Planning a wedding remotely can feel a bit like walking a high wire across the Grand Canyon: one false move in either direction can send everything right over the edge and into the yawning canyon below.
However, long-distance wedding planning is possible, and may actually be less stressful than planning a wedding nearby.
Here are some tips to help you plan effectively with as few problems as possible.
1. Make “Here” & “There” Lists
The first step to making the best long distance wedding planning choices is making lists of what you can do from your home, and what needs to be handled at the destination. Take care of as many things as possible from your home; your dress, invitations, favors, and accessories should all be handled as close to home as you can. For your florist, send pictures of your ideal flower arrangements; for stylists, you might need to take a weekend trip to your destination for your trial runs. An email is an excellent form of communication with vendors at your destination. You’ll have a record of your interactions and can send relevant pictures and information quickly and easily.
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2. Settle On Your Theme and Colors
By choosing your colors and settling on a theme or a certain ambiance, you’ll give yourself a leg up when making choices about your long distance wedding planning. You’ll have to be flexible and make the most of the offerings available at your destination. If you choose a bakery at your location, for instance, you’ll save shipping costs from your home.
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3. Remember That Simplicity Is Essential
Keeping your plans as simple as possible will make your long distance wedding planning go more smoothly. Giving your vendors instructions that allow a little leeway, or making choices simply for their convenience can be a real plus when you’re planning your wedding from afar. For instance, don’t obsess over linens. Instead, go with the simplest setup offered. Add color to your centerpieces.
4. Avoid Location-Based Surprises
When planning a wedding in another location, it’s important to make sure there won’t be any surprises that prevent your big day from going forward. Just a few things you need to make sure you know about your location include:
- Laws – Not every place in the world is subject to the same laws. Even within the same state, city ordinances can vary widely. While marriage laws are typically enacted at the state level, there may be specific requirements where you’re getting married.
- Accommodations – If you’re traveling to get to your wedding, some of your guests are likely doing the same. Make it easier for your guests to plan their trips by providing a save-the-date packet several months before the wedding. Include brochures for local hotels, car rentals, restaurants, and airport information.
- Vendors – You’ll need to look at reviews for the various vendors at your location because it will be difficult to choose without some input. Many vendors have online portfolios or can send you pictures of their work through email. Don’t be afraid to ask for references; a good vendor should be able to refer you to other satisfied couples.
5. Establish A Point Of Contact
Enlist the help of someone who lives at your location to check up on things for you. If you’re getting married where you grew up, you probably have a whole posse of family and childhood friends who would be only too happy to help. If you’re getting married in a completely unknown location, hire a wedding planner or consultant to help coordinate everything. If you’re going to be using a resort as your destination, they may have someone on staff for this duty.
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6. Be Frugal With Your Time
If you can visit the location, schedule time to meet with your prospective vendors. There’s no need to meet with every vendor. Sort out the finalists from home and contact their references prior to scheduling a meeting. This will allow you to make final decisions on vendors without wasting a lot of time.
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