Post # 1
I was curious to know if any brides have been planning their bride cross country. Not necessarily "destination wedding".
I will be having my wedding where I grew up in Upstate, NY but live in Cali.
I wasn’t sure the best place to post this but since a good chunk of wedding planning is the reception, I thought I’d start here. Does anyone have any tips on cross country planning, how did you organize your time?
Post # 3
I’m planning a wedding which will be about 3 hours from where I currently live. Not as far as for you, but I’m still only going for a visit twice (once to see the venue, once this weekend to finalize details, and the wedding is May).
It’s tough for some things where you would normally want to meet a certain vendor or see a certian place. Do you have family in the city where you’re planning the wedding to do some scouting for you? Are you planning a visit before you commit to the big things?
You are right to start with the venues, so maybe if you can visit you can be really focused on what you’re looking for and see a few venues. You’ll probably also want to meet a caterer for a tasting prior to the wedding, or for your cake as well.
Other things, like the photographer and officiant, we contacted over email and phone and might not meet before the wedding.
The only other thing that worries me about planning from afar is how early before the wedding to get there and what it would be like coming home if FI and I take different cars!
Post # 4
I live in Houston and am planning my wedding in Orlando from here…thankfully my FI lives there (maybe not so thankfully, haha!) so he can see the venues and meet face to face with people, but we have different ideas of what a good venue or caterer is…so we’ll have to do the planning when I move there in June. The internet helps A LOT. I’ve emailed back and forth with vendors for the past few weeks and have weeded out a good chunk of them just based on the info they sent back to me in pdf files and such. I think I’d be screwed if it weren’t for the internet…plus I’d die of lack of wedding-related chats due to Weddingbee! 🙂
Post # 5
I am planning my Western, NY wedding while working on a cruise ship in the Carribean. I was able to do alot in the month I was in NY, but now have to do all my planning online and on the phone. Not easy.
What I am finding hardest is that I will not be able to meet a lot of our vendors unitl Sept., our wedding is in Oct.
But, we are doing the best we can. Luckily we have lots of help! Thanks family and friends!
Good luck to you!
Post # 6
I currently live in Los Angeles (CA) and my wedding will be in Detroit (MI).
My advice is to do a lot of googling. We didnt even use a planner and it has not been that bad. Because of the time difference, most of my interactions with potential vendors was via email. I didnt get to see my actual venue until months after I had booked it. My MOH and friends of the family took lots of pictures. My dad’s girlfriend overnighted me slices of cake to taste.
My wedding is this May (51 days, yay!!). We will have gone home only 3 times (including Christmas) between engagement and wedding. Stack your meetings (like meet with 4 or 5 vendors a day) on your visits home. As long as you pick great vendors, you should be fine. Now, if you are planning on making your bouquets yourself of plan to do a lot of DIY, you may have some problems.
Post # 7
We’re planning a wedding 3.5 hours from where we live, and as others have said, it’s pretty much the same deal. We’ve gone to our location once to check it out (we did a TON of online research to narrow it down before we went looking; lots of time can be wasted looking at venues. Be really honest about how much you want to spend on your location, and exactly what you want out of it before you look at anything), and we’ll go there one more time before the wedding to take care of details and meet with our florist and — hopefully–officiant.
Thank God for the internet, we’ve been with to the location and met the people there, and met our dj when she was in our area, but other than that it’s been all emails and calls for hiring people, and all internet research to find them. I really narrowed things down by eliminating every place that didn’t have upfront pricing policies. I’m a busy gal who doesn’t have time to contact you to find out whether or not you’re in my budget, but now I’m getting a little off-topic….
You may have to be more flexible in some things, though. Finding someone to style your hair / do your make-up from afar is a nightmare, especially if you just can’t fit in a trial. Other than that: piece of cake! Especially if you’re already familiar with the area
Post # 8
Thanks! That is helpful.. It’s nice to know others have been able to plan successfully with few visits back and forth.
The good news is we actually aren’t moving to Cali for another few months, and the wedding isn’t for over a year. I’m taking advantage of the next few weeks to go home and settle the church and reception issues and other brainstorming. The good news is, my family is still in NY and that includes my MOH.
Here’s another crazy question … what did you do about gifts you receive at showers in your wedding location?
Post # 9
My fiance and I live in Northern Virginia, but will be getting married in TX. Thankfully, we both grew up in the same town in TX, so we have family members to help out. Honestly, it’s a small town so the reception venues were fairly limited. We quickly booked the nicest venue (a Ballroom at a univeristy) and the church issue was easy – we both attended the same Catholic church.
Don’t be afraid to use your BM, MOH and family. Most of mine are still in TX and I have had them pick up items for me ex) really awesome deal on vases I found on Craigslist. I think it might actually be good that I can’t buy everything I see, since I have no affordable way of shipping heavy things to TX! My aunts and mom have been really great about getting me contacts for cakes, DJ’s, decorators, etc. I will be going to TX in May for a week to meet everyone I need to work with. I probably won’t see them again until my wedding day!
As for shower gifts – I am only having one bridal shower in TX and my sister (MOH) is working with the theme of the party to make sure I can bring everything back to VA. People will not be asked to bring me "home" gifts off of my registry. Pots and pans are too heavy! Instead, they will be helping me "check things off my list" as I prepare for the wedding. My sister will have a list of things I should do and the gifts will correspond. Ex) 1)Get rid of boring PJs. Gift: Cute nighties 2) Find the perfect honeymoon swimsuit. Gift: seimsuit, duh! 3) Learn to Cook. Gift: Bring your favorite recipe and the non-perishable goods used to make it.
