Colette was from Virginia, and Jasper grew up in Oklahoma*. They met at college in Texas, went to grad school in Washington, and then finally moved to Boston. When it came time to get married, they were stumped. It seemed there was no way to avoid making several groups of loved ones travel thousands of miles to celebrate with them, and they knew they had a lot of friends who might not be able to afford plane tickets.
For a while, they joked about just going ahead and pissing everybody off and getting married in North Dakota. Then they hit on the idea of the Reception Tour.
Colette and Jasper had a small ceremony and reception in the city with the largest concentration of friends, took a couple of days for themselves, and then hit the road. In a couple of cities they had parties, and in a couple they just sent word around to meet in a favorite bar or restaurant. They had a great time on their honeymoon, got to see a ton of their friends and relatives, and earned bonus points in Heaven for reducing the wedding stress burden of dozens of people.
It all worked so well because Colette and Jasper did a lot of things right.
They made sure to announce the Reception Tour at the same time as the wedding.
Colette and Jasper were doing the tour to help friends save on plane tickets, so they made sure everyone knew they could still be a part of the celebration even if they couldn’t make the wedding. Their friends could avoid both the financial agonizing and any guilt or sadness at not being at the wedding.
They kept things simple.
The main ceremony and reception were low-key and inexpensive, which means Colette and Jasper had room to budget for their other parties. They knew that their loved ones were more interested in seeing them than in centerpieces, so their other parties were light on formality and heavy on fun. A barbecue or a chips-and-margaritas party is always fun and easy to throw together, even from another city.
They deputized friends at each tour stop.
The deputy friends were ground troops to help set up the parties and field questions, both from invitees and the venues. Sort of remote best men and satellite maids of honor. The deputies helped make sure invitees knew that the parties were informal, and, more importantly, spread the word that the parties weren’t meant to be gifting opportunities. I can’t imagine that anyone would have really suspected either Jasper or Colette of gift fishing, but they felt better having discreet confirmation of that go out.
They had a really good time.
Once the wedding was over, they decided they were done with stress. Since the whole point was to see people they loved to be around, they made sure that they had fun at their own parties – a detail that many newlyweds overlook. Whether you go with one reception or five, make sure to take a Zen moment to enjoy the good people in your life. And then hit the dance floor.
*Names, as always, have been changed to protect the no-longer-innocent.