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Things I Wish I Knew Before Planning My Wedding After-Party
A wedding after-party isn’t a necessity, but for many couples, it’s the icing on the cake. It’s a way to extend your wedding day into the late night and early morning hours, spending as much time as possible celebrating your marriage with friends and family.
After parties are where the shoes come off and guests really let loose, but that can come with a whole host of problems you may not anticipate.
Here are some important things you need to know before planning your wedding after-party so you can stress less and have more fun.
Plan Ahead With Your Reception Venue
It is extremely important that you know exactly how long you have your wedding reception space. If you can rent the space until the morning after your reception, you might decide to have your wedding after-party at the same location. If you have to be out by a certain time the same day as your reception, you will have to have your wedding after-party somewhere else.
Make sure you talk with the venue about their cleaning policy too. For example, if you have the space until 1:00am, but the space has to be cleaned before the end of the night, you’ll have to figure out who is going pick up before the after-party can begin.
Bride Drinking With Wedding Guests at a Bar: Perfectly Planned 4 You
Plan the Location of the After-Party Carefully
Using the same location as your reception is the easiest way to throw an after-party, but it isn’t always an option, as some venues require you to pack up and leave early in the evening. It may also be the case that you want a vibe change for your after-party, which means your reception space simply won’t do.
Whether you walk to a nearby bar, you go bowling, or you rent another venue that’s open all night, make sure guests don’t have to travel any more than 10 or 15 minutes to get to the after-party. Otherwise, they might decide to head home. A nearby location also makes transportation easier, especially if you want to rent vehicles to get your guests there safely.
Have a Plan to Take Care of the Mess
You have to plan ahead to pick up after your reception, but you may also want to think about how you’re going to clean up the after-party mess. Especially because after-parties can sometimes get out of hand.
Can you and your bridal party take care of the mess the next day? Do you need to think about hiring a cleaning crew, or can you pay extra and the venue will clean up the mess for you? Are there any bottles or cans that you need to take care of, or a keg that needs to be returned?
If the mess isn’t something you want to have to deal with, consider having your after-party at a bar or another public place. Just make sure you double check last call and closing times so you aren’t disappointed that you have to leave earlier than you wanted.
Band Playing Music Outside: Wedding Chicks
Time the Transition With Music
How will your guests know it’s time to move to the after-party? Or, how will they know when it starts if it’s at the same location as your reception?
Music is a great way to make the transition. If you have a live band, the after-party begins after their set ends.
If you have a DJ, they can make an announcement when it’s time to move to the after-party location. If you’re staying in the same spot, the DJ can turn down the lights and start playing more club-friendly music.
Wedding Guests Partying With Glow Sticks: Lethal Rhythms
Skip Décor and Bring Out Fun Accessories
There’s no need to have separate décor for your after-party. It is a fun idea to bring out accessories though! Guests will have a lot of fun with glow sticks, plastic glasses, crowns, and other accessories.
Don’t feel like you have to. The after-party is all about having fun. It’s not about spending more money on decorations or accessories if you don’t want to.
Bride and Groom Ordering From a Food Truck: Martha Stewart
Food is a Must
If guests are partying into the wee hours of the morning, they’re going to get hungry. Make sure you have a plan to feed everyone.
Because guests are likely drinking, greasy food is a great choice. Have pizzas delivered or consider hiring a food truck. If you opt for a food truck, and it’s meeting you in a public area, like near a park or the bar, make sure signage clearly states that the truck is serving a wedding party and not the general public.
Wedding Guests Dancing on the Dance Floor in Front of the DJ: MNM Photography
Invite All Guests at the Reception to the After-Party
Some brides and grooms want their after-party to feel a little more exclusive, but only inviting certain people is a recipe for disaster. Other reception guests are likely to find out. Either their feelings will be hurt, or they will come along for the ride even if they aren’t invited, skyrocketing your budget.
Do yourself a favor and invite everyone at the reception to the after-party. It’s easier for you to plan and it avoids any unnecessary drama.
Bride and Groom Falling into a Hotel Bed: Bridal Guide
Do Not Keep the Party Going in Your Hotel Room
Whether you didn’t plan on an after-party, but you aren’t ready for your wedding day to be over yet, or your after-party is coming to an end and you’re tempted to keep the party going with an after after-party, don’t invite anyone back to your hotel room.
There will inevitably be guests who don’t leave, which means spending your wedding night with your new spouse in bed and a friend or family member who is passed out on the floor. It’s much better to call it a night when the reception and after-party are over.
Looking for more tips? Discover all of the things you should know before planning your:
- Bridal Shower
- Bachelorette Party
- Wedding Ceremony
- Wedding Reception