Post # 1
My Fiance and I are from California, and all of our family still lives there, so naturally that’s where we will be gettting married. But we both live in New York city which makes the planing process very difficult… Our wedding is April 28th 2012 and as the one year mark approches I am getting more stressed out about the fact that I can’t get more done because I am on the other side of the country. I’m not sure how many times I will be going out to Cali in the next year, or how many times I should. We have to meet with our venue, which we have already booked, 6 months before the wedding to plan… other than that I’m just not sure… I’m getting my dress in NY so I won’t have to worry about flying out for fittings or things like that. But as far as meeting with potentail vendors, our officient, DIY projects, I am not sure the best way to go about getting things done. And how far before the wedding should I be out in California? One week, two? Anyone have any advice for planing a wedding across the country? Unfortunetly I have no room in my budget for a planner, and while I have friends and family in Cali that can help, none are available or reliable enough to make big decisions for me…
Post # 3
I live in NYC and my wedding will be in Michigan. Although not as far away as you have to plan, i still kind of feel your pain. I dont think you should have to fly out too many times. When you have to go to the meeting with your venue, try to meet with any other vendors you need to meet with before the wedding. As for your other vendors, do your research online and by phone in advance and schedule a visit where you can meet with them all at one time. You can get alot done online, with skype and email and really narrow down the vendors you want to actually meet.
As for the DIY projects, write down what you need to get done. You can always do some in NY and ship them to Cali, or if you are going to be there a week or two before maybe you can get some done while you are there.
Post # 4
I’m in NYC getting married in Houston. Not as far, but pretty far enough. We went once and got the venue. We are going next week to meet all the other vendors and take the engagement shots. Then I will be going there for a week before the wedding. I’ve been buying and shipping stuff to Houston. When we go next week I will take two days off of work to knock out a bunch of DIY projects. The others I am doing here and shipping out. The bulk of them will be before the wedding. I should add that I am also paying folks to do stuff for me from etsy and mail it home. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s worth my peace of mind 🙂
Post # 5
We’re date twins! I’m also planning the wedding from far away. Does your venue have an event coordinator that can help juggle the other vendors? I know you said you couldn’t get a planner, but many venues include the coordinator with the fee.
For what it’s worth, we’ve booked half our vendors via phone and email, and we’ve planned out a couple visits in the next year to take care of things we need to do in person. It was really stressful at first, but after obsessing over review after review, we started signing contracts.
You have time on your side at least! A year to go will give you plenty of time to plan things from afar. You can definitely knock out the major stuff in two visits and the joys of technology. You could try video chat via Skype or something similar to conduct interviews with potential vendors and talk about logistics with vendors you book.
Will your friends and family be able to keep things stored for you at least, so you can ship out your materials?
Post # 6
I’m doing the opposite of you. I currently live in California, but everyone else lives up and down the east coast and our wedding will be in Boston. I chose our venue sight unseen based solely on websites and date availability. Same with all our other vendors. The internet and email are your best friends. Phone calls were even tough for me due to the time difference (by the time I get off work to talk, it’s after business hours for them!) Lucky for you the time difference should work in your favor in that regard. I am not going to be in Boston at all prior to the wedding, right up until the week before. And that is only due to a 3 day waiting period required in Boston to get our marriage license. Sadly this means no tastings and no makeup trials.
My advice is to not stress about this. The internet makes everything possible. Just be up front with your vendors about whether you will or will not be available to meet with them in person and always ask if they have worked with non-local brides before.
I also agree with other posters about making use of your local friends and family. I shipped all my centerpieces, favors, gifts, etc to my mom, Future Mother-In-Law, and Maid/Matron of Honor on the east coast.
Let me know if you have any other specific questions about cross country planning, I’m right in the middle of it, haha.
Post # 7
I feel you, my wedding is in CA and I live on the east coast right now. One thing that helped me was that I limited the number of vendors I would call. I did a ton of research online. YELP.com was my best friend. I picked two of each vendor to meet or call. Then, I went to cali for 3 days, and I met the vendors during that time and made my decisions. So in one weekend I had all the vendors booked. It was a brutal weekend, but it was worth it!
Post # 8
I live in GA and my wedding was in Ohio.
My first piece of advice–rethink the planner. I would at least phone interview a couple. I didn’t think I had the money either but it probably would have been helpful in the end. A good planner will have good vendor contacts and be able to get the most for your money. At the very least, get a DOC. Since you don’t have the family support, this might be worth the money. My mother had done the legwork on the venue and I wished I had taken the time/money to do it myself. I would have saved both in the end.
