Eight tips when planning your wedding from afar

Guest blogger Julie Nichols from Todd Nichols Photography wrote this great article on our blog today. Thank you Julie for the insightful information!

Are you a destination wedding couple looking for help with planning your destination wedding in McCall, Idaho? Not sure which venues would be best, whether to use a planner or day of coordinator and what about flowers, cakes, catering, decor as well as hair and makeup?!! All great questions and things our destination brides and couples ask us about all the time! We have some great resources for you. I’ve put together 8 tips to keep in mind when planning from afar.

But first a little background on why we feel qualified to write about this. We are Todd and Julie Nichols of Todd Nichols Photography. We are McCall wedding photographers and have photographed dozens of destination mountain weddings in this beautiful mountain alpine resort town in central Idaho in many different wedding venues. We have worked with DIY couples who did everything themselves to couples who used a wedding planner for full planning, decor and coordination. Here’s what we’ve observed and here’s our 8 tips.

1) Travel Logistics – If you have guests coming in from different parts of the country, keep in mind the nearest airport for your guests is 3.5 hours away in Boise. The 3.5 hour drive up Hwy. 55 is gorgeous and scenic and the payoff when you get to McCall is definitely worth it! However, if you have a 90 year old grandmother flying into Boise who then has to drive 3.5 hours up a windy mountain road it might be difficult for her. If you have guests coming in who are younger, active and don’t mind the flight and drive times this is definitely the place for you.


2) Plan an in-person visit! You’ll want to nail down your venue and date before you make any other wedding day decisions. It will be very important to visit and get a feel for whats available and what would work best for your wedding guests. The views from the gorgeous McCall wedding venues will vary greatly also. Some people love a lake and mountain view others love river views and still others prefer a mountain top


wedding. Check out our handy McCall Wedding Venue page here. We list the most popular wedding venues in McCall and pictures to help you visualize.

3) Talk to a local wedding planner! Even if you think you’re going to DIY everything. The local wedding planner is McCall Weddings. They can be incredibly helpful to you in guiding you to make the best decisions! They also have a ton of wisdom about what


works and what doesn’t at each venue as well as venue specific rules and tips to make sure your day goes off without a hitch. Planning your wedding remotely can be stressful without the right resources so do yourself a favor and have a conversation with a planner!

4) Get yourself on ZOOM, FaceTime or Skype. You’ll want to be able to have face-to-face conversations with your vendors as you plan. The old saying a picture is worth a thousand words is so true. When you have a vision in your mind for what you want your bridal bouquet to look like it will be super helpful if your florist can put something together so you can actually see it. The same is true for your McCall wedding photographer. There may be albums, artwork and other things you’ll want to see when choosing packages. After all, the pictures are what you’ll be looking at for years to come and are the one thing from your day that will increase in value over time.


5) Plan your timeline carefully. If you have a well thought out time line that is communicated to all vendors, wedding party and family members it will save you A LOT of worry on the wedding day. You’ll want to consult closely with your McCall wedding photographer and a planner if you’re using one on this. Something that is often overlooked on a timeline is the travel time from one place to another at a destination


wedding. For example, when planning a mountaintop wedding at Brundage Mountain in McCall, you’ll want to be sure you factor in enough time to get your guests up and down the chairlift in time for the ceremony as well as lift closing. Many times a wedding couple will want to take wedding pictures in a few different locations also. Travel time should be factored in. Even if it’s just 10 minutes one way, that’s 20 minutes round trip and a significant chunk of time on a wedding day.

6) Set up a Wedding Registry. We at Todd Nichols Photography have a special wedding registry we put together for our destination wedding couples that will include your engagement pictures, your story and all the important details for your day. Including: ceremony location with map, reception location with maps, lodging options


with links to those hotels to book online, wedding day schedule and of course the places you’re registered. There is a special option where your guests can also contribute to your wedding photography package. After all, it’s the one thing you have from your wedding day to look back on when it’s over!


7) Suggest some fun activities for guests. Many guests will have never been to this location and will be excited to do some exploring and have some fun while they’re there. Be sure to include some suggestions for fun activities. For example many guest love to reserve a time to visit the Cove Spa at Shore Lodge for a little extra pampering or take a Lake Cruise with McCall Lake Cruises or go for a scenic bike ride around Payette Lake. Mountain biking down Brundage Mountain is also a favorite activity. There is


also world-class golfing at Whitetail Resort. If you’re having a winter wedding there are snowshoeing adventures, downhill skiing and natural hot springs to soak in! For you foodies, there are culinary adventures at The Cutwater or Narrows restaurants at Shore Lodge and Ruperts at Hotel McCall to name a few favorites.

8) Make sure you have some down time! You will be busy planning and doing while you’re here but be sure to relax and take some time to just enjoy this glorious place! You want to be well rested and fresh for your wedding day!