How to Plan A Wedding: A Guide for Long-Distance Couples
Whether you’re planning your wedding while your significant other is living in another city or state or even another country or planning your wedding while your spouse is overseas serving in the military, this guide is for you.
There are so many elements involved in the planning of a wedding or large event, and when it comes to planning your special day together while living long-distance, there are a few things to keep in mind as you make plans.
Planning a Wedding Long Distance is Possible! Here’s What You Need to Know
Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting numerous couples who planned their special day without the benefit of seeing one another often throughout the process, and the good news is that it is absolutely possible to have the wedding of your dreams even while planning apart.
Our experience has also taught us, however, that if you do these things, you are more likely to enjoy a smoother planning process and may save yourself some additional stress. Here are our recommendations for planning a wedding for long-distance couples.
Tip #1: Hire a Wedding Coordinator or Take Advantage of In-House Venue Coordinators
It’s not uncommon for brides today to begin planning their wedding without ever considering hiring a wedding coordinator, and we understand. For many of us, our mothers and grandmothers planned weddings with the help of friends and family and enjoyed their special day. Many brides may also be hesitant to add one more expense in their budget when the cost of a venue, photographer, caterer, apparel, etc. add up.
Advantages of Hiring a Wedding Coordinator
Here’s the thing. A wedding coordinator will save your life on your special day. Because for every exciting thing that you have an opportunity to partake in when it comes to planning a wedding - like cake tasting, venue tours, etc. - there will be several things you cannot plan for or even expect.
A wedding coordinator is your lifeguard, your personal coach, your guide, and your biggest cheerleader all in one.
We simply cannot say enough how important it is to have a coordinator on your side throughout the process. If you’re planning a long-distance wedding or planning while apart, a coordinator can be even more beneficial.
A wedding coordinator can help you understand next steps in the planning process and even handle major and minor details if you don’t have the time or capacity. On your special day, if something doesn’t go as planned, your wedding coordinator can both ensure there’s a backup plan and ensure you can enjoy your reception and guests while she puts out any fires.
In-House Wedding Coordinators vs. Traditional Wedding Coordinators
Several wedding venues, including Heartwood Hall and Cedar Hall, offer in-house wedding coordinators for every bride. For our brides, the cost of the wedding coordinator is already included in the venue fee because we care so strongly about offering assistance to every bride in the planning of a big event without the need to budget an additional expense into their budget.
If the venue of your choice offers in-house wedding coordination, we recommend taking advantage of this. An in-house wedding coordinator has experience planning hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings at this particular venue. Our Memphis-based wedding coordinators have decades of combined experience, and their services have saved more than a handful of events from unexpected hiccups.
What to Expect From a Wedding Coordinator
Our wedding coordinators work hard to ensure our brides have a resource for any number of questions, concerns, and decisions. Wedding coordinators can:
Meet with vendors with or on behalf of the bride and groom
Negotiate contracts and schedules with vendors before, during, and after the event
Assist the bride and groom with planning for decor, catering and menu options, photography and videography, etc.
Coordinate the reception timeline so guests and the wedding party can enjoy the special day without needing to delegate coordination to a friend or family member
Ensure every member of the wedding party and the catering and photography staff is where they need to be when they need to be there to ensure the event runs smoothly and stays on schedule
Helps with preventing or addressing last-minute hiccups or emergencies
Ensure everything is in its proper place - utensils available to cut the cake for example, so a friend or family member doesn't have to track one down
What to Expect From a Wedding Coordinator
As a heads up, here are a few things your wedding coordinator won’t be able to assist with.
Setup or removal of decor (although they can recommend vendors who can do so)
Cut and serve your wedding cake (wait staff are available for hire at our venues)
Scheduling transport for guests to and from the venue
Tip #2: Choose an “All-Inclusive” Venue or Venue which Offers Catering In-House
If you’re planning a wedding with a significant other who is long-distance, choosing a venue that offers in-house catering options is one of the easiest ways to minimize the number of decisions to make and to therefore minimize the amount of stress and planning you’ll have to handle.
You won’t have to serve as a go-between for your venue and your caterer since they can communicate internally.
The number of decisions you’ll have to make and the time spent making them will be minimized because in-house catering experts are able to coordinate, advise, and consult and offer you an option that suits you without the need for you to plan from scratch.
When it comes to planning when you’re unable to communicate often, minimizing the number of decisions you have to make is so, so beneficial.
Tip #3: Consider Your Guests
If your guests will be traveling long distances or from overseas to your event, you may need to be more intentional about sharing information on location, timelines, expectations, etc. A few ways our brides have managed to provide detailed information in a creative way include:
Creating an “information guide” with:
Places to Stay & Play (if plans are not already made for guests in advance)
Adding an illustrated map to the invitation or information guide
Hiring a freelance consultant or wedding planner to strictly handle transportation and accommodations for guests, especially if several guests will need to have transportation to and from the airport arranged
Choosing party favors that are locally-made or which have a local theme to invite them into your culture, family, region
Tip #4: Enjoy the Process
We’ve shared some of our tips for making the most of the wedding planning process when your love is living long distance, but there’s a final piece of advice we share with every bride and groom - enjoy the process.
Planning an event can be stressful, especially when budgets, timelines, and so many other details are involved, but try to keep in mind that this is your special day. Taking care to choose details knowing you’ll be able to enjoy them with your guests as you and your beloved dedicate your lives to one another makes the minor details much easier to navigate.