How to plan a wedding from afar: part 2

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“How to plan a wedding from afar: part 2″… GO! Here are even more tips and tricks to planning a wedding from a location far far away (and not freaking out in the process)! If you missed it last week, here's Part 1!

How to plan a wedding from afar: part 2

3) Venue!

Your venue should be among the first things you consider. Planning our Texas wedding from Seattle definitely had it's challenges venue-wise. I had to be dogged about internet research and on the ball with my organizational tools (see “Tools!” section) in order to keep my sanity. I did have to fly to Texas for the venue search, but before I left I scoured the Internet, contacted venues (including rock clubs, outdoor gardens, parks, theatres, sports stadiums, museums, private farms etc.) and started a spreadsheet with possible options broken down into categories.

Because I was only going to be viewing the venues once before choosing the right one, it was imperative to start a list of questions about each venue: capacity, rehearsal times, cleanup rules, parking situation, decorating stipulations, extra costs, kitchen availability…

4) Food!

If you've never tasted a caterer's food, would you book them for your wedding? Probably not. That's why when choosing a caterer for our wedding we went with a Mexican food restaurant that we'd already been to numerous times. This saved time on the trip to Texas, as we didn't have to go around town tasting everyone and their dog's tacos.

My husband (then fiance) was in charge of the cake, and on a business trip to Texas scoped out a few places and then booked one up! Be cutthroat about your choices… you won't have much time to decide and you won't want to bobble the ball where the food is concerned. Food is serious biz y'all!

Rehearsal Dinner: if you're having a rehearsal dinner, don't forget to book a places well ahead of time as well. A month beforehand was fine for our location, but if you're planning on booking a popular restaurant, I think it's worth tacking on another month to that.

5) Decorations!

Decorations were the hard part for us. It was a struggle to strike a balance between preparing all the decorations in advance and traveling with them OR taking materials/buying materials in Texas and making everything on the fly when we got down south.

We DIYed almost everything and in the end I only made a few things ahead of time to take with: guestbook table signage, scrapbook table signage and the decoration mock-ups.

It just wasn't possible to travel with the bucket-loads of decorations we had to DIY. They wouldn't have made it there safely, so we gambled and did everything after our arrival in Texas. In the end it probably kept our stress level to a minimum because we didn't have to worry about how all of it would fare during travel.

Prep time: Allow yourself a week of “prepare time” to get everything together once you arrive at your destination.

I think one of the secrets to planning any wedding, from across the country or not, is to have realistic expectations. I know, I know… it's your wedding and you want everything to be picture-perfect and go off without a hitch. Well, I got news for you, sister: a perfect wedding is just about as unlikely as a perfect marriage.

Your cousin will forget the pencils for the custom crosswords (it happened!) and your husband's friend who made the doggy ring pillow won't show up (happened too!), but rollin' with the punches is the only way to stay sane.

There were a ton of things we wanted to do but couldn't, like temporary tattoos, custom koozies, and Mexican talavera tile table markers — but we soldiered on. In the end, even with the bumps in the road, our wedding was fantastic. We got tons of positive comments, some even proclaiming that our wedding was the most fun wedding they'd ever attended!

So stick to your vision, shrug off the mess-ups and mishaps, and enjoy the magnitude of your wedding day.

Every wedding is different, and every bride and groom have different goals and ideas as to how they want their big day to play out. For us, it was about injecting a little bit of our zany personalities into the biggest day of our life, and in turn making it an especially fun event for everyone attending.

There was no question that we'd have our wedding in Texas, even though that itsy-bitsy detail made the whole process trickier than your normal wedding. It was absolutely worth it to see all of our families and our dear, much-missed friends drinking and laughing together. We stayed on track, kept our expectations in check and worked our arses off to make our wedding and the entire planning process enjoyable. What's the point of putting it all together if you're not having fun?

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Comments on How to plan a wedding from afar: part 2

  1. Absolutely.

    Another thing that was helpful for us: talk to people you know who live in the area who may have used vendors or businesses that you might use. My MOH’s mother (who lives up the street from our venue) was able to give us good ideas about a bakery to try for our cake (and she was right!) and a few ideas about caterers, and put us in contact with someone in her neighborhood who rents out their house on weekends when they’re not around, which is where our bridal party stayed and also where we had our afterparty.

