If you were watching the Oscars coverage recently and thinking how the after parties looked more fun than the main event, then why not take a page out of the Hollywood handbook and throw an official after party for your wedding? More couples are now opting for a post-reception celebration instead of the traditional departure. And why not? The party doesn’t have to end when the reception does!
But what is a wedding after party? Essentially, it’s a post-reception get together, a way of keeping the festivities going long after the last dance. It’s a time to really let down your hair and relax with your guests. This is especially true if this is a rare reunion with lots of out-of-towners or college buddies. With the formalities over and the champagne flowing, everyone is still on a celebration high, and that can lead to some of the most unforgettable memories. Or an after party can serve as the place to dance (if your reception space calls for an early curfew, moving guests into a late-night indoor dance party is still considered part of the party!).
Of course, the details of the after party will depend on the setting, as well as your personalities and those of your guests. If you’re die hard party animals, a club style dance party is the way to go, but if you’re more laid back, you might want to wind down with a chilled-out lounge vibe. If you’ve been celebrating by the shore, then a beach bonfire is a lovely way to end the night. On the other hand, for a city wedding, you may want your guests to experience the local nightlife. One of the best options is simply to move the celebration to another area of the venue, especially if it’s a hotel or resort where many of your guests are staying. That way you don’t need to worry about transportation and getting everyone home safely.
Whatever your style, here are some wedding after party ideas to get you started!
Change your clothes. Unless you actually want to trash the dress, an after party isn’t the ideal place for that gorgeous wedding gown. Choose something comfortable but stylish – I love a bride in a chic jumpsuit! (Bonus tip: be sure to send your gown home with someone you trust like your mom, mom-in-law or grandma.)
Bring on the munchies. The last thing you want is guests drinking more on an empty stomach. After party food can be one of the best parts, especially if you opt for casual late night favorites like burgers, fries and milkshakes, a pizza bar or tacos. Food trucks are another late night winner.
Say cheese! As I said, some of the best memories happen at the after party, and you’ll want to capture them. Your photographer will likely be off the clock by then, so provide a few Polaroid or disposable cameras and let your guests have fun snapping away or arrange ahead of time for your photographer to stay until the very end!
Get massages. If you really want your guests to wind down in style, hire massage therapists to give mini treatments or head massages to tired partygoers. What a treat!
Plan some surprise entertainment. This can be as simple as a photo booth, a pinata or a jukebox, or as elaborate as a live musical performance or a fireworks display. Your guests will love it.
Don’t forget the chairs. Even if the dance floor is the main attraction, be sure to arrange a chic lounge pocket where guests can chat and rest their tired feet. Whisky and cigars optional.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to send your guests home with a little something for the morning-after hangover. They’ll thank you the next day.