Often times families are spread all across the country (or even all over the world) and it isn't logistically possible to get everyone together or one event. So does that mean that you can't have all your cousins, friends, relatives, high school buddies, co-workers, etc at your wedding? Well, you could throw a ginormous, expensive wedding and try to get them all there, praying logistics will let everyone arrive in the same spot at the same time, or you can have a year of lots of little weddings!
Consider this, if you want to spend as much time as possible in your dress, but you have family who can't all travel, or just too many groups to bring all into one event, break up your wedding into smaller events. It's also great if you want something really small and intimate, but your partner has half a small state to invite. Break the event up into 2 or 3 or 7 smaller events. Here's an example of how to get all the weddings you want:
Elopement: Make it legal first. Run off with your love on a romantic weekend and make it official, just the two of you. No stress, no nagging, just a great hotel room, a fantastic dinner, and the two of you celebrating your love.
The stop at home: Let everyone from your home town know you'll be coming through to celebrate getting hitched. Host a potluck at your parent's house or a local park. Celebrate with great music, lots of food, and a casual atmosphere that also serves as a reunion with your favorite people.
The family vacation: Take the time to let both immediate families come together and celebrate with you. Rent a large vacation home somewhere special (a gorgeous coastal town, a little mountain retreat) and have both families come together for a joint vacation. Cap the week with a large family dinner catered from a local restaurant, dress up the house for a party and have a simple ceremony with those you love!
Locals Only Party: Catch out of towners with other events, and host a night on the town with your local friends. Hit a bar or a downtown venue for cocktails and dessert and then head out for dancing and fun. Give your friends an excuse to get dressed up and take a night on the town, and see if a few couples want to reserve a block of rooms at a swank downtown hotel so no one has to worry about being DD. Or take it to daytime and host a big brunch somewhere swanky and spend a lazy afternoon with your fav people!
Save the holi-date: Pick a time where the whole crew is already together, and take one night to celebrate your new marriage. Host a big family-style dinner or cookie swap so everyone you know and love can join the party. Put together pictures from your elopement to share with everyone and make mini favors as thanks for bring a part of your first holiday together.
There are millions of other ways to include people in your wedding celebrations without having to host everyone at one big extravagant event. Picking multiple low-key events certainly isn't for everyone. But if you're looking for a way to include all the special people in your life in cost-effective and fun ways, why not throw as many weddings as you want, and make each event a special time to celebrate your love over and over again!