One of the most common reasons for having a wedding at a distance is simply a matter of geography; some brides want to choose a ceremony and reception in a far-flung location, that could be the other end of the country, or it could be a tropical beach on the other side of the world.
A foreign wedding destination seems like an obvious candidate for some serious distance planning but even a wedding that is three or four hours’ drive away can cause some logistical headaches. Here’s how to plan your perfect wedding day from a distance.
- Do your research before you choose the location, there are plenty of social media sites and online forums where you can find out information from people who have married there before you – don’t just rely on the venue’s advertising or promotional literature which will always tell you what you want to hear. Some weddings are at a distance because of a connection with either the bride or groom but a lot of locations are chosen almost randomly so do your homework and most importantly, be honest about the type of wedding day you both want to have
- Consider a destination location where the venue will take care of absolutely all the detail for you plus you know they have done it countless times before
- Spend time thinking about your decision and don’t make impulse bookings – that snowy Scottish castle might look the part in the pictures, but can everyone get there in bad weather, it’s easy to get carried away and excited when you are planning a wedding
- Visit the location and the venue several times – that can get expensive if you intend to marry abroad – and always visit at the time of year you want to marry if weather is likely to be a key feature
- Hire a professional wedding planner, it can be helpful to have one based near your chosen location and if you are marrying abroad, this can be essential. Most resort packages for foreign weddings will include the services of a wedding planner or organiser as it can sometimes be tricky to negotiate with suppliers without local knowledge and there could also be a language barrier. Destination weddings will know the local scene and have a bank of tried and trusted suppliers they use all the time
- If you are short of time and there is a lot to do, allocate some specific standalone tasks to different family members or friends especially if they live near the wedding location. It’s a great way to involve people in the organisation of the wedding and make them feel included and special
- If you are visiting the wedding location and it is a long way away, try and set up meetings so you can meet with as many of the suppliers as possible on site or nearby on the occasions that you visit
- Consider purchasing your wedding rings and dress in the vicinity, likewise with other services like the flowers and the cake otherwise you will be faced with having to transport these yourself or pay for them to be transported. So much can be achieved over Zoom or Skype when it comes to talking to people and looking at physical items. It might seem easier initially to organise everything in your own locality but it can become a logistical nightmare later on to transport fragile items like the cake over long distances
- If the groomsmen are scattered in different locations then use a national chain for formal clothing hire so each individual can pop into a branch that is convenient to where they live
- Accommodation for the bridal party and the guests must be arranged well ahead especially if you have chosen a destination that is popular with holidaymakers and you are marrying in the spring or summer. Some holiday accommodation can be booked up over a year ahead
- Use a wedding website if you need to regularly convey information to your guests, like links to accommodation in the locality of the wedding venue, travel arrangements or any other key data like visa requirements if you are marrying abroad. A wedding website can help organise your guests as well as the bride and groom
- Use a credit card to make deposit and final payments for goods and services particularly if they are outside the UK – you will have greater protection against companies and suppliers who don’t deliver if you need to seek a refund
- Plan to travel to the wedding venue a few days before the wedding day as this is a chance to be on site and tie up loose ends for yourself, arriving the day beforehand is never a good idea unless you have complete trust in your wedding planner
Some brides find that planning a wedding at a distance is actually much less stressful because it allows a psychological and emotional distance from all the stress and worry by virtue of the physical separation.
If you marry at a distance or choose to say ‘I do’ abroad, then there will always be a percentage of people who won’t be able to travel either due to finance or logistics. Buying an outfit and a present and paying for overnight accommodation can make a wedding an expensive weekend, especially for a family. Some brides who want an exotic beach wedding will marry with just a few people in attendance and then throw a big party when they return home. You will still need to organise yourself properly with a wedding at a distance but it makes it cheaper for everyone else if you save the wedding party until you come home and it will make your job easier as well as there will be less to organise for the day itself with fewer guests.