Planning a wedding can be tough enough when you're together, but for long-distance couples who can't make face-to-face decisions together, managing a million wedding details can feel downright daunting. "You won't always be able to tell the tone or mood of someone if you're talking over the phone or via email versus in person," commiserates Amy Nichols, owner of California-based Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. But it's still possible to plan a party you both love when only one of you is physically present for the planning process. Here's how.
First, says Nichols, it's important to "establish early what you're comfortable making decisions on solo, versus what things should be joint decisions." Agree you won't make a final cut without your partner's say on the items he or she desires an input on. "That way, you can knock out certain things without having to loop him or her into every conversation or email," says Nichols. "Delegate what is easier for the non-local partner to manage — such as collecting guest addresses, or creating a wedding website," — so you both feel useful.
If it's possible for your partner to travel to your wedding destination, do your best to set up as many vendor interviews and meetings for that time — especially when it comes to the food menu and cake tastings — because it's best to wait for your partner to be present. But, Nichols says, it's also important for long-distance couples — who already get so little time together — to designate what will be wedding time and what will be your time. "Set aside blocks of time just to talk about wedding things" she advises. "Don't forget to ask your fiancé about work and life outside of the wedding so that your life isn't constantly about the wedding"
Finally, embrace technology. "With tools like Skype or FaceTime, both couples can attend a meeting with a vendor together, and you can share files and photos using Dropbox," she points out. Before you place that video call or send a photo-filled text, "determine when is off limits for wedding-related texts and calls," Nichols warns. "Your fiancé may not want to receive 10 centerpiece photos while he or she is at work."