Planning from a distance

posted 3 years ago in Logistics
Post # 2
Member
1412 posts
Bumble bee

If you can swing it, get a planner. I planned my NYC (where I grew up)wedding from Texas with parents in Florida, and BMs in Texas and Nebraska. 

The planner will listen to YOU. And make sure the planning and day of go flawlessly !

Post # 3
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I live in Texas and planned a wedding in Wisconsin last year. 

Let your moms help. They are happy to help and want you to have the greatest wedding too.

Facetime/Skype can be your best friend when working with parents and vendors. I had my mom tour my venue and send me pictures and movie clips from her visit. It sealed the deal and I picked the venue without ever having stepped foot in it.

Trust your gut – you know what you want and your gut will guide you well. 

Have patience and be flexible. Remember, at the end of the day, you get to marry the guy you love. Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
460 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Absolutely get a planner!!!

Post # 5
Member
2631 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

We got married 3 hours away from where we live, so it wasn’t as drastic as your location difference.  We did tons of research online, to narrow down options to 2-3 things, and then we went there to chose between those.  So, we planned a couple big weekends.  One weekend, we toured and picked a venue.  Another weekend we went to the local wedding fair and picked our florist and baker.  We picked out our photographer just from the internet, and didn’t actually meet him until we did engagement photos on a weekend we were in town.

All the non-vendor stuff like making decor, picking your dress, etc, you can do in the town you live in.  I would just say that you should for sure plan a weekend there to tour venues, and do any cake and food tastings.  (I think you could easily pick a florist from the internet, even though we didn’t)

 

ETA:  Make sure you know what the rules are with your marriage liscense.  We were able to get ours 6 weeks ahead of time, but we had to go to the courthouse in person.  That required an extra trip up there for us.

Post # 7
Member
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I highly reccommend a planner! I don’t know how I could have planned my wedding without one… I was living in Washington D.C. and then moved to Montevideo, Uruguay in the middle of planning a wedding in my hometown of Charleston, SC. 

Other than that, if you plan everything right (which a planner definitely helps with) you can get away with just one in-person visit for the food tasting. 

We did all of our vendor interviews over the phone and on Skype, which has been perfectly fine.I honestly thought that planning at a distance would be really hard, but it hasn’t been at all. You’ll be fine!

Post # 8
Member
925 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

lesulm16 :  +1 for If you can swing it, get a planner.

I’m planning my NY wedding from CT (significantly closer than you are to your venue) and it’s obnoxious the amount of weekends I’ve killed travelling to meet with vendors and see samples of things and tour venues and such.  A planner would have taken care of all of the in-person interaction and sent me the details, which would hae been nice.

It’s not impossible, but I started planning very early (about 20 month out) and booking vendors early so I had time for a lot of back-and-forth communication, playing phone tag, having to reschedule calls, etc.  I’ve had vendor calls over my car bluetooth while driving home form work (90-minute commute).  My planning binder is huge because I had to do a ton of research before scheduling any meetings so I wasn’t wasting anyone’s time (especially my own if it involved travel).  I went dress shopping by myself a few times to figure out what I wanted before dragging my mom or mob or moh along so, again, I wasn’t wasting people’s time.

It’s totally do-able, but definitely requires you do your research and stay on top of things.  If I could go back and adjust budget, I’d like to have hired a planner…. especially as I get to the last 3 months before the wedding when I’m finalizing and approving all the final details over the phone and via email.

Post # 9
Member
6624 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m planning mine from 7h away. Luckily for us we are able to drive there a few times a year to do things. If you can’t afford a planner it isn’t going to be a train wreck (IMO). You just have to be more organized.

Once you have your budget and tentative guest list, start emailling venues. You can use the same email and just copy and paste, asking about price lists/availability/etc. Then start ruling them out if theyre over budget, too small, not available. Then you’ll have a list of venues that do fit with your vision, are on/under budget, and able to fit your tentative guest list. If you are heading back for anything (xmas, thanksgiving) schedule all your meetings in the few days you have. Like, book meetings at 9, 11, 1, 3, 5 over 3 days and get them over with. If you aren’t heading back, see if your mom or Maid/Matron of Honor can go tour.

