When a wedding reception takes place many hours after the ceremony AND in another town, is it okay to skip the reception?
If attending the reception is a true hardship then, yes, it's fine to not go; however, be sure to let the couple know when replying to the invitation that you'll only be at the ceremony. But before making a decision, keep in mind that your hosts are probably excited for you to share their day with them so don't write off the reception so quickly.
Consider finding a way to kill time in between events. For example, search online for fun things to see and do in either of the towns you'll be visiting. And by the way, we always advise couples to send suggestions to out-of-town guests of activities or places to visit to fill the gap of time.
And if you do decide to travel to the reception, remember that you can keep your attendance short. You don't need to be the last one on the dance floor.
Learn more in this episode of Awesome Etiquette.