Are you in a long-distance relationship and planning a wedding?
Being in a long distance relationship comes with its own set of unique challenges that many couples in geographically close relationships don’t experience. And when it comes to getting married, these challenges can amplify the anxiety felt during the typically stressful wedding planning stage.
From the logistics involved to setting an appropriate wedding planning timeline, there are so many additional things to figure out and consider when you're not physically in the same place.
But, as you know if you’re in a long distance relationship, where there’s a will there’s a way. With a little (okay a lot of) organization, a dash of creativity, and a shed load of determination, you can weather the storm that is long distance wedding planning and make it to the aisle (relatively) unscathed.
One of the absolute most important things you MUST do when planning your wedding is communicate. After being miles apart for the duration of your relationship, you’ve probably already got this communication thing down. But don’t get too cocky, wedding planning is a whole new ball game.
First, it’s important to discuss expectations and limitations for your wedding. As a long distance couple, you know that you can’t always do the ‘normal’ things that other couples can, so it’s time to discuss that in terms of your wedding. Talk budget, discuss preferences and be realistic about the things that you just can’t do (no matter how much you want to).
And once that initial conversation is done, it’s imperative to keep communicating. Planning a wedding can be one of the most taxing things couples can do. Make sure you have created a safe space for one another to talk about the toll the wedding may be taking on you.
2. Consider a Destination Wedding
Destination weddings can be a godsend for long distance couples for a few reasons. Firstly, you can choose a location between your two locations, making it easier for your guests to get to (assuming your guests live where you do). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, destination weddings, especially those at dedicated wedding venues, often come with a wedding planner. They have connections with local vendors and can organize everything so you don’t have to, saving you time and money.
Depending on where you choose, a destination wedding can often be cheaper than weddings in your hometown.
3. Be Extra Organized
When you don’t have much time together, it’s important to be really organized. You may only have finite time together before the wedding, so make sure you plan your time wisely. Book appointments with relevant vendors and make time for all the necessary things you need to do in advance. When you structure your time to tick wedding tasks off your list you can then enjoy the rest of your time together as a couple.
For long-distance couples, there may even be extra considerations you’ll have to organize in advance. Is your partner from another country? If so, have you done all the necessary paperwork and considered any visas or permits well in advance? Make sure you read all the fine print and get the details sorted so you don't have any surprises on the big day.
4. Have a Pre-Wedding Minimoon
Why not make one of your pre-wedding catch ups a minimoon before the wedding? Take the time to get away (even if it’s just to a hotel down the road) and celebrate the fact that the next time you see one another, you’ll be walking down the aisle.
This can go a long way to helping to subside any pre-wedding stress in the few weeks leading up to the big day.
5. Create a Joint Pinterest Board
Sometimes it’s the little things that count, and knowing you’re on the same page is a little thing that can go a long way in terms of limiting stress. So in that vein, why not create a Pinterest board that you can both add to?
Rather than waiting until you next talk to share an idea, simply add it to your board so your partner can see it right away. It’s a nice way to not only show one another the type of day you’re creating, it also means that you’re collaborating and working together the whole time…and we all need support!
6. Avoid Logistical Nightmares
If your guests are traveling from afar, you need to think about logistics for them too…and make things super simple for them! In your invitations make hotel suggestions and ask for their hotel name on your RSVP. Before they check in, make up welcome packages and drop them off at the hotel. Include information like timings and locations for your rehearsal dinner and the big day, the name and numbers of the Best Man and Maid of Honor (you don’t want people calling you on your wedding day looking for the location!) and you can also put some local area advice in there.
It's also important to think about the logistics for gifts and other wedding related items. Determine where they should be shipped or how they will be transported, especially if you're getting married in an altogether separate location that neither of you lives in.
7. Think About Those Who Can’t Make It
If you’re not getting married in the vicinity of your family, there’s bound to be people who can’t come. It can be heart-wrenching knowing that granny is too frail to travel or your broke sister won’t be able to make it. Sometimes the pressure of your decision to marry at a distance can be hard for certain guests to handle. If this is the case with you, have you considered having another party once you return? This one doesn’t have to be on the scale of your wedding and doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it lets those who couldn’t attend the wedding feel like they’ve been included and it will help solve your internal dilemma.
8. Get Excited For The Future.
Are you going to close the gap once you’re married? If so, use the thoughts of the future to cheer you on whenever planning is getting on top of you. I mean, it’s pretty exciting – you've made it to the finish line and you finally get to live together! Since this is possibly the first time the two of you have lived under the same roof (or even in the same city!) that will make this already exciting time in your lives even more special.
We hope these tips help you navigate the ever-tricky waters of wedding planning in a long-distance relationship. Best of luck!
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.