Like many couples, Michael and I didn’t want our wedding reception to end. I swear it flew by in what seemed like an hour (although it was really 3!) Knowing our guestlist was predominantly young and many guests were from out of town, we thought ahead and planned an official wedding after party — somewhere for our guests to go if they wanted to continue the party into the night with us…especially since we waited a couple days to leave for our honeymoon.
If you’re considering a wedding after party, you might have a couple questions about how exactly it works and where to hold it. The nice thing about a wedding after party is that there really are no rules, no restrictions, no tried-and-true traditions. It’s totally up to you how you handle it. Here are a few ideas that might help you get started…
1. Be VIP at Your Favorite Nightclub
For our wedding after party, Michael and I reserved a VIP space at our favorite nightclub. We didn’t cover the tab (frankly, we were already broke from the reception), but that didn’t seem to be a problem for guests. The nice thing about reserving a VIP section at an already-occuring party is that you get the best of both worlds — it’s a break from the more private reception setting, but there’s also a reserved area for guests to hang out with each other if they choose. While our reception was a total blast, our nightclub after party was were things really got crazy!
2. Host a Casual Meetup at a Local Bar
If your crowd’s a little more mellow and laid-back, sometimes hosting an after party is as easy as deciding on a casual bar to meet up at. Choose a place with pool, darts or other bar games that will keep guests entertained, or consider opting for a location that you know will have a good band playing. Just make sure the location you choose will have the space to accommodate your guests. The laid-back atmosphere will let your guests relax after the reception while still enjoying the company of you and your other guests.
3. Reserve Dedicated Space
If you have the extra cash and you want to host a more intimate after party, reserve dedicated space at a venue slightly smaller than your reception — maybe even a room at the hotel your guests are staying at. Think of it as a reception part two with a little less planning than your reception but a lot more privacy than the other two options I’ve discussed. Keep in mind, with this option, chances are you’ll have to pick up the tab.
Whatever you decide, the wedding after party doesn’t need to be super formal. In fact, it’s pretty common to forgo invitations altogether and promote the party via word of mouth at the reception, or even as a simple Facebook event just days prior. Because your guests will already be in party mode at your reception, it’s common for those that want to continue partying to tag along to the after party.
While it’s polite to invite everyone, it’s highly likely that a lot of the older guests will opt out, so don’t feel like the venue you choose needs to be nearly as large as your reception venue. For our wedding, about 30% of guests made it to the after party.
Are you planning to host a wedding after party? If so, where?
About Nicole Denton
With a love of planning just about anything — from her own wedding, to bridal and baby showers, to dinner parties, and more – Nicole is the Plunge Project’s founder and editor-in-chief. A New Jersey native, Nicole has called Chandler, Arizona home since 2013, where she currently lives with her husband Michael; two pit bulls, Shelby and Link; and cat, Kity Perry. A University of Tennessee graduate, Nicole has a bachelors in communications and a career at a rapidly-growing digital marketing firm.