It’s definitely doable – I’m planning my wedding from overseas as well (live in Tokyo, wedding in New York). We have had two week-long trips home (which, in spite of what my boss thinks, were absolutely NOT vacations, and were planned down to the minute, haha) for crazy in-person planning sprees. The things that were important for us to do in person were to taste cakes/reception food, meet with the priest saying our wedding mass, purchase wedding attire (i bought my dress in one day!), have an initial discussion with a florist, and briefly meet our DJ and photographer face to face. All the minor details (think favors, invitations, etc.), and the specifics of what we’re asking our vendors to do for us, have been handled by phone or email.
Honestly, I think planning my wedding from overseas has made things easier in some respects…I feel like I’m not seeing as many options/ideas as I would if I were at home, which gives me less opportunity to second guess my choices. Plus, with sites like this it’s easy to see what ideas/trends I might be missing out on :). Wedding planning also gives you an excuse to stay in touch with friends and family while you’re away.
You’re right about giving up some DIY projects – it’s made me a little sad too, but I keep telling myself that no one attending my wedding, with the exception of a friend or two getting married themselves, is constantly looking at wedding magazines and blogs, so they won’t know what they’re missing if my programs are just printed and folded instead of hand painted, hand sewn, layered masterpieces. 🙂 I’ve left the DIY work to small things I can transport pretty easily, like escort cards and 1,000 origami cranes (okay, NOT so easy to transport, but it was high on my priority list)…and I’ve let go of worrying about things like exactly how the invitations are stacked/tied together, since I can’t be available to do that myself.
When you’re selecting vendors, you might want to ask if they are comfortable working over email. When selecting vendors without meeting them in person first (or deciding if they are even worth meeting in person), I have made it a rule of thumb that if a vendor can’t accomodate my situation and reply with a reasonable amount of promptness and a professional conduct to an email inquiry, then they are not someone I want to deal with. This has worked well for me so far. If you let people know up front that you’re planning from overseas, and express appreciation for them being able to work under unusual circumstances, I find that they’re often more accomodating and are interested/excited to work with someone who is coming from far away.
Lastly, don’t be scared to enlist the help of friends and family. Ours have been excited to be involved, and have not minded doing tasks like receiving deliveries, visiting the florist or reception site to verify colors/decor options, addressing invitations, etc. As long as you’re thankful and gracious about it, I would think they’d be delighted to help you out.
You sound like you’re being really level headed about everything, so I’m sure your wedding will turn out beautifully – best of luck to you! 🙂