  2. “What’s the point of putting it all together if you’re not having fun?”

    Truer words were never said – glad you had such a good time and thanks for sharing your tips with everyone. Congratulations!

  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you again!
    I am already feeling more at-ease about our out-of-town wedding planning!

  4. OMG – is that your pooch??? If so he/she is a spitting image of mine! Didi is a Lab/Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever cross – is yours as well?

  5. Clem is our doggy! He is a Husky/Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix! Oh I love the Duck Tolling Retrievers… they look a lot like Chessies sometimes.

  6. Ah Clem would make a lovely boyfriend for Didi!

    Agreed that the Chessies are very similar – they’re more curly while the Tollers are shaggy 🙂

    I can’t wait to have similar photos of our furbaby at our wedding! Thumbs up!

  7. RITA!!!

    What an amazing article! You make Cristanka proud!! I hope you and B-dog are doing swell! Miss u guys.


  8. Thanks for the help, we are planning a Colorado wedding from Ohio and that is proving to be difficult, esp under a budget… but this is very helpful!!!

  9. Thank you for the advice!! I live in Norway and am planning my wedding in several months..all the way in California, it will be held! WHEW

  10. So much on the advice on planning weddings from afar seems to assume that you will get to the location at least once ahead of time, will be there again at least a week before the wedding, and/or have family in the area. We are planning our Massachusetts wedding from Washington, DC without any of those advantages. It can be done (and thank heavens for the Internet!), but it is quite a challenge.

  11. Yes – thank you SO much! And also thank you to all the commenters – it's good to know you're out there. I thought I must be crazy since I wasn't finding info about this anywhere online!

    I have to admit, I'm also proud to have thought of using google Docs myself, even if my Mom sent me an attached Excel document in reply, ha ha.

    We're planning a Seattle-area (Snohomish) wedding from Munich, but at least we fly home pretty often. I'm hoping to get the catering and dress dealt with over Christmas… we'll see! ;-))

  12. I too am getting married and Texas, but I live in Philly. It was great to see that, yes, this can be done. Also I loved your theme. Your wedding looks really fun and unique. Thanks for the advice.

  13. I too am getting married and Texas, but I live in Philly. It was great to see that, yes, this can be done. Also I loved your theme. Your wedding looks really fun and unique. Thanks for the advice.

  14. I'm so glad to see others on here going through the same thing. (Not that I wish it upon anyone, just nice to have a support group)
    We are planning our New Zealand wedding from Korea! Some of the tough parts have been getting things in advance such as a dress, since Korean weddings are mostly of the package kind that include dress and tux….not to mention I'm not quite the same size as your average Korean. I've also noticed a LOT of NZ businesses STILL don't have websites…and if they do, they won't post their prices.
    BUT it has actually been pretty easy, because we just decided to get married in the same venue as my brother! Was a bit strange at first, but then I realised how much easier everything will be since we will be backpacking in Asia for 7 months before we land in NZ, 2 weeks before the wedding!

  15. Thanks Shrie! We’re planning our wedding in Vancouver, Canada from Austin, Texas (2274 miles, and a different country)!

    I totally agree that Google Docs are essential. We’re also using Google Calendar to keep track of our schedule for the 2 weeks before the wedding when we’ll be in town. I’ve definitely opted to DIY much less than I would have if we were closer, although my family in Vancouver is getting pretty crafty.

    Finding contacts who have gotten married recently and can refer you to venues and vendors in your wedding city is a huge help. My sister’s best friend got married a few years ago. She did tons of research for her big day, and has been a fantastic resource. Also, try asking your photographer to recommend other vendors (they have been to more weddings than almost anyone else). That’s how we found our DJ.

    Does anyone have tips on how to transport a wedding dress on an airplane?

    • I’m pretty sure that you can put a cover on your dress and take it on a hanger. They should be able to put it in the first class coat closet! I’ve heard they can be accommodating about stuff like that.

      • That’s exactly what I did. I had my really tall (then future) husband cary it for me until we were on the plane and then we asked one of the flight attendants if they could put it in the closet for us. They were MORE than happy to help and then they knew to keep the champagne coming for the two of us! 😉

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