How to Get Married 3+ Hours Away

This post is written by a gal who just did the very thing this title insinuates. Therefore, you can take my word for it! This post is chock-full of my best advice. So prepare for some real wordiness. I threw in a few of my fave photos people tagged us in on Facebook to break things up for ya. Think of them as your Mealey wedding sneak peak! For more photos search #mealeywedding on Instagram. Full reveal coming in the near future! Now, onto this lengthy post I keep mentioning.

We live just south of Houston & decided to get married out in the Texas hill country in Belton.

Why? You ask. I’ll tell you.

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1. My AMAZING Aunt & Uncle offered up their GORGEOUS home as a venue. There ain’t no passing that up!

2. The scenery really was absolutely perfect. The ceremony overlooked a lush, green canyon & we danced the night away under the stars.

3. Prime location- While both of our families came from Houston, we had many friends in the Dallas area we also wanted to include. Half of the wedding party was from DFW. Our venue put us right in between Houston & Dallas. So it made the perfect meeting place.

4. The place was ours from Wednesday till Saturday for set up/ photos/ prep/ enjoyment/ etc. This made my life at least 10x less stressful. I cannot imagine what a nightmare it would have been to set up the day of in the few hours most venues give you before the ceremony. I needed those precious hours before the wedding to prep myself!

I totally think we made the right decision here & am beyond pleased with the outcome. I can honestly say our wedding was just what I wanted. Of course, I would’ve really loved to have fireworks. But ya know…You win some, you lose some.

The downside to all of this is trying to plan the wedding while living in a different location. Thankfully, my Aunt was just a text away & helped me to orchestrate things & answer all my silly questions along the way.

How to Get Married 3+ Hours Away | | #diywedding #weddingtips

TAKE PHOTOS! Throughout the 6 month planning process I only made 3 trips up there. I took 5 billion photos each time. Make sure you get every angle of every corner. It’s important to get photos of things like outlets as well so you know how many are available & where they are. Vendors are going to need to know that kind of info too. I found myself referring back to these daily. Videos don’t hurt either!

GET ORGANIZED! Planning any wedding requires much organization, but getting married away from home requires even more so. I started with a big binder, tabs, & lots of plastic slipcovers. Make tabs for all your major categories- food, dj, reception, ceremony, guest list, flowers, accommodations, etc. Then stick all your notes & lists in each section as well as any important agreements or other documents.

How to Get Married 3+ Hours Away | | #diywedding #weddingtips

BOOK ACCOMMODATIONS FOR GUESTS! I was almost too late on this one, but we made it! The only wedding guests who weren’t from out of town were the my Aunt & Uncle & their kids. Every single other person would be traveling at least a couple of hours to get to the wedding. Now, some of those guests chose to drive home late that night, but a majority of them required lodging. Try to figure a good number of how many rooms you may need & get a hotel block immediately. Otherwise you’ll have some grumpy guests with no place to sleep. After they’ve traveled all this way it’s the least you can do to see they have a spot to stay at the end of the night. So get this done early while you are able to secure a large enough block. If you must, secure 2 separate blocks at different hotels in order to accommodate the number of guests you have. Be sure to include all of this information in the invitations & on your wedding website. Then gently remind guests who you know will be needing a room.

GET A STORAGE UNIT! If you are anything like me & require boatloads of junk wherever you go, this is a necessity. My amazing parents took 2 truckfuls of stuff up before the wedding & kept it in storage for us to pick up when we got there. Thank the Lord they did this because I have no idea how we would’ve gotten everything up there otherwise! It was also very helpful to have after the wedding. That way everyone could dump everything for us to pick up after we got back from our honeymoon. Yay for us lol. Really, it was very nice to have. You may have seen this Instagram photo of us picking up the remains a few weeks later…

How to Get Married 3+ Hours Away | | #diywedding #weddingtips

Fun Times 😉

COLLECT BOXES & LABEL EVERYTHING! I can get a little crazy when it comes to labeling. One of my roommates had recurring nightmares of her waking up with labels on her forehead. But that’s for another day. I grouped everything together in boxes & wrote on them in big bold letters with sharpie. If the box was still missing an item- for example, cups for the pre-ceremony drink table box- I would stick a post it note on it of what it needed. I also wrote all the missing items on a list together so I wouldn’t forget to pick up anything. That way when I found the missing item I could simply put it in the appropriate box & remove the sticky note. Our dining room was full of boxes. It’s extremely helpful to label the boxes with where they need to go too. For example, I labeled the boxes containing our bridesmaid & groomsmen gifts for the hotel so I could stick those in the hotel rom. I labeled a box of all my bridal accessories to go to the room we would get ready in & a box of serving dishes for brunch were marked to go to the venue. The last thing you are going to want to do on your wedding day, or the day before, is answer a hundred thousand questions. Make the instructions clear so people can figure things out without having to ask you.

How to Get Married 3+ Hours Away | | #diywedding #weddingtips

MAKE LISTS! Lists are my bffs in real life, but in wedding planning life they are your savior!I made lists for everything & everyone & schedules for each day. I had a master list of everyone else’s list & all the schedules combined, just in case anyone forgot. Each day we spent at the venue before the wedding got a schedule which included who was showing up that day & things to be accomplished. I put bridesmaids in charge of different projects that way they would feel responsible & things would get done! Let me tell you, it worked pretty darn well. I got everyone their lists & general schedules the week before the wedding so they knew exactly what to expect. I also made lists for the groomsmen of where I needed them when & when they were free to go do “man stuff.” As long as everyone knows whats expected of them ahead of time, no one gets too upset! There will be changes of course, but Obviously, there was a list tab in my binder & some lists were cross-referenced as necessary…see I’m a little crazy about my lists. I blame my mother for that trait. Have a list of easy jobs (like covering water bottles in coordinating duck tape, cutting programs, or pinning pictures to a photoboard) that you can spot off to little helpers or random people you weren’t expecting to have around. It makes things so much easier because they will constantly be asking you for jobs! People will appreciate you having things for them to do. They’re there to make things easier for you & they like to feel useful!

HAVE ALL PAYMENTS READY + PLAY MONEY! I had envelopes for each vendor with any remaining payment & a handwritten thank you card. I put one of the bridesmaids in charge of handling all of that. I also had cash sealed in envelopes to send with people who were picking things up like ice or lunch while we were setting up the day before. I included a quick thank you plus directions to where they were driving & any instructions necessary. I kept some play money for things I may have forgot & it all ended up being used for last minute odds & ends.

Moral of the story- plan ahead people! It so pays off! There will be last minute things you just can’t avoid, but taking care of anything you can beforehand makes a huge difference.

If y’all have any questions or tips of your own, please share!

Good luck my dear friends!


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