“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!
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…
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.
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?