The Social Connection

Planning a Long Distance Wedding

Planning a wedding requires a lot of hard work. Imagine having to canvass different suppliers, hire them, tell each one what you want to happen and making sure that everything comes together to give you a special once-in-a-lifetime affair. And if this wasn't hard enough, there are couples faced with the challenge of planning their wedding long distance!

Just why do couples abroad go the extra mile to have their wedding in the Philippines? Because there are great and - would you believe - practical reasons why balikbayans and even foreign couples prefer to get married in this beautiful country.

Back Home With Family And Friends
Who would be happier to see you walk down the aisle than your family and friends whom you grew up with? Merely receiving your wedding pictures will never be as fulfilling as actually being with you on your special day. You would also want your fiancé to meet the relatives you grew up with and friends who've dreamt of your wedding day with you.

More Than Your Money's Worth
It is more economical to get married in the Philippines. The foreign exchange rate of US$1 to P52 has brought about the increase in affordability of foreigners or foreign currency earners since they can have the wedding they desire at much lesser cost than if they get married in their foreign place of residence. Filipinos are well aware of the latest trends, and modern amenities are well within reach.

Destination Weddings
One of the latest trends is having a wedding in a new place, somewhere different and away from home. These days, couples leave town not only for the honeymoon but also for a unique and extraordinary wedding in a new environment. The change of atmosphere is a breath of fresh air for couples and guests who will look at their pictures and look back on the day they went to a special place for an even more special affair.

Tropical Wedding
The Philippines is fast becoming popular for its destination weddings because of its warm weather and cozy climate. Couples from the cold Northern countries find that having a wedding in a tropical country is a good alternative.

The country's unique cathedrals, parks, tropical gardens and picturesque beaches are great venues for celebrations; and the region's beautiful tropical flowers are a great plus! Added to that, Filipinos are also known for their creativity and ingenuity and can create wonderful celebrations that you just can't have elsewhere.

Going Back to Roots
A lot of Filipinos residing abroad have vague memories of the Philippines. Some of them left when they were still very young, and still others have not even been to the country where their parents were born and grew up in. It is now time to discover their roots and take pleasure in the great food and culture that the country of their descent has to offer.

Couples from out of town who have decided to hold their wedding in the Philippines find that this novel idea can be easily achieved. The advent of globalization has introduced to us new technology like the Internet, e-mail, scanners, webcams, fax machines and the like making communication with people across the world hassle-free and easily affordable.

To further show an out-of-town couple that getting married in the Philippines is a wonderful idea, one should let them know that, with the following helpful advice, turning this long distance wedding dream can easily become a reality…

Do Your Research
Ask around and use the Internet to get all the information you can about the place you want to get married in. Get in touch with your relatives or friends who just got married or are familiar with the wedding industry. There are also a lot of Philippine wedding sites that have lists of different suppliers and most of them have websites that showcase their services, portfolio and qualifications. Should you need to know more, ask them your specific questions via email or chat. Some of them are friendly enough to help you with suggestions on good locations, helpful tips and latest trends in the city even before you decide to get them.

Based on your research, narrow down the list of suppliers you are interested to get to know more about. You can ask for references and ask about them from people you know who are living in that city.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from your relatives and friends, especially members of your entourage. They are probably just as excited as you are about your wedding. Tell them about your plans and request them to help you with specific duties. For example, you can ask one bridesmaid to coordinate with your florist and photographer and another bridesmaid can take charge of the distribution of invitations. However, it is important that you give them your budget, preferences and specific instructions so that you won't be disappointed with their choice.

Know The Requirements
There are civil and Church requirements that you would need to submit months before the wedding. You may have some of them on hand, but there are others which you might have to apply for. Find out what these requirements are and when they are due.

Visit The Place Before The Wedding
A few months before your set date, plan a visit to your wedding city, but before you leave, make a daily to-do list. Contact the suppliers on your shortlist and make appointments with them so that no time will be wasted. Set one day to visit the photographers and venues you are interested in, another day for your civil requirements. Take a day or two to evaluate suppliers and confirm with them as soon as you decide. Two weeks should be more than enough if you are well organized.

Air and Lodging Reservations
You might have some guests from abroad who will go to your hometown for your wedding. Make reservations or give them a list of local hotels so they can arrange for it themselves. Some airlines and hotels offer discounted rates on block reservations. Try to ask a relative or friend to be a host to your out-of-town guests.

Get the Wedding Package
Most churches, hotels, caterers or party venues offer set packages that include the wedding cake, flowers, mobile and emcee. This would easily cut your work in half and you can move on to planning other aspects of your wedding.

Hire a Wedding Planner
From the planning stage up to the day itself, wedding planners help you with all the details thus lessening your burden. They have already worked with several suppliers so they would know which one best fits your style, preferences and budget. They will arrange appointments with the suppliers for you on your visit and give you recommendations based on quality and rates.

Hiring a coordinator will also lessen the stress as you will only be dealing with one person, as against calling different suppliers every time. However, it is still necessary that you have a trusted relative or close friend who knows your taste and preferences to represent you and sign for you on all the contracts.

Providing you with tables and checklists, coordinators will guide you every step of the way. They also conceptualize the wedding program and, on your wedding day, shall see to it that everything you planned is well implemented.

There's really almost nothing that cannot be planned and prepared from a distance. It would only take careful planning and skillful organization for overseas residents to plan and prepare for their wedding. And with the help of wedding coordinators, couples desiring to get married in the Philippines will be able to get through it hassle-free. Coordinators and event planners make it easy on the brides and grooms by taking on their shoulders the stress and worry of long-distance wedding preparation.

This article was written for MOD Magazine 2002 Special Issue in cooperation with Wedding Expo Philippines 2002.
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