Once you have your venue I think the rest falls into place more easily. You can view photographer galleries online, you can find catering to fit your budget and either have MOH/mom try it or go off of reviews. With skype/face time it’s easy enough to “meet” vendors.

You can totally do this! We will have a 17 month engagement by the time our wedding happens, and we started about 15 months in. Giving yourself lots of time makes the process seem easier, because you can spread out the tasks.

Post # 10
Member
425 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Not sure why everyone is saying to get a planner. It’s completely unnecessary in your situation. With the internet and cell phones today, there’s not a single thing a planner can do that you can’t do yourself, especially with family and friends in the area.

Have someone skype/FaceTime you to tour venues – Then you’ll see if there’s  some glaring problem with the venue and your friends/family can tell you if there are any in-person concerns.

dj, florist, transportation, officiant, etc there’s no reason at all to meet in person, that can all be over email or phone.

ship anything like favors and centerpieces to your parents house and they can hold onto it until the wedding.

don’t stress, there’s no reason for you to be there in person for this stuff. I’m planning from 16hr drive away, but have the same situation where my parents are near the venue, and it has been absolutely fine.

Post # 11
Member
9595 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

lesulm16 :  I did it. Its no problem really. I would go up once and cram all appointments into that weekend- cake, catering testing, flowers etc. Just relied on email/phone and I skype interviewed my vendors. I also asked my vendors for their recommendations for other vendors- theyre probably really knowledgable about the local wedding industry. Ship decor stuff to parents. You dont need a planner, but all brides should get a day of coordinator in my opinion.

Post # 12
Member
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

I’m also doing this, sans planner. We live in Chicago and are getting married in Portland, OR this summer and it really hasn’t been that big of a deal. Like MrsBuesleBee said, on your weekend trips get those appointments in. On one four day trip we booked our venue, photographer, day-of coordinator, and caterer. Get organized! Set up your Google drive and research research research! Have all appointments set far in advance of when you go. Most conversations can be done via email. It also helps lots that you have family there so let them help! You’ve got this bee.

Post # 13
Member
559 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Lake Louise Canada

Our venue is a 5 hour drive. Despite that we’ve gone 3 times since the engagement. Nothing beats seeing a place in person if only once. I wouldnt travel until you narrowed it down to less than 3. Even if youve picked one already seeing it once even on Skype will help with your vision. Once you’ve chosen a venue they are a big resource. They can email floor plans, menus, photos of tables and chairs they offer, they can often give good references. A photographer who has been to a venue before has a big advantage. As PP mentioned a Planner is the MOST valuable asset but if its not in the budget a DOC can help a little ahead of time too, with recommended vendors and ideas.

Post # 14
Member
583 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I planned a Boston wedding from London and I agree that a planner would have been unnecessary and a waste of money for me. As long as your venue has a good team and you’re prepared to do LOTS of emailing/Skypeing, you’ll be fine. Make sure you get all your ducks in a row before your visits back home in terms of what must be done in person (tastings, etc).

Post # 15
Member
1530 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

I’m planning a wedding in the same state, about a 2.5 hour drive away (each way). We’ve toured venues, met with caterers, cake makers, toured hotels. Our photographer is from here. I would liked to have met our DJ but haven’t yet. You definitely need to prioritize what vendors you need to meet in person (I’m going this Friday for a makeup trial, hair trial to be booked later. I will have to meet our DJ and florist at some point). Once you prioritize you need to plan in ADVANCE! Most vendors are really flexible for meetings and tastings when they know you are coming from out of town, but they still need notice. We met caterers on evenings and weekends. Venues back to back on a Saturday. When we did cake tastings, we went on a Friday and booked one right after the other (mistake), and spent the rest of the day looking at hotels.

 

You just need to be ready to plan and make the best use of your time. I WOULD recommend at least a DOC who offers a little more. Ours gives us unlimited phone calls, texts, emails etc. And she has offered to take other vendors to our venue to give them a tour of the lay of the land if need be (key example being potential caterer who had never been to our venue. We ended up going with a different caterer who was very familiar with our venue so that wasn’t necessary). Oh but that brings me another point – vendors who are familiar with your venue are also a good idea! They won’t need as much, if any, hand holding prior.

 

Hope this helps! And congrats on the recent engagement!

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