One of the first adventures Mark and I ever talked about taking was to the Inca Trail. We’d both always wanted to see Machu Picchu, and the trail made it feel like some untouched, unreachable place (even though these days it’s anything but). Once, early on, Mark even brought me a magazine with a picture of Machu Picchu on the front just because we’d talked about it so much. We promised each other that someday, we’d go.
For our honeymoon, we wanted to do something we’d never forget, and when we thought about it, we realized that some of our most amazing trips together have also been our biggest adventures. So in the end, after considering a ton of different possibilities, we decided that we’d head to Peru, where we could not just relax, but also tackle a bucket list trek.
It’s not everyone’s idea of the perfect honeymoon… but for us, it couldn’t have been better.
When I tell people that my wedding is on the other side of the country, the first question they always ask is, “How the !!?# did you plan from here?” And I’m not gonna say it was easy, but here are a few things I did that made the process of planning from afar a whole lot easier…
1 // Get a coordinator. Oh my lord get a coordinator. You don’t have to go all the way, you can just get a day of, but having someone on the ground will make a world of difference. A coordinator can answer questions and provide recommendations for anything from the most kickass band to the place you want to have your dress steamed when you get into town. Most importantly, just knowing you have that person backing you up will relieve a boatload of stress.
2 // Research, research, research. If you can, use yelp. And scour the vendor guides of your favorite blogs like a crazy person. I’m telling you, I can still rattle off who is and is not included in Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book… and whether they also appear on Green Wedding Shoes and Once Wed. It’s a sickness.
If you’re going overseas use a reputable guide that you trust, like Frommers or Lonely Planet. We depended on these heavily on these for our honeymoon.
3 // Check out the average wedding cost where you’re headed… is it the highest in the country? The lowest? The truth might not change your mind, but it’s a good thing to know going in.
4 // Use Skype. There is literally nothing better for planning from out of town. You can still meet every one of your vendors face to face.
5 // If you can, take one trip there before the wedding. Hopefully you already know enough about the venue so that you don’t need to go early on in planning (if you don’t, I really recommend two trips. Don’t book a venue sight unseen… you never know what little surprises might pop up, and you don’t want to discover them after it’s too late).
On your main trip, try your food, cake, meet with your coordinator and officiant and, if you have time, get your engagement shots taken. Rentals, lights, and little details are easy to book from afar.
6 // Relax. This is a destination wedding, and I imagine that one of the reasons you chose this whole deal is that the place is beautiful… right? So here’s the thing. That beautiful place? It counts as big fat chunk of your decor. You might not be able to carry or ship quite as many little details as you’d like, but even with the most minimal personalization, your location will shine – and I’m pretty sure it will beat a 50′ long crepe paper garland any day of the week.
Trust that your wedding will be beautiful and special and yours.
And if there is any little piece of you that doubts me, watch this.
Lately, my brain has taken to spontaneous combustion. I’ve forgotten the date, the time, what it is I’m even talking about in the middle of a sentence… at this point I think it’s safe to say that wedding brain has taken over.
The thing is that it’s not just a wedding I have to prepare for, it’s also the fact that I’m about to leave… for 3 weeks… right in the middle of a busy political season (to put it lightly) and right in the middle of the holidays…
So, that said, this morning I thought it was Tuesday.
But I suppose my recent bout of forgetfulness just emphasizes how badly I need a night out… and tonight I’m planning to do just that. My maid of honor has the whole evening planned and I can’t tell you how fantastic it feels to just be along for the ride. Whatever the stress that comes with these final few weeks I have to say… the one thing I’m feeling more than anything is thankful that I have such amazing people in my life.
We’ve tried hard to make it clear that the best gift our friends and family can give us is just to be there for us on our day (since just that will require almost all of them to travel, and we know that’s a lot) but we decided to set up a registry for anyone who might insist.
We’ve been adding to the collection over time, working slowly and throwing in a few things we need and a few that we’d just love to have. When it turned out a lot of our dishes were cracking, we added some pretty new bowls. When we ran out of candles, we realized it couldn’t hurt to add a few to the list. It’s been a really easy way to tackle the big project that a wedding registry can become… and it’s worked out really well for us. There are so many things to think about it the last few months of wedding planning that I’m thanking my stars we were able to get this one out of the way early and a little at a time.
1 // Learning that one of my very best friends (who has had a crazy amazing busy year and I am so so proud of her — so I totally understood when she said she wouldn’t be able to make it) just bought a ticket to come to our wedding.
Throughout this wedding planning process, I’ve spoken a lot about budgetary stress.
Of all the stress that accompanies the planning of a wedding (a ton) this is the thing that has hit me the hardest. I can try to rationalize it a million different ways, but the reality is that we are getting ourselves into a hefty chunk of debt, for a day… and something about that is deeply hard for me to swallow.
I often talk about my student loan debt (because it kind of blows my mind) and when I do I always express my regret that someone did not take me aside and explain — truly explain — what I was doing when I signed over the next 30 years of my life at just 21.
I have always been, and will always be, a list maker.
My little notes app on my iPhone is full of them… with duplicates and additions in my Things organizer and my task list in gmail (as I write this I am ever more aware of the need to consolidate).
But with this wedding upcoming, I fear lists may be taking over my life… just a little.
It’s August. This is supposed to be my time to catch up… but no such luck.
It’s like they’re waiting for me around every corner, ready to pounce… with a million little unchecked items.
And they are ever. expanding.
So my goal for the rest of this month is to keep up with my lists. Not eliminate, just keep up… because that, my friend, is a whole task of its own.
I’m looking to check a few big ticket items off by Labor Day, and I’m looking to be satisfied when I do… because sometimes, you just can’t shoot for it all… you have to be able to find happiness in enough.
In fact, maybe I should try to find happiness in enough a little more often.
How about you? Do you keep lists? And how do you keep it all in line if you don’t?
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