Read Part I of our LDR Wedding How-to Series: Choosing Your Wedding Type ➨
Generally speaking (but not always), long distance wedding planning may be done from a distance. The Bride and Groom may not have easy access to resources in the vicinity of where their wedding will take place because they are planning it from another or even split locations.
For example: A bride may be planning a wedding that takes place in California, her groom may be in North Carolina and she might be all the way in Africa. Sounds pretty challenging, right?
It is. It means that all of your planning has to be done from far away. No easy 15 minute drive to taste-test your wedding menu and dropping by your wedding venue multiple times ‘just in case’ isn’t exactly an option either. You’ll have to rely on friends and family to help you out –or face the possibility of a lot of travel time.
So how does anyone plan a wedding when they don’t have easy access to the location where they’d like the wedding to take place?
Here are some tips that should make the process of planning a wedding from afar a little bit easier.
Start planning as soon as possible.
The sooner you start to get things rolling, the better. Planning a wedding from a distance means that you have to account for the fact that things may take a little longer to plan. You may need to communicate with venders, friends and family for much longer than you usually would if you were in person. You may have to wait for samples to arrive in the mail, or spend extra time traveling to and from your location.
You may even find that your initial wedding plans need to be adjusted or simplified. Planning your wedding as far in advance as possible gives you room to deal with the extra effort it takes to plan a wedding from far away as well as the time to deal with any tweaks or adjustments you may find that you have to make.
Use Video Chat To Communicate with Vendors, Friends and Family
Face to face communication is something you need when planning certain details about your wedding. Using services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime to communicate with vendors, friends or family who are helping in the coordination of your wedding is the next best thing to being right there with them.
You can discuss colors; see samples of favors, gifts or invitations. It can be so much easier to communicate and convey things to one another when you can both see and hear the person on the other end of the line. It limits the amount of miscommunication you may get if you’re communicating solely on the phone or through emails and IMs on the internet.
(Have a look at our list of 9 Free No Download, No Login Skype Alternatives)
Have a Support System on The Other Side.
Whether its mom, dad, your s/o, another family member or a friend –you need to have a support system on the other end. Someone who can help you with planning the things you can’t be there for even if they will only be standing in temporarily.
Make sure it’s someone you can really rely on, since they will be your go-to person for things that you won’t be able to do like running errands, taking photos of venues, tasting foods, collecting data, make objective recommendations, etc. Using a parent or a sibling would be best. You want someone who has your best interests at heart.
This will really help alleviate some of the stress of being so far away while you plan the wedding. You’ll know that someone has your back and is checking up on the details of what you’ve arranged, giving you less to fret about.
Account for travel time in your expenses and planning.
Unless you are completely comfortable with trusting the friends of family who may be helping you organize your wedding in the location where it will occur, you will have to account for at least some travel time when budgeting and planning your wedding.
You may want to view venues personally or meet with caterers, have a rehearsal dinner or buy a dress in the area with friends and family around you. Whatever it is you’re doing, try to plan your trips to and from your wedding location in such a way that you can accomplish several things in a single trip. Give yourself time to do these things; don’t plan them all in one day. Arrange to stay a few days or even weeks so that you can get as much planning done before you need to return home.
Use Online Tools To Stay Connected and Share Plans.
Planning wedding includes lots of to-do lists, schedules and all kinds of planning. You can actually use online tools that you are already familiar with to keep in contact with your s/o, your right hand man (or girl), your family, even your bridesmaids.
● Pinterest has secret boards that you can use to collectively pin wedding ideas with anyone in secret. You can even invite others to post to the board, which results in one big collective smorgasbord of helpful people pinning helpful wedding ideas.
● Dropbox allows you to share files, photos and even videos on several different devices. If you’d like to make sure your wedding planning team has access to any and all changes you may make to scheduling or other arrangements, you can make a dropbox account specifically for your wedding day and give everyone who needs the items within access to it.
● Google Docs allows you to share documents easily with anyone via email. You can even allow specific users to edit or tweak certain documents. This can come in handy if you and your s/o need to share, edit or tweak things when are you are not in the same physical area.
Make sure you feel connected to the planning of the wedding.
When you’re far away, it can be easy to feel a little detached from the planning of your wedding –even if you’re controlling all of the cards. If you’re missing the physical aspect of planning your wedding, do what you can where you are to contribute in your own way.
DIY projects are a great way to add your own personal touch to your wedding. You can prepare small things where you are and bring them along with you when it comes time to initiate your wedding day. Things like table numbers, personal cards, wedding favors and things like that can be a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding while helping you feel physically connected and involved at the same time.
Consider working with a wedding planner.
If family is unavailable, or you don’t have anyone to rely on in the location you’d like to plan your wedding, you may consider working with a wedding planner. It’s the job of the wedding planner to help alleviate the burden of planning a wedding. Just make sure you communicate well with whomever it is you choose to help coordinate your wedding since they will be your go-to person and you will be relying on them heavily.
Schedule your arrival a few weeks before the wedding, not days.
Don’t plan to arrive just before the wedding event is planned to take place. You’ll still need time to finish and arrange last minute items. You may find that you even need to change or rearrange things. You don’t want to have to rush those things days before your wedding is to occur.
Planning a simple wedding might save you a lot of stress.
Because you are so limited in what you can do from afar, planning a simple wedding might be the best course for you. It doesn’t have to be bare bones basic, but the less intricate it is the less of a chance that things will go wrong. Especially with you limited capacity to control all of the planning. You want your wedding day to be special and for some that might mean leaving as little to chance as possible.
Remember: No wedding is 100% Perfect.
Have realistic expectations and don’t be too serious. No wedding is ever picture-perfect. You should expect things to go awry, especially since you’ve done the majority of your planning for it from far away.
Be sure to keep in perspective the purpose of the wedding –to marry the person you love. Don’t get too stressed when things may go wrong. Be able to have a light heart and a sense of humor when things don’t go exactly right. Finally, remember to have fun in the planning of your wedding! It should be an enjoyable experience for you from start to finish.
Have you planned a wedding from afar? What tips would you offer up to someone planning a wedding like this? We’d love to hear your tips.
Don’t Forget to follow our new Long Distance Relationship Wedding Board on Pinterest where we’ll be regularly pinning new finds in connection with this article series! See you there!
MORE: 15 Long Distance Relationship Wedding Cake Ideas
photo © 2009 Jonathan Day, Flickr