So you want to keep the festivities going after last call at your wedding reception. We don’t blame you – it’s the happiest day of your life! We wouldn’t want it to end either. The best way to keep the fun going into the night is to throw a wedding after-party. Some of the best wedding memories are made after the wedding has ended, and we want you to have the time of your life. Remember that coordinating an after-party is entirely optional and traditional wedding etiquette rules don’t necessarily apply, meaning that you don’t have to send out official invites, and you don’t have to invite everyone. Whether you want to invite all your guests or keep it to your inner circle, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure everyone will have the time of their lives.
Choose a theme
There’s a variety of options for you to choose from when it comes to planning an after-party. You can coordinate a fun, late-night group activity, host a get-together in the hotel lounge or have everyone head out to the bars and clubs for a night of drinks and dancing. It’s always more fun when you have a theme to go along with the party, such as casino night, 80s karaoke night, rock n bowl or disco fever. If you’re planning on renting a space, like the hotel lounge after the reception or a few lanes at the local bowling alley, a few décor items to match the theme will make guests more excited to keep the party going. You can even decorate limos and party buses to go along with the theme.
Photo Credit: Wedding Cards Catalog
Decide who to invite
The after-party is an informal get-together, so there’s no need to follow traditional wedding etiquette with invitations here. You can extend an invite to everyone who attended your wedding if you’d like, but many couples like to keep the after-party exclusive to their friends and the younger crowd. If you want to make sure everyone knows about the after-party so they don’t make other plans, feel free to make a note on the official wedding invitation and your wedding website. Otherwise, word-of-mouth or even a Facebook event will work well.
Photo Credit: Bella Tiara
Pick a location
Karaoke bars, pool halls and bowling alleys are all great late-night options for group activities. Make sure you reserve the space needed for your expected number of guests in advance. If a lot of your guests are staying at the same hotel, or your reception was in a hotel, the hotel lounge is also a great place to host an after-party. You can even negotiate a good deal with the hotel since you’ll be bringing them so much business that evening. Another popular option is to do a bar crawl or club crawl. You’ll need to coordinate transportation, but otherwise you can go from venue to venue as you see fit. Remember that if you are planning on going to a local bar, it’s always a good idea to call ahead to see if they’re expecting any large parties at the same time you want to be there. You don’t necessarily have to book the space, but letting them know ahead of time that you plan to bring a certain number of people is a heads up they’ll appreciate.
Photo Credit: Ashley’s Bride Guide
Change your clothes
Unless there’s a dress code at the venue you’re headed to, you and your new spouse will probably want to change into something a bit more comfortable to keep the festivities going. If you’ve chosen a theme for your after-party, change into something more appropriate and don’t forget to inform the guests that they have the option to as well. Of course, you are allowed to wear your wedding dress until the party ends, but there’s always the possibility that it gets spilled on or ruined. We suggest to err on the side of caution and change into a different white dress so you can enjoy yourself without worrying about your beautiful gown.
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Sure, dinner was delicious at the reception, but if you expect your guests to keep partying until the wee hours of the night, you should provide some sort of nourishment. Your hotel lounge can easily provide food and drinks, or you can even hire a late night food truck to feed the crowd. If you’re out on the town, heading to a local fast food joint or having the venue you’re at provide snacks is a great option as well. Just remember to place any large orders ahead of time so they aren’t scrambling last minute to put something together for you.
Photo Credit: Wedding Party App
We love the idea of wedding after-parties. They’re a great way to keep the fun going long after you’ve said your I dos with your best friends and family. Since after-parties usually consist of a younger crowd, consider either paying for it yourselves as a married couple or splitting the bill with your parents. Or, if you’re out on the town, chances are there’ll be guests ready to pick up the tab at the bar. No matter what type of after-party you decide to throw, the best part of it all is that you’ll be celebrating with your loved ones as an official married couple.