Last time on the blog I talked about what to do when your bridesmaids are long distance. This week I’m flipping things around and giving you some tips for planning a wedding when you are the one at a distance. This post is focusing on weddings that won’t necessarily be considered ‘destination’ but they are in a different destination then where you live.
1. Visit Early
This is so important, as soon as you decided to have your wedding at a destination other than your own you should get on the ground and visit. Check out the venues, scope out the sights and see them with your own eyes. Maybe this place is your hometown and you already know what there is to do locally, but try and step back and see it through the eyes of out of town guests. What are the transportation limitations? What activities can they enjoy before or the day after the wedding?
When you visit take lots of notes and all sorts of photos. You are going to want to reference that information as soon as you are on the plane back home. Photos of venues spaces can become invaluable when creating seating charts and room layouts later on.
2. Hire Help
When planning a long distance wedding logistics get a bit more complicated. Hire folks to help you who are local to the area and can do the leg work for you. A local photographer is going to be a huge asset, they already know all the best places in town to take photos and when the light is best in that area. Selecting a wedding planner who is local to your destination can be a great asset too- they will have connections with lots of other vendors in town and can make recommendations for vendors that perhaps you won’t have time to meet in person.
When you think about it the wedding industry is one of the few markets out there that is primarily local. A majority of the industry is comprised of small business owners and these business vary from town to town. Selecting help that is local to your wedding is going to give you the best insider information into that particular market.
A great way to connect with vendors, local to you or your wedding is through Instagram. Its as easy as searching a few hashtags that are area specific (e.g. #phillybride #nycwedding) to find vendors in any place you like.
3. Stay in Touch
Communication is important in the process of planning any wedding, but even more so when distance is involved. Make sure that you are taking advantage of technology- set up Skype meetings with potential vendors to make sure they are a good fit, for me being able to see the other persons face makes a huge difference. Select vendors who streamline communication through project management tools like HoneyBook or Aisle Planner, these services allow you the client to easily stay in the loop and the conversation.
4. Speak up!
If you aren’t getting the answers or the information you need say so. If a vendor is the one who is not responding in a timely manor you need to tell them that you are dissatisfied with their service. The problem isn’t going to go away if you ignore it. The best vendors want that feedback.
Planning a long distance wedding is a topic close to my heart because I was that bride. My wedding was ten hours away from where I now live and I'll be honest it wasn't always easy. If you're struggling with this process right now, know that you are in good company. Feel free to send me a note, I would be happy to help and offer encouragement.