The love of my life proposed to me
on December 19, 2012. Three weeks later, he returned to San Diego where he is stationed in the U.S. Navy. After a couple months of a Minnesota-California relationship, he went on a seven month deployment. At first, having a wedding to plan
while my fiancé was on deployment didn’t seem so bad. I figured it would keep me busy and make the deployment go by faster. We discovered, however, that there were a few more challenges than we thought there would be when planning a wedding while maintaining a long-distance relationship. In today’s society, military couples
are not the only ones who face wedding planning in long-distance relationships. Many more couples are meeting online and may have started their relationship long-distance. Whether you start off long-distance or experience it during your engagement, we thought we would shed some light on how to survive planning a wedding while apart from your fiancé.
Photo courtesy of Linley Schmit Photography
Plan ahead to plan together.
As soon as we got engaged, we decided on which parts of our wedding checklist were important for us to do together. The first one was obvious, engagement pictures! We didn’t want to skip them, so we ended up finding a photographer and having our shoot done within a week of getting engaged. The second one was developing our registry. We made sure we made time to shop our registry locations together on one of my brief visits to California.
Keep feedback balanced.
When one of you is planning a wedding from a distance, it can be difficult to be active in decisions on the wedding checklist. For example, when we were searching for our perfect venue, Joe wasn’t able to see the space and meet with the coordinator. Even when I tried to explain it and show him pictures, it still wasn’t the same as seeing it in person. So we made sure Joe shared his preferences of venue features, and I made sure those features where present in the venues I looked at.
I said, "Yes," to the dress at the Wedding Shoppe!
Be prepared to have support.
I found it challenging to not have Joe in the Twin Cities for appointments with vendors and cake/catering taste testing. At first I felt bad inconveniencing my family or bridesmaids to come with me, but I soon realized that they were more than willing to be supportive. In fact, they enjoyed the additional involvement in the planning process.
Avoid placing blame on the situation.
If long-distance relationships were not stressful enough (especially in military circumstances), planning the biggest day of your life on top of it all may result in some pretty rough days. I personally struggled some days with being extremely proud of Joe and at the same time feeling resentful that his career separated us during such a special time in our lives. Regardless of the situation, it is important to continue to support and encourage one another in your individual paths and continue to look forward to your future together.
Don’t let planning a wedding consume your communication.
Compared to deployment, our California-Minnesota relationship was a breeze! I didn’t quite realize the luxuries of phone calls, text messages, and Skype until those luxuries went away for seven months of deployment. For seven months we were limited to emails and occasional 10-15 minute phone calls. Although I always had a lot of items on our wedding checklist to discuss, we learned it was extremely important during times of infrequent communication to put them aside and make time to just talk to each other.
The big day is about to arrive.
Joe has now returned to California, home safe and sound from deployment! Here is a picture of his homecoming taken just a few weeks ago on October 29, 2013. Our wedding is just six weeks away and we feel confident in completing the tasks on our wedding checklist that we have left, and we can’t wait until our big day!
Are you planning a wedding while in a long-distance relationship? Share your struggles and tips with brides just like you below!