Imagine taking your vows barefoot on the beach on Martha’s Vineyard. Or dancing your first dance by moonlight beneath olive trees at a Tuscan villa. Or exchanging your first official kiss as husband and wife in the town where you grew up. For many engaged couples, the very idea of a wedding is linked to a particular location that’s far from where they live right now. But before committing to planning a wedding at a distance, consider this: You will sacrifice some control over the details. You can’t taste the hors d’oeuvres four times, for example, or try out three different centerpieces to see how they will look at the reception site. Whether or not you’ll enjoy the experience of long-distance planning depends largely on your personality; if you’re meticulous and detail-oriented, it may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy delegating (and being surprised), what you stand to gain is the sense of being truly transported to another world for your wedding.
You may think you’ve already found the perfect spot for your wedding, but before booking anything, do your homework. Talk to newly married friends, even borrow their planning books, so that you have a sense of what things will cost you and what is involved; no one understands the complexity of a wedding as well as someone who has just been through one. When you’re establishing your budget, be sure to add transportation to your destination, including at least one trip before the wedding; hotel accommodations; and expenses for a band, photographer, or officiant if you choose to bring any of them with you. If your budget is tight, consider being flexible about your wedding date; you might have avoided January and February, but these months are a great time for island weddings, and elsewhere they are considered off-season, so rates of coordinators and most vendors are discounted as much as 20 percent.
After working out a budget, establish a very clear idea of what you want the day to be. Tear out magazine pictures of dresses, cakes, receptions, and flowers, and keep them in a folder. When you can’t meet with vendors in person, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
Read more at Marthastewartweddings.com: Planning Long Distance