A wedding is one of the most important days in a couple’s life. It’s that moment where you tie the knot, say “I do”, and seal your love with a kiss. But there are so many things to plan!
A wedding is a beautiful and memorable occasion, but it’s not over once you walk down the aisle. The best way to end your perfect day is with an after-party for all of your closest friends and family members! Planning an after-party can be a little tricky, so we’ve put together some tips that will help make it as easy as possible.
Planning your wedding is a lot of work, but what do you do after? The party doesn’t stop when the last guest leaves. Sometimes it’s nice to have some alone time with your spouse, and other times you might want to dance until the sun comes up.
There’s a lot of pressure to plan the perfect wedding day, but what about the after-party? Planning your wedding is a big responsibility, and if you’re not careful, it can end up costing you more than you planned.
Therefore, it’s important to consider all aspects of your wedding, including what will happen during the reception when people are looking for their next drink or dance partner.
Planning your wedding can be stressful and time-consuming. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, so you don’t burn out. When it comes to the after-party, you should keep a few things in mind when planning what will happen once the cake is cut and the dance floor opens up.
It may be the last thing you think about, but it is also one of the most important aspects of your wedding. The after-party is not just for celebrating with family and friends but also a chance to relax, unwind and reconnect with your partner.
This blog post will give you some helpful tips on planning an after-party that both you and your guests will enjoy!
If this sounds like something you would want to read more about, then please continue reading below.
Why Have a Wedding After-Party?
“Many venues have licensing-related time restrictions on how late drinks can be served and music can be played,” says Valentina Ring, Head of Storytelling at wedding and elopement planner The Stars Inside.
“This is one of the primary reasons why many couples who love the idea of continuing the celebrations into the early hours might hire an area of a bar or club for an intimate after-party. Many of the couples I’m working with love the idea of a post-wedding bash, particularly if their guest list includes a younger crowd made up of friends they haven’t seen in a long time.
“Hosting an after-party is another opportunity to make memories with their loved ones, to personalise and elevate the guest experience, and to have a fun time together when everyone is relaxed and letting loose!”
If you love nothing more than shaking it into the early hours, then without an after-party, you might feel you’ve missed out on what you consider to be an essential part of the day.
However, you risk losing momentum if you don’t have a plan – which is where planning one ahead of time comes into its own. But, of course, if one emerges naturally, that’s great too!
Bear in mind that if your venue has a late license until 1 am or 2 am, an after-party that day might not be worth it – you’re bound to get lots of guests sneaking off to bed. If you’re going to save some budget for an after-party, how about spending it on a post-reception celebration the next day?
The festivities can continue with either the whole guest list or a closer-knit group of friends and family. It’s another opportunity for you to continue your big day, create more memories and round off a lovely weekend.
The Best Wedding After Party Ideas
After the reception has officially ended, the after-party begins! You can do many different ideas – whether it’s something more relaxing like a late-night movie showing or a boozy visit to a club. See which one of these feels right for you and your guests.
If you’ve got exclusive use of your wedding venue, chances are there are plenty of spaces on-site for you to utilise. So why not invite guests to join you in a drawing-room, library or separate tipi for a chilled-out nightcap?
It’s a great chance for you to finally sit down and catch up with guests after a hectic day or enjoy a drink with your new spouse.
If all your guests are heading to the same hotel for the night (you could even be at a hotel venue), see if the hotel bar can stay open later for you.
Alternatively, book out an area of a nearby pub or bar. You may need to put a deposit down for this, but you do not have to make it an open bar situation. Do what fits within your budget.
2. Movie Screening
If your venue requires you to cut the music early due to its location or local regulations, why not create an after wedding disco screening space?
Guests can cosy up with a drink, rest their dancing feet and chill out in front of a movie. Make it one of your favourite movies as a couple for an extra personal touch.
3. Name in Neon
Searching for the perfect décor for your after-party venue? We love this custom neon sign from Neon Poodle, complete with the couple’s last name.
If your guests are in the mood to sing and perform, karaoke is a fun way to turn the spotlight onto them for the balance of the evening.
Hire a DJ who offers karaoke if you can stay on late at your venue or make a reservation at a karaoke bar. Alternatively, what about hiring a pop-up karaoke booth, like this one Lucky Voice?
