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Written by Susan Legare, Moments That Shinewww.momentsthatshine.com

So you've decided to get married in a city you don't live in.

Maybe it's because you've opted for a destination wedding or maybe it's as simple as you want to say your nuptials where you grew up. Either way, your planning just became a bit different than the average bride's. Fear not! Whether you live as little as an hour car ride or as much as twenty hours by flight, help is as easy as a phone call (or email). Finding a planner in the city you're having your wedding is the best investment you could make for such an important day. And I'm here to give you a few reasons ways in which we can help!

People in the Right Places - A planner will have a wealth of contacts at their fingertips. This is essential when you're needing help finding your venue, trying to determine which vendors are credible and discovering the type of vendor that will suit your style best. Rather than looking at website after website and making a plethora of long-distance calls, use the knowledge of a professional. It'll save a lot of heartache!

Time Knowledge is King - If you've never organized a wedding being held in another city before, you're going to need some advice. Not only do things take time - they may take extra time for you now. Churning out a realistic timeline is something planners are used to and can do with ease. I also offer my clients detailed, personalized schedules for the actual day for whomever they believe will benefit from such a tool.

License & Registration, Please - Weddings may seem like all ribbons & flowers but there's a lot of paperwork you're going to need to look into. Do you have to obtain a liquor license? What are the regulations for a marriage license in the Bahamas? A local planner will be able to take care of some of this for you and advise you of anything you have to be present to obtain. Currency is also an issue. You're going to need to know the rate exchange and even taxes. It isn't very romantic but this is one aspect that cannot be overlooked.

All In! - All-in-one deals can save a lot of stress & time. If you feel confident in your planner or coordinator, they can look for a venue that offers this kind of package. Look how you're flying along in the process now!

Communications Whiz - When planning a wedding for a Canadian couple who were teaching overseas, I made sure everyone was in constant contact . I sent them photos as much as possible. This helped keep their minds at ease in that things were being looked after and kept on schedule. Planners can easily keep you in contact with your vendors via emails and photos. Personally I like to make sure everyone is kept in the loop so if there are friends & family in my area, I'm more than happy to meet up with them and even bring them along to meetings!

Customs, Directions & Welcoming - I've lumped all three into one category because they're somewhat the same . hospitality. If you're interested in any local customs (or maybe myths), a planner can brief you. For example, did you know the Maori from New Zealand greet one another by touching noses? That one's actually true!

Of course, proper directions in your destination city are a must as well. Having maps from a local are a much better route than grabbing them from Google (no offense Google gurus).

And on the topic of welcoming guests, a planner can have pre-made goodies waiting for them in their hotel rooms. It will look like you arrived early to place that personal touch on their doorstep.

Of course there are many other reasons why a local planner will become your best friend during your happy occasion but to hear them, you would likely be best to hire yourself someone! When narrowing down your search you still have some basic rules to follow. Have meetings with at least three planners (the phone works just as well as in person!), get references from each of them and most importantly, hire the one you click with the most. It also doesn't hurt to check them out with their local Better Business Bureau. Many people will ask for a dollar figure before anything else and won't even bother meeting up with someone they deem as too expensive. Huge mistake. Working alongside a person sharing the same mentality about life and your wedding is the single most important factor in a planner. You're going to be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure you get along! And planners are creative! They should be able to come up with payment options for you so you get what you really want.

Have fun and cherish this time!

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