Getting hitched in your hometown or saying, "I do" in the city you first met your man? Step one: don't panic! Although planning a wedding from a few thousand miles away can be a huge headache, it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can be really, really romantic and surprisingly stress-free if you do it right.
1. Hire a local wedding planner
If you can afford it, you'll definitely want to hire a planner who's based in your wedding city and/or state, says Daniela Grafman, wedding & special events coordinator at Vision Entertainment Group LLC. "They'll become your gateway to planning all the details out and can offer you advice on local venues and recommend multiple trusted options too. You an also have any materials you may be ordering and needing for the wedding shipped to their office instead of transporting them across the country."
2. Allow additional planning time
Because trust us, you're going to need it. "A three-hour time difference can greatly impact how much can be accomplished along the way when the couple's wedding reception venue in Seattle opens at 6:00 p.m. PST and the couple planning the function resides back East and retires to bed at 9:00 p.m. EST," points out Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions.
3. Understand the climate
For example, we all know snowstorms might be likely back East during the winter, which could prevent guests from attending the wedding, says Jenkins. "However, there are many couples who plan a winter wedding in southern California, only to discover that it's not hot and sunny there every day."
4. Confirm, confirm, confirm
It's easy to fall through the cracks at catering halls and with even the best wedding professionals when no one has met you in person, explains Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design in NYC. "Reconfirming your contract and its elements every now and then is both a good thing, and keeps you on the vendor's 'front burner'."
5. Know the local lingo
The name and terms used to identify equipment, chairs and other wedding provisions might be different in various geographic regions, notes Jenkins. "For instance, a Chiavari chair is the name of a chair commonly used for many events. While it's called Chiavari in Los Angeles, it's referred to as a 'Bamboo' or 'Tiffany' chair in other regions of the United States."
6. Make things as easy as possible for your guests
Be sure that the travel arrangements, from the airport to the selected venue or hotel, are clearly mapped out and explained to guests, advises Kristin Banta, owner of Kristin Banta Events. "You'll also want to have other activities lined up for your entire guest count, in addition to any ancillary events taking place (i.e. the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch). Never over schedule, but make sure that your guests have some options upon their arrival."