Out-of-State wedding couple

While a lot of engagements happen in Provo, not all of the weddings do! A lot of couples that aren’t native to Utah decide to get married out-of-state. And because those couples are residing in Provo, for school or work, planning becomes a bit of a struggle. How can you make sure your vision is executed from across the country?

Maroon color scheme at Arizona wedding

Holly Hamilton, a certified wedding consultant, has some experience with not only general wedding planning, but was also was an out-of-state bride! Holly was a recreation management major at BYU, so planning events is kind of her thing. When it came time for her to plan her Virginia wedding, she wanted to be as involved as she could. In fact, she wishes she could have been more involved! But the distance and B.S.P time period (Before Smart Phone) made it more than a little difficult, so Holly had some surprises (not the good kind) on her wedding day.

“My dad put fruit loops on the table,” she said. Yes, fruit loops! In a nice soup tureen on the food table. “I was embarrassed because my dad had fruit loops on the table, as a joke, and people thought it was for real.” There were also supposed to be freezer pops sitting in champagne buckets, but someone forgot about the pops so there were empty champagne buckets sitting around. Which wouldn’t have happened if Holly had been in VA during the planning process.

Beautiful bride and groom in Gilbert, AZRachel planned her out-of-state wedding from Provo, UT

For Rachel Phipps (who just got married last month and whose gorgeous wedding pictures are featured in this post!) planning an out-of-state wedding from Provo while going to school at BYU also had its drawbacks. Rachel married her sweetheart in  her hometown of Gilbert, AZ. While she and her mom made a great long-distance team, there were still a few things that might have been different if Rachel had been in Gilbert during the entire planning process.

While she thought the decorations at her reception turned out great, she did admit that “if I had been there, there would have been a little bit more to it.”

Rachel and Marcus formals

“You can send pictures but that doesn’t give you the full effect,” Rachel said. “You’re not there to see the progress.” And that’s what it boils down to; depending on someone else to execute your vision for your wedding doesn’t always turn out perfectly.

“It’s hard because when other people are doing most of the groundwork, it’s hard to have a say,” Holly said. “You have a say, but you’re not there to make the final decision.” We’ve taken Holly and Rachel’s experience with out-of-state wedding planning and their advice and narrowed it down to four comprehensive tips for you to absorb.

The groom wore maroon! Beautiful bridals of Rachel

1. Hire a Wedding Planner

Ok, you don’t have to hire a pro, but here’s the argument for why you should. Want fruit loops on your buffet table? Didn’t think so! A wedding planner’s JOB is to make sure your wedding turns out exactly how you want it. Whereas another family member or friend might have their own agenda and opinions – and they’re making all the decisions regarding the wedding back home, so doesn’t that give you a little anxiety?

“You don’t want to just call up a bakery you find on a list somewhere,” Holly said, “or let Aunt Zelda make your cake, that you’ve never tried before.” Wedding planners have connections throughout the wedding business and event planning knowledge to make your life so much easier. You don’t have to research local photographers for eight hours because that is literally what a wedding planner is there for. Just think of all that time and stress you’ll save!

2. Do Everything You Can Locally

Rachel bought her dress in Arizona, and was only able to fly home once for fittings.

“If I could do it again, I would have gotten my dress in Utah, so I could have had more fittings,” she said. The sense of security that comes from knowing your dress fits well and matches your accessories is another way to eliminate stress. Buy everything you can locally: shoes, veil, jewelry, groom’s outfit. Even engagements and bridals!

Rachel and Holly both had their invitations made locally. Rachel used Utah Announcements to create hers and the invitations became one of the things she loved most about her wedding!

Arizona wedding featuring palm frondsDress in the wind action

3. Take Advantage of Technology

“There’s less surprises that you run into with technology,” Holly said. “You can go to a venue through FaceTime, and you don’t have to do it so blindly like I had to.” Phones and Wi-Fi can be such great tools when it comes to planning weddings! There are sites like Asana that can be used to assign tasks to everyone involved in the wedding, keeping everything neatly organized in a checklist that multiple people can view.

The old-school version of Pinterest used to be cutting and pasting (literally) pictures from bridal magazines onto paper to show your florist or wedding planner. Pinterest is an easy way to search for inspiration, so feel free to start perusing our beautifully curated boards.

A word of caution: don’t let the ease of technology make you lazy. It’s easy for misunderstandings to occur over email or text, so make sure you’re as clear as possible about your vision when using these platforms!

We think Rachel put it well when she said, “Communication is really important because if you’re not communicating things fall through the cracks.”

4. Don’t Underestimate Travel

When Holly flew home, days before her wedding, she was forced to carry her dress onto the plane and stuffed it into an overhead compartment. Her wedding dress! Make appropriate arrangements for getting your wedding attire home. If you’re shipping it, give it lots of extra time to arrive.

“Prevent flying in the day before your wedding,” Holly advised. “Traveling just makes you exhausted, and you try to fit so much into a short amount of time and you don’t get to enjoy it as much.” And then there’s always the chance your flight will be delayed and you’ll miss your own wedding!

Gorgeous still of Rachel and Marcus in front of Gilbert, AZ Temple

Tell us about your out-of-state wedding and the planning process! What advice do you have for brides in the same boat?

Rachel’s lovely photos were captured by The Copper Creative.

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