It’s inevitable – after the last dance the younger crowd will be looking for an after party, so planning a post-reception event provides more than just another round of drinks, it’s a way to keep your friends together for another few hours of shenanigans. The mild-mannered kind, of course.
An after party is also the first chance couples have to informally unwind with guests. When all of the wedding obligations are over, this is the perfect chance to relax with a glass of wine without being the center of attention. This just may be the perfect end to a perfect day.
Partying the Night Away
* Is an After Party for You?
An after party is extra time for you to mingle with your guests. Each after party has a life and feeling of its own – depending on your interest it can be a late-night club or a small house party. The decision on an after party should come to the desire (or not) to spend additional time with your guests – no one will fault you for choosing a few hours sleep over grabbing extra drinks at the bar.
* Selecting the Right Location
The keys to a great after party are knowing your guests and scouting venues. Clubs, busy bars, and music venues are best suited for high-energy groups. More intimate spaces like lounges, private homes, or hotel bars are best for the subdued crowds. Our advice: select a venue that appeals to your guests' typical weekend night out. This is not the best time to expand their horizons - a familiar atmosphere will attract more guests.
* Continue the Party Atmosphere
Music and ambiance will keep your friends entertained until it is time for an early breakfast and a bloody mary. Ensure that your location will have the music, seating, and dance space that your guests will be looking for. Plan a visit to your final destination prior to your wedding to get a feel for the typical crowd. If you choose to host a house party, preparing the atmosphere will require a bit more leg work of acquiring subdued lighting, comfortable seating, an iPod with a great playlist, and beverages in coolers.
* What are the Invitation Rules?
We recommend inviting all guests. In terms of how to convey the invitation, there are plenty of great options. Rather than rely on word of mouth, add a message to each of the favors or at the favor display. It will be an exciting surprise to find that by the time they finish your edible favor they will be at the next party stop. Other options - put a sign next to the guest book/bar. If you do decide to spread the message verbally, ask your bridal party and family to share the news with guests as they mingle at the reception.
* What Hosting/Financial Obligations do you Have?
It depends. At any public venue (such as a bar or club) the couple is responsible for any cover charges or room rental fees, but guests will anticipate the need to cover their own expenses. Hosting at a private home, however, will require that you provide all beverages and food - AND ensure that the food is hot/drinks are cold. Just one other reason that a wedding planner is the perfect resource for tips and assistance in creating this unforgettable night.
Alden Blair Events is a boutique wedding planning firm available for weddings throughout New England
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