You've always envisioned an out-of-town wedding but the thought of planning one seems daunting. Here are important tips to keep in mind for easier and stress-free planning:

1.      Compare suppliers and haggle.

If you know couples who recently tied the knot at the same city or locale, they may be able to help you with useful tips about your wedding venue or shortlisted suppliers. A list that includes rates among your shortlisted suppliers may also come in handy when negotiating for lowered rates. "The information is there but you just need to have a lot of time and patience to sift through the information relevant to your own wedding," shares Jane Devela-Canada, who planned their Tagaytay wedding while she was working in Singapore.

2.      Know the venue's supplier policies.

Some venues have a list of accredited suppliers which you may choose to hire for your own wedding. Doing so may cut costs as some reception venues charge extra fees when hiring outside of their list of preferred vendors. Suppliers request for a standard downpayment from the couple to secure their services, which can be as low as P5,000 or 20% of the total rate, depending on the supplier.  Most suppliers limit the number of events they accept, and the downpayment serves as your booking confirmation. The remaining balance is usually requested a month before the wedding date.

3.      Get to know the local suppliers.

Enlisting local suppliers spells out convenience for most couples. Says Butchay Trinidad-Aguilar who had her dream wedding in 2008 in Tagaytay, "We got a florist who was based in Tagaytay. Hiring a supplier who was Tagaytay-based ensured that all the floral arrangements remained fresh and beautiful, without having to contend with the two-hour drive from Manila." Getting local suppliers also means lower costs. Recent bride Michelle Pabulayan-Chua who wed husband, Iric, in Boracay last February 2010 says, "We didn't have to spend on airfare for the photographers and videographers."

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4.      Enlist the help of your family and bridal entourage.

Butchay Trinidad-Aguilar also delegated some duties to her bridal entourage who were more than willing to pitch in for her special day. "I was in Tagaytay a few days before my wedding so I asked one of my maids of honor to take care of bringing our cake from Manila." Most family members and the wedding entourage will likely ask the couple if they need help. Graciously say "yes" if you need them. 

5.      Maximize your schedule.

While in the middle of planning the wedding, trips to the venue may be scheduled so that each trip can be as productive as possible. Instead of taking monthly trips to meet with suppliers which may be costly in the long run, try to schedule multiple meetings on the same day. Michelle Pabulayan-Chua left most of the sourcing to her coordinators for her beach ceremony in Boracay but the couple also scheduled a three-day two-night trip to the island six months before the big day to meet with the suppliers.  The rest of the arrangements were done by phone and e-mail.

6.      Going "all-inclusive" can be a good thing.

Don't balk at the all-inclusive packages offered by your out-of-town venue. These packages offer convenience to couples who do not have the luxury of time to source local suppliers on their own. Wedding packages may also lower costs, if sourcing suppliers on your own entails numerous trips out-of-town.

 
Photo source: sxc.hu

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