Second, do what Kellybell recommends and make a long weekend to meet with the other vendors. I did the same thing. I wish I had made a second trip for my hair/make-up trials and a couple other things.
Plan on spending the week before the wedding in CA. I came in on Saturday, my shower was Sunday and I spent the rest of the week doing hair/makeup trials, finishing up DIY projects, etc. It was a very busy week.
Post # 9
I’m in Philly and my wedding will be in Santa Barbara in just under 4 months! I couldnt afford to fly back and forth multiple times so I invested in a great wedding planner who helped me find our venue. I found most of the vendors myself but had her double check their credentials. We flew out for 4 days on v-days and had a wedding marathon. In those 4 days we took our e-pics,checked out our reception and ceremony venues, did our tasting, met with the officiant, found a florist, booked a baker and photobooth. We have all of major things done at this point. I had my planner meet with florist using the ides I showed her and they even agreed to do a conference over skype with me. I know it is stressful but hang in there it will be worth it : )
There are affordable planners out there they are just difficult to find. I have a great one who will work with your budget.I would be happy to recommend her if you like.
Post # 10
I hear you–we’re doing the same thing, although the fact that we’ve been in an LDR actually has made the planning a bit easier as he’s been out in LA until now, so we’ve been knocking off things a bit at a time on my trips out there. I figure we need at least two more trips out there before the wedding (we love traveling so this isn’t really an issue), and we’re planning to get to LA about 3 days before the wedding. Our venue has someone on their side who will be there the day of, and we’ve also asked one of his church friends out there to be our unofficial DOC. (We have no doubt in her ability to kick some a$$ if necessary.) Our photographers offered to do our e-pics while they’re here in NY visiting her sister in May, so that takes care of that issue.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, it can be done! And feel free to PM or whatever if you just want to talk to someone who is doing the same thing. 🙂
Post # 11
Agreed about finding a planner. I know you said it’s not in the budget, but a good planner should actually help save money because they have relationships with vendors and can help get you discounts.
Post # 12
I feel ya! I live in Australia, but my family is all back home in California and all our Aussie friends told us they hoped we’d have our wedding in CA so they have an excuse to come check out the U.S. The Aussie and I are headed to CA in 2 weeks to meet with vendors, find a venue, and potentially hire a full wedding coordinator or at least a DOC and I am so stressed about the whole planning process! I/We may be able to make it back over at Christmas to do more planning or there is a possibility that this may be our only trip to CA before the actual wedding in Sept 2012…yikes! Good luck to all you other ladies planning long distance.
Post # 13
What part of CA are you getting married in? I’m in Boston, but grew up and still occasionally work in CA so I have some vendor connections I can recommend you. Feel free to PM me.
Post # 14
We live outside of DC but got married outside of Boston. We never even saw our ceremony or reception venues until we arrived at them for the wedding, and we didn’t have any family in the area to help us plan.
What we did was to keep things as simple as possible. We researched the requirements for a wedding license–and for getting an exemption from the normal three-day waiting period–online. The rehearsal dinner was just piza we had delivered.
We made a portable popup chuppah (wedding canopy) for the synagogue, and used only very simple decorations (pew bows and gold sashes) otherwise. We had only two attendants (one male, one female), so we didn’t have to worry about matching dresses, etc. We found our bouquets on a Teleflora site, and then were able to call up the local Teleflora florist and ask for them by style number. We found a photographer on Craigslist, and checked out his website online. We found a hair and make-up person on Craigslist, and got references for her. We Googled the location of the nearest Whole Foods to buy the challah for the blessing over bread.
Our reception was at a restaurant, so the venue, catering, and decor were all handled by one vendor. We didn’t try to add any decorations of our own.
So yes, it is possible to organize an entire wedding, without a wedding planner, and without even visiting the location. If you have the opportunity to visit, just think about what things truly matter to you, and get those dealt with when you visit.
Post # 15
@PizzutiStudios: Wow, thanks for offering! We are getting married in Santa Cruz. It’s about 2 hours south of San Francisco, on the otherside of the hill from San Jose.
Post # 16
Thank you all soooo much for your advice and support. I feel better already. I am getting married in Claremount, California, for those of you that asked…and our venue does offer DOC, so thats a plus I forgot about. I think I just need to get orginzed… I also like the idea of maybe going out for a long weekend and just meet with people and make decisions. Thanks again ladies, your in put really helped