Planning a wedding can be a monumental task even under typical circumstances — but add an international aspect, and the challenges become even more significant.
This is what Jessica Kopp has discovered while working out the details for her big day, which will take place in her hometown of Neustadt an der Aisch in Bavaria, Germany. From the moment she and her fiancé started wedding planning, that location was never in question.
Kopp and her fiancé, Brenden Welch, became engaged on the day she graduated from Missouri Western State University in May 2018. They met while working for the college newspaper and now are both reporters for the St. Joseph News-Press.
Kopp notes that after graduating and getting engaged, she took time just to enjoy that stage of life. But eventually the wedding planning began in earnest — not only for her and Welch, but also for her maid of honor and especially her mother.
“My mom is a huge help in planning things on that end,” Kopp said, adding that her mother has frequently had to act as a go-between in communicating and sharing photos of Kopp’s vision with vendors, then relaying their messages to her.
And even in the age of the internet, where making plans from a distance often is easier than it used to be, Kopp faces an obstacle as not all of the vendors in her small hometown have websites — which makes her mother’s role in collecting and communicating information that much more important.
On top of these complicated planning logistics, Kopp also faces another obstacle most brides don’t: Acquiring a travel visa. She also has applied for a green card, which can take 13 months to be processed. The travel visa is a requirement for her to leave and then return to the United States during that window.
Delays she’s experienced in this process actually required postponing her wedding, which was originally planned for July 27. Although she’d applied for the travel visa six to seven months ahead of time — which should have been more than enough, based on how long the process is supposed to take — unexpected delays factored in and led her and Welch to opt for a new wedding date almost a year after the original one.
They’re now planning to marry on June 20, 2020, in Germany, with an outdoor ceremony at a farm venue and a reception at a hotel. And they’re hoping postponing this long will save not only them but also their wedding guests from any other complications.
“If we put down deposits or people buy flights (for a canceled date), that would be a bigger headache than postponing the wedding,” Kopp said.
She also noted that having an extra year to plan will come in handy — given that in addition to working out the details for the wedding itself, she and Welch also want to arrange at least a week’s worth of activities for those who are traveling a great distance to celebrate with them. Plus, they intend to host a small local celebration for family and friends who can’t travel to Germany for their wedding — which is of course one more event to orchestrate.
For anyone else planning a wedding abroad, Kopp emphasized the importance of giving special consideration for guests — not only in helping them make the most of their trip but also in alerting them to the wedding date sooner than is typical, since saving for international flights and making other arrangements for travel may require a decent amount of advance notice.
And while some brides might be discouraged by the waiting that comes with rescheduling a wedding for a much later date, Kopp is taking it all in stride — and she’s not the only one who doesn’t mind the delay all that much.
“I think my mom was secretly relieved to have more time,” she said.