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THE LONG DISTANCE BRIDE


Planning a San Antonio Wedding

At the Click of a Mouse

Dallas bride Adelina Rosenthal and her groom, El Campo native Reed Kainer, selected San Antonio’s San Fernando Cathedral for their January 20 nuptials, and held their reception at the Cathedral Centre.

“My parents were married in San Antonio because my mother is from here,” says Rosenthal. “So, we thought--- what a great central place for our family and friends to travel to, along with the special touch of being in the same city where my parents were married.”

San Antonio roots aside, Rosenthal lived in Dallas and was unfamiliar with San Antonio wedding vendors.

“We didn’t even know where to start,” she admits. “From cakes to flowers to where we were going to tie the knot--- we were clueless!”

So, she hit the Internet and began searching. With the help of www.SanAntonioWeddings.com, a site which receives around 3,000 visitors per day, she was able to procure several wedding service providers, including photographer Marcus Revilla, florist Melissa White of Botanika, Absolutely Everything Catering and Sugar Hill Bakery.

“My caterer, photographer, florist, cake and reception site were all found through the web site and referrals,” she says. “Calling them and checking their web sites was how I gained trust in the companies.”

 

Doing Her Homework

Like Rosenthal, bride Heather Richardson of Seattle planned a San Antonio wedding  fairly easily despite the distance. A 2006 graduate of San Antonio’s Trinity University, Richardson met her groom, Chris Smith, while they were students. So, even though work took them to Seattle, they opted to return to San Antonio for their April wedding, held at Trinity’s Margarite B. Parker Chapel.

“I met my husband at Trinity,” she says, “and I thought it would be a very pretty place to get married.”

It was an easy choice for their reception site, as well.  The Bushnell, a popular spot for rooftop celebrations, is walking distance from Trinity and was “very convenient.”

The couple became engaged in 2005, so they had a bit of a head start in selecting some vendors. Richardson attended bridal fairs, visited web sites and pored over wedding magazines.

After selecting their reception venue, Richardson was pleased when representatives from The Bushnell referred Page Barteau Catering and the Otis Brothers band to them. And, the historic St. Anthony Hotel became destination central for all of the couple’s out-of-town guests, many of whom had never been to San Antonio.

“They all fell in love with the St. Anthony,” says the bride.

In addition to relying on the vendors she had secured online, Richardson enlisted the aid of her sister--- who lives in San Antonio--- to preview flowers, hair and makeup options. She was pleased with the results from Arthur Pfeil Florist and Madame Hair and Makeup when she arrived in San Antonio.

“It really helps to have someone local to visit some of the vendors you’ve selected online,” she advises. “It’s often difficult to get a real picture of things like flowers and makeup from photos on the Internet. It helps to have someone view them in person. And, of course, it should be someone you trust.”

Bridging the Gap

Wedding service providers like Brenda Rodriguez, director of event sales at the Canyon Springs Golf Club in San Antonio, are going to great lengths to meet the needs of long distance brides.

“With people’s lives becoming busier, and with the comfort most feel with navigating the Internet, we are seeing more and more that events are planned partially or in-whole by e-mail and the Internet,” she says.

She adds that many couples use the Internet to gather information on a venue, but still insist on a site visit before securing a location.  Others, though, have made their selection based only on what they’ve seen online.

Subsequently, Canyon Springs has tailored much of their materials to be “online friendly,” including information about wedding packages, proposals and contracts, photographs, and even event diagrams.

“Basically, the entire event may be planned with communication and documentation that can be e-mailed,” says Rodriguez.

But, she does suggest that the couple plan at least one visit to the location--- or, like Richardson, enlist the aid of a family member who can be their “eyes.”

“Long distance planning will be done with a bit more peace of mind with a visit to confirm that their selection will suit their needs and preferences,” she recommends.

Rodriguez adds that she has worked with many couples online, including two couples who planned their weddings from Germany, one from Norway and many from across the United States.

“The Internet is a wonderful way to bridge the gap,” she explains. “While it is daytime in San Antonio, and I am replying to a bride’s list of questions, she may be across the world in the middle of a night’s sleep knowing that she will awake to a message with my responses.” 


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