide to your insurance company.

Start your beauty regimens like yesterday!

Wedding planning will make you nuts (unless you hire a planner) so get into good habits as soon as possible! Join a gym, practice yoga or meditation, grab some teeth whitening strips, and invest in good skincare products as soon as you can. Schedule a few spa days, especially in the month leading up to your wedding and a facial 2 weeks before (so your skin has time to clear). You want to be looking for the right type of products for your skin type and keep in mind it typically takes weeks, if not months, to see results from your daily practices in beauty and fitness.

Don't forget to give yourself grace and acceptance along the way. Your fiancé loves you no matter what, otherwise they wouldn't have proposed! Your family and friends will always support you so don't stress if you don't quite make one of your goals. Bonus tip: You can always take your dress in but never ever buy a wedding dress that is too small when you try it on. It might be impossible to take it in if you don't lose the weight you were planning to.

Communication is key!

Say it again for the people in the back! Communication with your fiancé is definitely numero uno, but you should also be open with your friends, family, and your vendor team. If you are planning to have a large bridal party, you need to communicate that to your hair and makeup team. Actually if you listened to my #weddingwednesday chat series on Instagram, my first talk was with Kathleen Benjamin, a NJ Wedding hair and makeup artist based in Morristown NJ.

She mentioned it is very common for bridesmaids to decide they want hair and makeup on the spot. Kathleen brings extra help based on the size of the wedding party to account for these last minute requests. She even asks about the hair length and type of the girls in order to determine the amount of time needed to style each person. That level of detail was mind-blowing to me! I venture to bet it never occurred to you either!

For photographers and videographers, knowing the number of bridal party members, family photos, and portrait locations is really key to scheduling our time. Many photographers will assist you with planning your timeline and manage your expectations appropriately for your day.

Shoot for the stars and land on the moon...

It's really easy to get carried away with amazing wedding inspiration on Instagram, in magazines and blogs, and on site like The Knot. At the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your best friend, love of your life, soulmate. Don't let the pomp and circumstance overshadow the story of your love. Take the inspiration and transform it into something that represents reality for you, whatever that may be, and don't lose sight of your end-game: a long and happy marriage.

Happy Planning! I hope this list was helpful for you. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on social media, drop me a line via email, or sign up for my newsletter for more tips!