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Planning an out of State Wedding or Destination Wedding :: Bride to Bride :: New Jersey Wedding Photographer

Planning an out of state wedding is a task that many brides are daring to do these days! Guess who else did this? ME!! I planned my NYC wedding all on my own all the way from Texas. I had never seen nor been to New York. I researched a lot, booked everything online, asked trusted friends for advice and send everything we would need for the wedding to NYC a week ahead of time. And it worked out just fine. Brides have more access to ideas, people and the internet! You can do just about anything you want! We are so glad Taren is sharing her thoughts and lessons on creating her dream wedding with many miles between her and her wedding venue! Enjoy and THANK YOU!!

xx, Leaha


Dear Bride,

My husband and I met while attending Kansas State University (Go, Cats!), and when he proposed, I was still living in sweet little Manhattan, KS. The thing was, he was living in Florida while in training at Tyndall AFB, and the wedding was to be in Texas where I’m from! Talk about a potential planning nightmare! Let’s get real for a second. I am not a very organized person. I wouldn’t call myself UN-organized, but I was so not one of those ‘make-a 60-point-planning-checklist –organized-by-month-leading-up-to-the wedding’ kind of brides.  So, I’m not going to be giving you any advice regarding checklists. They just don’t work all that well for me. I think it stresses me out more to see a gargantuan list of things I haven’t done yet!

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Anise of Beaux Arts Photography LLC

There are several things I recommend you do in person and on site when it comes to planning. Make a special trip to the State in which you plan on getting married and make mandatory meetings while visiting. Here are some of my planning tips:

Visit ceremony/reception sites

This is important so that you can really do your best to visualize how things will work for you on your day. I got lucky in that my lieutenant and I had a long engagement (almost a year and a half!), so I had time to make a few trips to TX to do some things.  The first venue I visited ended up being the one I chose! There’s another point of advice I have…some people may tell you to make sure you visit several venues so you’ll know for sure. I say, if you like the first one, can see your day happening there, and feel comfortable, stop your search! Don’t make it harder on yourself than it needs to be! Also, venues get scooped up quickly and you don’t want to lose your dream location. We were married at The Orchard.

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Anise of Beaux Arts Photography LLC

Try the Food

Eat some food from the place where you are thinking of using as your caterer. Just to be sure because food is important. Your guests will surely appreciate the food and it’s a nice way to say “thank you” for joining us on our special day.


Meet Vendors in Person

Try to meet videographers/DJs/florists in person so you can talk to them about your vision and see their work. It can be done without meeting in person, but it’s very helpful to really get to dig into their brains a little, and as we all know, sometimes tone and attitude isn’t conveyed accurately in emails/texts/Facebook chats! I met with my DJ and florist before committing, but I chose a photographer based on his website and seeing examples of his work there. That’s a little more difficult to do with a DJ unless you’ve been able to attend an event where they were at work.

So, like I said, I was lucky in that I had time to make a couple trips to TX and get these things done in person. It isn’t impossible to book these vendors without meeting, but it will put you more at ease. Lord knows brides need to take every opportunity possible to be a little more at ease.


Being Thrifty and Creative with Gifts

As for the decorations and gifts for parents and wedding party, I used Etsy for ideas! Some things I knew I could do myself (I’m a little DIY oriented, but I know my abilities are limited!) and bought some things I couldn’t. I also enlisted the help of my bridesmaids, because among them they have many talents! My friend is an awesome doodler and drew a coloring book for kiddos attending the wedding. Another friend is a master organizer.  And one was amazing with speaking reason to me when I got frazzled. It’s always important to have THAT friend!

Speaking of Etsy, here’s another bit of advice: use resources like Etsy and Pinterest, but don’t feel like you have to do everything you see and think is awesome. It probably is awesome, but you can’t do it all! And, don’t feel bad if you don’t think your wedding will measure up to the weddings of Pinterest. Your wedding doesn’t have to be perfect, innovative, crazy-creative, and ground-breaking, but it does have to be YOU! Don’t let others make you feel inferior because you didn’t think of this idea or that idea yourself!

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Anise of Beaux Arts Photography LLC

Enlist Family and Friends to Help

As my last piece of advice for planning a wedding from a distance, I suggest finding someone in the area in which you plan to get married who you trust and is willing to help. The most valuable resource I had was my stepmom, who lives in Texas. She met with vendors, drove around town finding things, and helped organize things when I couldn’t be there.  Having her as my Texas link was more helpful than I can even say.

Planning from a distance can be stressful, because you may feel so disconnected from everything. This may be the only time in your life when people are more than willing to help, so let them! I’m not saying use them shamelessly, but don’t be afraid to enlist the help of people who love you. Make sure to thank them humbly and graciously afterward (and during!) Those who love you will understand your desire for your wedding to be wonderful and will want to help make that happen.

Most of all, whether you are planning from a distance, planning right there at home, or eloping…enjoy this time.  Try to step back now and then from the stressful craziness and soak in the fact that you are planning for a day that starts an incredibly exciting chapter in your life! I look back at pictures and video of our wedding and miss that day! Not because it was all about me, but because I got to enjoy so many friends and family on that day and the time leading up to it. Everyone is just so joyful and optimistic, and that’s not something you get every day.

Good luck, bride, and savor every moment you get to call your love, your fiancé!

From bride to bride,

Mrs. Lieutenant K

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Photo Courtesy of Sam Anise of Beaux Arts Photography LLC


Wedding Vendors


DJ:  Aaron Kannowski of UPTOWN SOUND 

Videographers: James Trawick and Brad Hughes of Atonement Entertainment

Florist: Sami Volcansek from The Enchanted Florist


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