How to plan a wedding from afar: part I

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How to plan a wedding from afar

I'm by no means a wedding planner. I had never even planned a large event before I got engaged… but in planning our wedding from over 2,000 miles away I found that there ain't jack shit for resources on this topic.

So here it is, “Shrie's Humble Guide to Planning A Wedding from Afar: Or How to Get Hitched Without Pulling Your Hair Out.” I hope my teeny tidbits of advice will help at least one crazed, “I don't know where to start!” bride-to-be looking for a little relief.

Getting married and putting the whole shebang together can be awesome fun. Getting married and putting the whole shebang together at a location 2,100 miles away from where you live can be awesome fun AND a little stressful. Lucky for you, I've been through all that and will graciously divulge all my time-saving, stress-free secrets…

1) Focus!

If you're planning your wedding in a location in which you do not live, I'd recommend starting as far ahead of time in the planning process as possible! Look for inspiration online, in crafting stores, on TV, in the yard, at your hairdresser‘s salon.. wherever! Get a feel for the overall environment you'd like to create before you go one step further. Ours was focused on two main themes, vintage 50s and the celebratory Mexican fiesta! We wanted to find a venue with charm, flair and a vintage vibe. We had to realistically gauge our needs, budget and wedding “environment” ideas in order to choose the perfect venue. One of the big deciding factors for us was complete freedom with booze, food and the ability to have our sweet red dog as our ring bearer. Find your focus, like we did on the booze and food, and steer your efforts in that direction.

Minimize, ladies: If you were getting hitched down the road from your house, moving theatre set displays and a huge photobooth might be realistic. When you're traveling for three days in an FJ Cruiser with a dog and wedding gear, excess is not an option. Sure, we had grandiose plans but when reality hit like a ton of bricks we scaled back, and I think we were better off because of it.

2) Tools!

Google Docs is a dream… I could start a spreadsheet, email the link to my Mom and she could edit and view it! From there, we noted everything from cost to availability to restrictions to the specific person to contact from each venue on the spreadsheet. Spreadsheets were my saving grace in this process, along with the amazing Momz of course.

Because my parents were chipping in for the wedding ANOTHER spreadsheet was necessary to keep track of expenses. Luckily, Google has many needs-specific templates available. We chose a budgeting spreadsheet and everyone could edit it online as well, so we could keep a close track of what we spent and where we were at in terms of our overall budget. Because I was getting a jillion emails from the caterer, piano player, hair lady etc. I just set color-coded label in my Gmail inbox entitled “Wedding”. I tagged any incoming wedding-related email with that label to make it easier to search for pertinent information when I needed it. Go Google!

3) Organization!

It makes it SO much easier to plan a wedding from afar if there are people you can trust to help you out. Because we were traveling with the dog and didn't have a lot of room in our vehicle, I assigned tasks to several people. It was hard to let go of control, but I wouldn't have been able to get everything taken care of in the few days we had before the wedding without their help. Elect another person to help you organize, delegate and run around. For me, it was my Mom, as my maid of honor lived in Colorado and couldn't be there til the eve of the wedding. She was more stressed than me for sure, but that's a Mom's nature, no?

Get down to the dirty work with “Planning a wedding from afar: part 2.” Venue, food, decorations… tips and pics galore!

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

  1. Thanks for sharing your advice on this under-developed topic!! I’m maid of honour for my best friend right now, who is planning a wedding in Canada, from Spain. The jokes about not having hair left by the wedding day have already started.

  2. I am looking forward to part 2 of this….I live in southern china and my wedding is in austin texas….fun fun fun

  3. Yes, yes, yes to number 2! I’m planning my Oklahoma wedding from France, and Google is the glue holding this thing together!

    I’m waiting eagerly for part 2!

  4. Thank you thank you so much!! I’m planning my Mexican Puerto Vallarta wedding from Nashville, TN of all places! ha I’m so excited to start using the spreadsheets on Google to Budget Baby!!

  5. As an attender of this event, I can personally tell you how organized and festive this wedding was! Shrie did an amazing job and everything went like clockwork! YOU ROCK GIRL!

  6. Awww, man. I wish I would’ve thought of the google docs thing before my wedding. That would’ve been verrry helpful! Looove your hair!


    I’m planning my wedding in New Zealand from New York. 18 hour time difference. Does “across the universe” work as a theme???

  8. We planned a wedding from 1500 miles away – in my home town, but there were still challenges. The things that helped us stay sane: doing lots of research ahead of our trips out, narrowing vendors down to 2 or 3 and only meeting with them, and making choices and STICKING WITH THEM. It was great not having to second-guess ourselves; once we picked a caterer, that was it. The other main sanity saver was the oft-quoted indiebride mentality of “good is good enough.” We didn’t strive for perfection and knew it wasn’t possible anyway.

  9. great tip on the google docs and labels! I’m only getting married 200 miles from home, and they’ve been a life saver in the planning process 🙂

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