Planning a wedding in one state that is going to take place in another state 1,000 miles away is not easy.
I always knew planning a wedding would be a monumental task. Virtually any bride will tell you there is so much more involved than could ever seem possible (linens and heel heights and fish-or-chicken, oh my!). Add to the mix a distance of about half a dozen states and it gets even more interesting.
When we got engaged, we discussed where we should exchange our vows: our new state of Wisconsin; my home state of Tennessee; his home state of Ohio; our most recent home state, and the state in which we met, North Carolina; or a random state in the continental U.S. that has nothing to do with either of us (Hey, why not? We’re considering so many options as it is!).
Having only recently moved to Wisconsin from North Carolina, we decided it didn’t really make sense to get married here; we have only the newest of friends, acquaintances and coworkers here. Though I grew up in East Tennessee, I really don’t have a hometown there since I lived all over the eastern portion of the state, from Knoxville to Oak Ridge to Crossville. So it didn’t really make sense to marry there. Ohio was a possibility, but it would be far away for many people. The more we thought about it and the more we talked it over, North Carolina really made the most sense. We each lived there for a few years, we met there, I still have family members there (What up to my sister/MOH Rose and my brother/Groomsman James!) and so many of our friends live either there or in neighboring South Carolina. I didn’t realize at the time that making the decision to get married in North Carolina would be the easiest part of the process of getting married there.
Fast forward to now and – though I can’t imagine marrying anywhere else – I have a whole new appreciation for the concept of getting married in the state in which you live. Most of the difficulties of out-of-state planning lie in not getting to meet with vendors in person or see possible venues with my own eyes.
Once we had opted to get married in North Carolina came the all-important decision of where to hold our ceremony. Though I had semi-regularly attended a church I really enjoyed, I never joined and didn’t know the ministers personally. Russ and I attended a couple of different churches a time or two, but we were never regulars at any one place. And it was important for me to be married in a church. I know God can be – and is – anywhere, but I just appreciate the idea of cementing our union within the walls of a place that is holy. So the search for the perfect church commenced.
Unfortunately, many churches have strict regulations about who can be married within their facilities, requiring either a general affiliation with a religion or denomination or, more specifically, a membership there. It proved difficult to find a church that embraced non-members and seemed welcoming of any couple who wished to be married there. Thankfully, many web searches and phone calls later, we found just that. Likewise, after lots of surfing the web and e-mails and phone calls, we found an equally perfect reception venue just a few blocks away.
The hardest/saddest part for me was having to rely on pictures to make the decision to go with these spaces for our big day. My wonderful sister acted as my eyes and ears and met with the points of contact at the church and the reception venue, and she provided pictures and detailed accounts – which included a great deal of praise for the sites – but it was still somewhat bittersweet. It was so wonderful to find such perfect places, but it was strange knowing I couldn’t see, touch and smell them myself and probably wouldn’t until the wedding day or shortly before.
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