Hope that helps!
My real concern – hopefully someone can help me on this!!! How do I get my dress there? I need it to be altered just a little, so I will need it with me until very close to my wedding. Do I mail it home early and get my mom to have it re-steamed before I get there? Has anyone taken their dress on a plane with them? Do you have to buy an extra seat? (My dress is a ballgown, with pickups – so it’s fairly big even thought it’s just a size 4!)
Thanks Ladies, and Happy Planning from Afar!
Post # 10
My fiance and I currently live in Illinois and are planning to have our Fall 2010 wedding near my home town in South Jersey. We are actually leaving this afternoon to jump on a plane for a whirlwind weekend of checking out 5 ceremony/reception venues!! Like everyone else who has commented here, the internet and email have been incredibly helpful. In scouting out reception sites and caterers I tended to favor the vendors that were able to talk with me via email (i was surprised to come across so many vendors that only do their business over the phone or in person…doesn’t work well for cross-country brides who can’t make personal phone calls during the work day!). We’re lucky in that my parents still live in my hometown and can go on "missions" for me to gather information about vendors I’m interested in, plus it keeps them in the loop and they don’t feel left out of the planning (since they are contributing to the wedding). As long as this weekend goes well and we find a place we like, my advice is mostly to make sure that you pick vendors that are easy to get in touch with, either by email or that you can call them odd hours of the day and they usually pick up the phone. Communication seems key for long-distance planning and if you can employ some family and friends to some reconnaissance for you! Good luck
Post # 11
I am planning from about 8 hours away and my biggest/best advice is get REFERRALS and trust your gut. I believe us women have a sixth sense and when i start to feel like vendors are taking me for a ride and trying to squeeze every last penny out of me i check them off the list and move on to the next. Also read your contacts and dont hesitate to ask for something you thought you would/should get for a certain price.
Post # 12
I’m in Toronto, On. I’m planning my sumer 2010 wedding in Toronto. I am moving to England this summer and will be planning from there. Yeah, I don’t just need luck. hahahah.
Post # 13
We live in LA and our wedding is in CT. First we picked where and about when. The reception site was my starting point. Since we decided on fall in NE, I posted on boards and used wedding review sites. I even went so far as to Flickr my venue and email people who had been there. I also started my photography search early. I can’t tell you how much this helped me plan. Not only did I find great images of venues, but weddings taking place in the venues. Score! When I had phone interviews with photographers I asked about venues that I was interested in and recommendations. We ended up choosing a venue where my mother lives so we went on her seal of approval (scary but moms do know best).
While I think it’s important to meet as many vendors as possible in person, sometimes its not possible. Check peoples references! Not just one but three. So far we’ve made two trips and we have our venue, cake, catering, photographer, DJ, cocktail music, officiant, dress (bought it here to be sent directly to CT so no sales tax), hair/make up, and a few other odds and ends. Catering can eat (no pun intended) half of your budget so if you can’t go for a tasting, have a friend or family member do it (they’ll be happy to get a free meal 🙂
It may take a little extra time but plan a few trips where you can meet as many potential vendors as possible. Narrow the field with phone interviews so you can get multiple vendors done in one trip.
Post # 14
I’m planning my MI wedding from SD and have (so far) managed rather smoothly — we’re a little less than 5 months out at this point and will have had a 16 month engagement.
For me I was able to start planning general ideas before I moved out to CA, so I knocked location and dress off of my list right before I moved. Dress because I didn’t want to bother with shipping/transport, location because I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of opportunities afterwards to location shop, and I knew I wanted to see my options in person first.
As for the vendors I didn’t necessarily have a check to scope out/talk to while at home, a couple factors were important: 1. Like some others have said, being able to talk via email. With the time difference being so big, it was important to be able to be able to reach each other through email since we might not necessarily be able to talk on the phone depending on schedules/office hours. 2. Referrals from local brides. This is how I settled on my cake, DOC and florist — they all came highly recommended on my local boards or vendors and while I haven’t had much face-to-face contact, I am very confident in their abilities on my wedding day!
As for the gift thing, everyone knows that we live in CA so hopefully through common sense and word of mouth, people will think to send gifts straight to us vs. bringing it to the wedding. For the shower, I’m reminding my FMIL and MOH to let guests know about that detail =)
Oh and in general, it does help to trust your family and friends who live at your wedding destination. That or be VERY scheduled about what you will be handling and when. I’m kind of half and half…I have some family there I trust to do more general plans but there are specific wedding projects that I will need to be really on top of planning wise, so I’m doing some things to prepare here and making plans for how I can finish in my hometown =).
Anyway, good to know there are other long distance planning brides out there!
Post # 15
So after looking into cross country planning, I’ve decided to dabble my hand in blogging now too! So shameless self promotion here http://crosscountrywed.blogspot.com
If you have any cross country planning points you’d like to get covered, let me know!
Post # 16
I’m a DC bride planning for a wedding So cal (Hometown). I’ve been doing lots of research and using lots of referrals to get a good idea of what or who is good. Since i can’t meet face to face, i end up using email a lot and then potentially fun, but if the email manners are bad, that could def. ruin things for me. And yes, i do blog too… that’s probably the best way to keep your thoughts in order!