Venue: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens – Carriage House Photographer: Nicolas Gore Weddings

One of our FAB-U-LOUS Stonebridge Manor Event Directors, Alysia, took the time to provide some words of advice to fellow out-of-town brides. Read what the newly-minted Mrs. Zurlo has to say about the wedding planning process done from a distance!

You might think being an out of town bride is stressful… but it doesn’t have to be!

I am in a unique position to understand the difficulties that planning a wedding from afar can bring. Fortunately, as an Event Director here at Stonebridge Manor I learned some tricks to make it so much easier! Yes, I have the joy of working here at Stonebridge Manor, so you may wonder why I did not plan my wedding here. To be honest, there were times I wished I was having my wedding at Stonebridge Manor. For more information on how YOU can plan the wedding of your dreams at Stonebridge Manor, visit

For starters, our vendors are wonderful; I trust them completely. Our TEAM is out of this world, and the grounds are beautiful. It would certainly make my life a little easier as a local, AZ bride. Long story short, the majority of my fiancé’s family and my family live on the East Coast. We brought out a map and decided together that South Carolina would be our wedding destination!

It’s stressful trying to plan a wedding from 2,000 miles away. I couldn’t do the things many brides have the luxury of doing, like going for a cake tasting or meeting with my florist. I couldn’t even try the caterer’s food or meet with my DJ face to face. Sure, I could have gotten on a plane about 6 times before the wedding, but who has the time or money to do that? The pressure alone could make a girl stress even more.

 I would like to offer a little advice… DON’T STRESS! The following tips are actual things I have used to help ease the stress, and actually enjoy my engagement! I hope they help you too 🙂

Florist: Wildflowers Inc. Photographer: Nicolas Gore Weddings
Florist: Wildflowers Inc.
Photographer: Nicolas Gore Weddings
  • Trust your Event Directors – My venue in South Carolina did not offer an Event Director, so I had to search out one on my own. Luckily, I found an AMAZING Event Director that had a lot of previous experience with my venue. As a Stonebridge bride, you are so lucky because there is literally a team of Event Directors at the Manor that are wedding experts. I may be biased, but we are pretty AMAZING too!
  • Trust the preferred vendors list – My Event Director had recommended tons of great vendors that she has worked with before. She has nothing to gain from steering me in the wrong direction because she personally has to work with whichever vendor I choose. Here at Stonebridge the same thing applies. For each wedding we work closely with the vendors included in our packages. If a vendor does not meet our 5-star expectations, they will be removed from our vendor list and we will replace them with a vendor that does meet our high expectations. What about the food and cake though? Again, I am trusting my Event Director and you should too! I can promise you that we have all personally taste-tested the food and cake multiple times and it’s all delicious. Still don’t believe me? Check out the reviews on Wedding Wire and The Knot! Our couples agree too.  
    Photographer: Nicolas Gore Weddings Florist: Wildflowers Inc.
    Photographer: Nicolas Gore Weddings
    Florist: Wildflowers Inc.
  • Trust the vendors you choose – Let’s face it, we all have a vision for our wedding day. Most of us have been dreaming about it since we were little girls. The flowers have to be just right, the DJ much be awesome, and the photography has to capture the day perfectly! While it is fun to dream, I realized there was only so much I can do. Instead of stressing, I made sure to cover my bases. I made made sure the florist understood my colors, theme, vision, and then trusted that she would come up with beautiful arrangements within the budget we discussed. The DJ’s personality really came through during our conversation over the phone. It was such an upbeat, energetic conversation, I knew my wedding was in good hands! Speak up and be honest and clear about what you want. Lastly, you can easily get an idea of a photographer’s style by looking at their portfolio. Nowadays those are all online. At Stonebridge, our photographers are plenty familiar with the venue, so all you have to decide is what style you like. Also make sure they have your photo list so they don’t miss a photo you really want. Stonebridge photographers have shot here many times and know all the best spots, so please don’t even waste any stress on that! Each and every vendor has lots of experience working together at Stonebridge. The whole day will run seamlessly!
  • Realize that things may happen that you just can’t control. Your Maid of Honor may have forgotten the earrings she was going to wear, or the flower girl is too scared to walk down the aisle. Your day is going to be perfect no matter what happens and try not to sweat the little things. As long as your “hubby to be” shows up, and you both say “I DO,” you are going to look back at this day and remember that you married the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE! What could be more perfect than that?