5. Saxophone Send-Off
Lead the way to the post-reception fun with a live musician. This couple tapped Cafolla and Engel to provide modern jazz music for their late-night walk to a local underground dance club.
6. Club Night
If you’re getting married in a city-centre location or are within easy reach of a nearby town or city, you could always head out to a club post-wedding.
Put the idea out there ahead of the day, see who might be up for continuing the celebrations elsewhere, and then book a VIP table. Lots of clubs will be open until 2 am or 3 am on a Saturday, so there’ll be plenty of time to keep dancing.
7. Food Van
Just like at the end of a regular night out, you’ll probably be feeling hungry and ready for something a little bit naughty and delicious when the dancing is over!
Why not hire a street food van or two? Then, you can enjoy late-night pizza, burgers, hot dogs or anything you fancy as you chat to your guests at the end of the night.
8. Milk and Cookies
Make like Olive Events and put an adult spin on a childhood favourite by serving milk and cookies in a shot glass.
9. Silent Disco
If you want to stay at your venue but can’t play music out loud, a silent disco is a perfect compromise. You’ll each get a headset with different music channels, and you can dance to your favourite genre.
The drinks will still be flowing at the after-party, so why not gift guests koozies ahead of the festivities? This bride created these monogrammed versions.
11. Stand Up Comedian
Why not take the weight off your feet and sit down at a comedy show at the end of the evening? Hiring a comedian is a unique and unexpected wedding after-party idea that guests will love.
If your venue won’t let you continue playing loud music, it’s a great idea, but you aren’t ready to stop the laughter and fun.
12. Lounge Area
You don’t have to venture off-site for your after-party. Instead, make like Oui Event Design and set up a small lounge on the edge of your reception area—though it’s a small division, designating a clear after-party space will help guests transition from the reception to the late-night soirée.
Hire out a little speakeasy bar with a secret message or code to get in. Guests will love working out an (easy – we’ve all had Champagne!) clue to get in, and it works so well after a vintage themed wedding. You could even hire a mixologist and turn your hotel suite into a minibar.
14. Witty Saying
Put a celebratory spin on your wedding vows with a witty after-party sign. Neon Republic made this neon “‘Til Death Do Us Party” iteration—the perfect finishing touch to this late-night event’s modern floral décor.
15. Party Bus
If you’re getting hitched in the city, taking guests on tour around the bright lights with some quality tunes is a great way to end the night! Serve up drinks and get the disco lights going too.
16. Snack Packs
Midnight snacks are even better when they’re portable. These takeaway boxes were filled to the brim with fries and soda so that guests could easily transport them to the after-party destination.
17. Coffee and Beignets
Now here’s a tasty way to keep the party going: this couple offered hot cups of coffee and sweet beignets to ensure guests were energised for the post-reception festivities.
18. Monogrammed Jackets
Your new cypher looks pretty on many big-day details, but we’re partial to these custom jackets from Etsy (they featured a monogram by Happy Menocal). They kept these brides warm and stylish at their after-party.
19. Just Married
At your after-party, keep warm and show off your “Just Married” status by emblazoning the phrase onto a custom denim jacket.
20. Throw a House Party
If there aren’t large numbers of you, you might be able to go back to someone’s house for your after party. This is an excellent budget option as you can supply your own alcohol and throw on a Spotify playlist.
If you have a back at your house and you know it could go on late, it’s only polite to warn your neighbours first – they’re unlikely to mind, it’s your wedding day!
21. Hangover Proof
Prepare attendees for a night out ahead of time with a water bottle and Vitamin B (the ultimate welcome wedding gift!). If that doesn’t completely stave off their hangover, a water bottle paired with Advil is an effective follow-up favour.
How To Plan The After-Party
1. Who Do You Invite to Your After-Party?
Ultimately you shouldn’t be picking and choosing who you invite. It’ll sour the whole day for guests if they feel they’ve been left out of the after-party. So instead, Valentina recommends making sure everyone is on the invite list.
“It’s really important to make sure your guests are informed that an after-party is on the agenda – otherwise they may head home and miss it, without even knowing!
Many couples add a small insert to the wedding invitation with details about this, or send a group email closer to the time, once the bookings and decisions have been made,” she says.
