Why stop at just a wedding reception when you can extend the joy? A wedding after-party can be the cherry on top of your perfect day and a fantastic way to continue celebrating love in a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. Below, read our after-party etiquitte guide, covering the where, when, what-to-wear and so much more.
What is a Wedding After-Party?
The wedding after-party is part of the wedding celebration that kicks off right after the reception to keep the excitement going. This is when you can change into more comfortable clothes and let loose with your friends and family. Unlike wedding receptions, where guests typically sit down for a meal, the after-party offers a more free-flowing atmosphere that might carry on until the sun comes up.
When Should It Start?
As we’ve just said, the wedding after-party takes place exactly on the same day as the wedding itself, soon after the reception ends. This allows for a smooth transition from the reception to the after-party while keeping the celebratory atmosphere alive. The key rule here is to avoid any long breaks in between these two events. Having the downtime might cool down the fun and kill that upbeat vibe. As for how late the after-party should go? Well, it’s totally up to you! Some wedding after-parties wrap up early, while others last until dawn. Just be mindful of any venue restrictions.
Where Should You Throw an After-Party?
Now let’s talk about the location for your wedding after-party. Again, this is a matter of your own preference and venue restrictions. You can simply keep the party going right where your reception was held, but signal a new chapter of the evening with the change of music and lighting. Another idea is to move your party to a different area within the same venue. Or you can throw it at a completely new location and setting. If you go this route, though, it's a kind gesture to arrange transportation for your guests to ensure everyone arrives safely and on time.
Who Gets Invited?
This one is pretty simple — everyone invited to the reception should be invited to the after-party too. To keep your guests aware of this exciting post-reception bash, put all the key details and info on your wedding website or notify them via a separate insert in your wedding invitation suite. And here’s one more thing to note: Even if you suspect some of your guests might not be able to stay after the reception, do give them an invite anyway. Everyone loves to feel included, and it's the thought that counts!
What Should You Wear?
For the after-party, opt for easy-to-move-in attire that lets you dance and join in the festivities without restraint. Brides might consider chic midis or minis, sleek sets or bridal jumpsuits, complemented by comfy ballet flats or kitten heels. Meanwhile, grooms can ditch their formal jacket or switch to a lighter material. And to finish off the look? A stylish pair of sneakers might just be the perfect option!
What Activities to Plan?
The ideas are endless, really! Aside from just dancing all night long, you can sing your lungs out at karaoke, pose with the guests at a photo booth or hire a live band for a mini-concert feel. And for the cozier wrap of the big day, why not arrange a movie screening? Prepare bean bag chairs, popcorn and drinks so your guests could fully immerse themselves in the relaxing atmosphere. Pick a movie that holds a special place in your hearts as a couple — this will add an extra personal touch. Or you can play directors and showcase your own movie! Collaborate with your videographer to create a cinematic mini-documentary about your love story and wedding preparations. It might also be an SDE with the highlights of the big day. It's creative, unique and will sure amaze your guests.
What if We Don’t Want an After-Party?
Not a problem at all! Wedding after-parties are a bonus, not must-haves. Remember, your wedding — your rules. If you feel that the reception was enough or you are worried that your guests might be tired (after all, weddings can be emotionally and physically draining!), then that’s perfectly fine to skip throwing such an event. Alternatively, you can let everyone rest and extend the celebration the next day, with a brunch or farewell dinner.