We've noticed that it used to be tradition to open your wedding gifts the day after the wedding at some sort of luncheon with all your family and guests present. Honestly, I think this is a terrible idea. It alienates the guests that traveled far distances or are students on tight budgets, or anyone else who chose not to purchase a gift for whatever reason. It also emphasizes the ridiculous notion that guests are expected to shower you with gifts to celebrate your marriage. Umm... call me crazy, but I think guests coming to the wedding in the first place is the best way to show they value the committment you're making!
That said, I like the idea of extending the wedding celebrations past the wedding ceremony and reception to create more time spent with your family and friends. My favourite wedding bloggers, Sara Cotner and Matt Bradfor from $2000 Wedding, did just that. Their wedding was a weekend away in the mountains with plenty of time for connections with family and friends. While this was not exactly an option for us, we have looked at ways to spend a bit more time with our guests.
The first thing we are doing, now that we no longer live in the city we're getting married in, is staying in the same vacation rental building as some of our family. This will hopefully give us some extra family time during the in between moments or over morning coffee.
We are also bringing our wedding party together at Adam's parent's vacation rental condo for a very informal rehearsal dinner. Essentially it's a come-as-you-are and eat pizza with us kind of dinner! I hope this allows for more time socialising than a sit down dinner at a restaurant would.
Finally, we are looking into having a similar gathering in the same condo for the day after the wedding. We hope this will be open to all of Adam's relatives, as they are the guests that will have traveled the furthest to be with us. We really want to make sure we see as much of them as possible before we all have to go home!
It may be a stretch, but I'm thinking of also looking into some extra time with my family and friends. They generally live closer than our other guests though, so being a busy weekend to begin with, we may not be able to make as much time for this as we'd like. Luckily, we see these folks more often anyhow, so hopefully they'll understand!
What are you doing to facilitate time for connection with your guests?