Across State Lines: A Guide to Planning Your Out-of-State Wedding
It's not quite a destination wedding, not quite at home, if you are a couple that is planning a wedding that crosses state lines (or provinces for my Canadian friends). Good thing your wedding gal Lynea has got you covered! Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind!
1. Be prepared to do LOTS of research: Search the local (to your wedding location) Facebook groups, ask friends or family that live in that area if they have any recommendations, and be sure to read reviews and compare prices to find the best options. Ultimately, Google your brains out! Do not just look at the first options that pop up, keep scrolling all the way down. Use different search terms, for example, Wedding Makeup, Wedding makeup artist, MUA, you may be surprised that different results do often show up with different search terms. If you do not feel you will have time to search different vendors lean into tip #3 and #4.
2. Use video: It is not always possible to visit the location where you want to get married or meet with vendors in person prior to your big day. If you are not able to, I highly recommend using Facetime or Zoom for all meetings. This will help you get a better idea of what to expect, read people's energy and vibes, and picture how the day may look. Speaking of pictures, ask the vendors to also send through pictures of their work or the venue for you to keep on hand. Lastly, if you do have family or friends in the area, you may want to ask them to tour venues or different areas for their perspective.
3. Referrals and Venue Preferred Vendors: After many hours of searching you have finally found a vendor you like and align with, wohoo celebrate only a handful left to go.... I recommend asking them for vendor recommendations and referrals! Not only will it be other vendors they are comfortable working with but will also likely vibe with your style. A win-win! Additionally, venue preferred vendors will have experience setting up, navigating and working in your specific venue.
4. Hire a wedding planner or DOC: A wedding planner can help you navigate the local wedding market and recommend vendors that are reputable and reliable. Ive said it once, ill say it again wedding planning takes on average 200-500 hours... and you can expect a little more if you are planning a semi-destination wedding. Not everyone has that kind of extra time laying around, especially if they also want to sleep, eat and fit in a little TLC. A partial planner or full planner can often help you with navigating vendors, waiting on hold, and searching all the reviews so you do not have to!
5. Communicate with your guests: If most or some of your guests are coming from out of town, it can be helpful to provide them with the information they need to plan their trip as well as some general expectations. This includes travel information, hotel recommendations, and things to do in the area. Include this information on the invitation or your wedding website! It is a great place to refer people when or if they start asking you and your partner questions about where to stay, where to eat, and where to go!
6. Plan for unexpected expenses: When planning an out-of-state wedding, there may be unexpected expenses that are not acounted for in typical wedding planning. These costs include travel costs for the bride and groom to and from the location, accomidation for the bride and groom, extra shipping fees for decor or supplies, and . Make sure to budget for these additional expenses.
7. Be flexible: Planning an out-of-state wedding may require more flexibility than planning a local wedding. You may need to be open to different dates, vendors, and details to make it work. There may be different timelines and a lot of extra "back and forth" that you may not have with local locations. Do not get me wrong, you by no means. have to "settle" for anything you do not want, however you may need to embody a bit of extra flexibility wiht scheduling and wait times.
8. Give yourself and your guests extra time: Planning an out-of-state wedding can take longer than planning a local wedding. Give yourself extra time to research vendors, plan logistics, and make arrangements for out-of-town guests. It is also often helpful to send Save the Dates and Invitations earlier than you would for a local wedding, this allows your guests to budget, request time off, and ensure that they will be able to book accommodations (especially in popular tourist areas).
9. Time zone curfuffles: Friendly reminder, if you are booking meetings with vendors in another state be sure to verify times according to time zones! Or else you may end up with one person logging onto Zoom at 1 pm Eastern time and another person logging in at 1 pm Pacific time.
10. Plan the days leading up to your wedding: You will likely have more tasks that you are unable to put together until you get to your destination, especially if you are DIYing some of the items! By scheduling the days prior to it will help ensure you have time allotted for each of the tasks and still have some R&R time.