@bls247: we live in Nashville, TN and are planning a wedding in Seattle (where his family is from). We got engaged in October and the wedding day is 7/31/2011! Not only that, we are moving out there in the month of July. So not only am I planning a wedding, but we are coordinating a long distance move. So far, I have secured a job in the area and he is still looking. This means that next week (7/3) I am moving out there on my own (job starts that week), and he will follow when he finds a job. There has been a lot of flying to the west coast (8 hour trip!), long trips and help from the Fi’s family. I did not hire a wedding planner, although I did end up choosing a venue that has a venue coordinator and provides tables, chairs, linens and of course the food and drink. I am a decisive person and knew EXACTLY what I wanted, I believe this helps tremendously! If you know what you are looking for, you can do a lot of research ahead of time and make decisions on the spot. Here’s how it went down:
10/5/10 – We go engaged!
late October 2010 – flew out to Seattle (without the Fi) and spent the whole weekend looking at venues. I was determined to make a decision on a venue then, and picked out a date based on availability. I wanted a summer wedding, and Newcastle golf club had 7/31/2011 still available. Boom! Made a deposit. The venue is exactly what I want http://www.newcastleevents.com/ The good part was that the Fi had already been at this venue before for a charity event, so he knew what to expect. At this time, I also met with a variety of photographers that I had researched online, and made a deposit with the photographer.
November 2010 – I knew the type of dress I wanted, and found the dress of my dreams online. To ensure that it looked as good on me as I thought it would, I went to a store to try it on, but bought it from netbride.com. It is the only dress I ever tried on, and even though I’ve looked at many beautiful dresses since then, I love love love it still.
December 2010 – flew out to Seattle again for the holidays, this time with the Fi of course. We did our food tasting at the venue and met again with the photographer so the Fi could meet him. I had also been researching bakers online and had decided on Jacqui’s Cakes, so we had our tasting with her, hashed out the design and made a deposit. Easy peasy.
March 2011 – I had a job interview in the area and used the opportunity to do some more wedding planning while I was out there. Mainly, I met with Nisha from Fleurish and talked about floral design and made a deposit. Again, I had researched many florists online and decided to go with her. Do you see a trend here? The internet is key to long distance planning.
Early June 2011 – Fi and I flew out (thank you frequent flyer miles!) again and did some apartment hunting (since I am moving out there so soon). Got together with the Future Mother-In-Law and did a mock up of our centerpieces (we’re doing our own).
As for everything else, I’ve been doing things online. I’ve never met with the DJ (Ryan Tilton of DJRT), but I found him online, sent him song lists, all that good stuff. My future in-laws have been MOST HELPFUL. We’re doing many things ourselves (like the centerpieces, ceremony decor, favors, etc) and I’ve been shopping for things online and sending them to FMIL’s house. She has been crafting and prepping things (she’s retired and a great help).
I think that’s about it, I am sure I am forgetting details but here’s the jist:
1. know what you want, and know your budget. That’s the very first step.
2. do lots and lots of research. The web is your friend.
3. enlist the help of friends and family
4. plan your time wisely. You will have to make a few trips, so plan them diligently and get as much done in one trip as you can. It’s stressful but you’ll feel so relieved to cross things off your list.
5. after steps 1-4, GO FOR IT! Don’t be afraid to make decisions.