Tim and I met in Pittsburgh (where we both went to college) and neither of our families live here (which sucks…a lot). It seems like it’s a fairly common situation for people who meet their spouses in college to have family all over the map, but that doesn’t make it any less rough when it’s time to plan a wedding. I was jealous of my friends who didn’t have to start their wedding planning by picking a city, rather than a venue–all of their loves ones, for the most part, were already in one place. BUT–Tim and I are lucky because both of our families are very, very supportive, so the decision of where to get married was really up to us. We chose Pittsburgh because it’s where we live, which we thought would make planning easier, and it’s a sort of middle ground, rather than one family’s home base.
When we chose Pittsburgh, we knew that not everyone we invited would be able to come. To help remedy this, Tim’s parents offered to hold a post-wedding reception for family in Omaha, where they are from, so that everyone who could not travel here still gets the chance to celebrate with us. Tim has family in Colorado and Oklahoma as well, and it is much more feasible for them to travel to Omaha than to Pittsburgh. The reception also alleviates pressure on families with small children, as well as older guests who may not be up for a lot of travel. All Tim and I have to do is get our butts out there!
My mom offered to host our shower in Scranton, where I am from. Scranton is a lot closer to Pittsburgh than Omaha is (5 hours instead of 14), but having the shower there, and going out for beers afterward, gives everyone at home another chance to get to know Tim better before the wedding. It also prevents anyone in my family from having to deal with driving to Pittsburgh twice (for a shower and a wedding). Pittsburgh is not exactly easy to navigate if you are new to the city. Nice try, GPS, but that’s a one way street.
By having one wedding-related event in each of our three cities, everyone gets a chance to celebrate. For brides in similar geographical situations, my advice is this: let your family get involved in throwing some sort of a celebration for you at home, if they want to. Be prepared to travel a bunch before and after your wedding. If having a shower or another celebration in your hometowns isn’t in the cards, that’s OK too. Try not to worry too much about who will and won’t come to the wedding–there is not much that you can do about it, and it’ll all turn out OK (note–I did not take this advice, and it still turned out OK).