This post is in 3 parts.
Part 1: The Situation (having little to nothing to do with Mike Sorrentino and the Jersey Shore)
My best friend is getting married! But things are a smidge more complicated for her than they were for me when I got married a few years ago. The bride lives in a suburb of Chicago. Her parents/sibling/friends live down near St. Louis. Her relatives are in Wisconsin. The groom just left for basic training for the Navy; they are going to have a court house wedding when he is finished in May and he will need to leave for Charleston, SC, within 24 hours. The groom's family lives in northern Illinois and Arizona. The groom will be living in SC for a few weeks until his lovely bride can join him. Then, when things get settled down, they will have a formal ceremony and reception in SC in October. So, the family and friends are scattered near and far, the actual wedding will have very low attendance, the bride and groom will have to live separately for a little while, and when they do get to live together, it will be even farther away from everyone, meaning everyone who can make it to the ceremony in October will have a LONG drive or expensive flight/hotel stay.
Part Two: The Matron of Honor's Duty
This lady is my best friend. We've been attached at the hip since 5th grade. She was my maid of honor and did as much as she could long distance (again, Chicago-St. Louis) and was there for as much of my wedding planning as she could be (we were in school at the time). She doesn't have a whole lot of wedding planning she can do at the moment, but she does know of things that will eventually be on her wedding registry. I'm setting money aside now for our plane tickets and hotel for the ceremony and for a gift, but I'm also trying to set some money aside to do what I can in the way of pre-wedding celebrations. Which leads us to...
Part Three: The Plan
I want to plan a long-distance bridal shower. While the groom is in basic, I want to send him a letter and ask him a few basic questions (the type you'd find on a bride/groom trivia game at a bridal shower) and get a list of relatives and friends he would invite (regardless of distance) to a shower. I've already got my list for the bride, and I know most of the question answers (but I could sneak the rest out). Here's what I'd like to do: I want to mail each guest to the long-distance shower a small packet. In the packet would be a bridal shower game trivia page (questions about the bride and groom), a piece of scrap book paper to write well wishes and advice for the couple on, a self-addressed stamped envelope to send back to me, and a $5 Target gift card. I want the "party guest" to fill out the trivia game and write their advice/message/well-wish on the scrapbook page and send both of these back to me. I'll check the trivia pages for answers and mail the top 3 winners a small gift. The pages and scrap book messages I'll put into a book and mail to the bride. I'll have instructions in the packages to each guest to call the bride on a certain day (her "shower" day to shower her with love!) and hopefully the book will be on its way to her or have already arrived by then. With the gift card, I want to have a note with directions to access their registry and an addressed envelope for their new place in SC. Anyone who attends the wedding and brings a gift will either have to pack it in the car with their luggage or pay to have it flown with them halfway across the country. A lot of gifts are usually bought for the shower, and typically the one throwing the shower spends a fair amount of money on decorating and feeding the guest; since I don't have that expense, I thought it might be nice to use that same money set aside to help her wedding guests out if they want to order her gift online and send it directly to the couple instead of buying it and bringing it with them; the $5 isn't much, but it'll help with shipping the gift. If they don't want to buy her anything from the registry, I'll request that they use the envelop addressed and stamped to their new address and send her the gift card to use on what she needs.
I JUST came up with this idea. Not sure how feasible it is or how well it'll go over with everyone. I want it to be a surprise for the bride until she starts gets the book, gifts/gift cards, and phone calls. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?