Re: outdoor wedding reception lighting
The maximum of three that you mention is for daisy-chaining. It should be no problem to connect several sets to a surge strip, providing that the extension cord is of sufficient wire gauge. I'd recommend using a 12 gauge extension cord to the surge strip, and keep the total load of the lights to less than 12 amps. Using a lighter-weight cord could be a fire hazard.
If you need more capacity than this, use another extension cord plugged into a different circuit.
The light sets should have either an amp rating or a watt rating. Just add up the amps to get the total load. You can convert watts to amps by dividing watts by 120.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.