If a plan forms organically during the evening, you could ask your DJ to make an announcement on the mic or tell your wedding party to go round the tables and spread the word.
Make sure your guests know they have options too. For example, some might feel in desperate need to put their party feet up and get into bed, so ensure everyone knows it’s absolutely fine to skip the after-party if it’s not for you.
2. Where Should You Throw Your After-Party?
“The most important criteria for your after-party venue are that it’s easily accessible from your reception venue and that it’s suitable for the number of people you expect to have with you,” says Valentina. “I always recommend finding somewhere intimate and cosy so that it feels exclusive and private for your partygoers.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to the actual venue style – it could be a friend’s house, a private room in a bar or hotel, or even a chartered boat!
You could even keep one area of your wedding venue closed off and reveal it as a secret after-party space when the time is right. Silent discos are a fun and popular option for having an after-party at a wedding venue with sound restrictions beyond a certain time.
“There are no set rules when it comes to the location, the décor, or the food and drinks, and most after-parties are fairly informal and laid-back. You can do whatever feels right for you – try to consider what would excite YOU the most!”
3. Should You Book Somewhere For Your After-Party?
“Whether or not you should book ahead depends on how many of your guests you think will be joining you, as well as what kind of venue you’d like your after-party to be in (and how flexible you are on that!),” advises Valentina.
“If you have your heart set on a particularly stylish and hip club in London on the weekend, then booking ahead is definitely a good idea!
Suppose you are having your celebrations in an area with lots of nice locations for drinks and music, and you like the spontaneity of seeing where the night takes you. In that case, that’s fine too – but do keep in mind that your guests may disperse if there isn’t one clear destination for them to head to after the wedding reception.
“Leaving things to chance can pay off sometimes, but of course, there’s also a risk that you don’t find a place you love!”
4. How Much Budget Do You Need?
This really depends on what style of party you have. Guests are already going to be in a great mood following the ceremony and reception, so they won’t be expecting you to splash out on another whole amazing party.
The key things will have good music, drinks available and somewhere to dance. You might have to put down a deposit for an area at a pub or table at a club, but you can also throw an after-party on a budget – you’ll find lots of ideas.
The Best Reception Send Off Ideas
You’ll want to throw an epic end to your wedding celebration that goes out on a high for those heading off to bed and gets everyone else excited for what’s to come.
1. Fireworks Display
Is there a more magical end to a wedding than a fireworks display on the grounds of your venue? Have your wedding DJ or master of ceremonies tell everyone to gather outside before surprising them with a spectacular display.
Add sparklers for an extra fun element and a beautiful wedding photo opportunity.
2. Sparkler Send-Off
“Sparkler tunnels are still a firm favourite when it comes to send-offs at the end of the night and does make for gorgeous photo opportunities, too,” says Valentina.
3. Live Music Procession
“If the location is nearby and can be reached by foot, you could ask a live musician to lead the way to the post-reception revelry,” she suggests. A saxophonist is incredible for creating a party atmosphere.
“You could also have snack packs, hangover kit stations, a glitter bar, or light-up dancing props (hello glow sticks!) waiting for your guests to discover on their way to the party, and maybe even surprise them with a sparkly confetti and balloon drop!” It’s a great way to signal the change from the reception to the after-party.
Day After Wedding After Party Ideas
Not considered doing something the next day? “Hosting multiple-day wedding celebrations is becoming increasingly popular amongst couples, particularly if they are having a destination wedding or an intimate wedding where the focus is on the quantity and quality of time spent together,” says Valentina.
“Late morning brunches, pool parties, and barbeques are wonderful ways of spending that little bit of extra time with your loved ones and listening to all the stories from the night before!
You could also arrange for some low-key, relaxing activities, like massages, spa treatments, or food tasting for guests to opt into if they wish.”
If you fancy going straight to bed after your wedding disco (we wouldn’t blame you, it’s been a long day), then why not invite guests to reconvene the following morning for a post-wedding brunch?
Whether you arrange it with the venue or head to a local café, it’s a great chance to catch up with guests, feed those hangovers and say your goodbyes before you head off on your honeymoon.
2. Sunday Lunch
For decades, the good old British Sunday lunch has been bringing families together, so it’s a total winner for post-wedding get-togethers. Ask your venue if they’re able to organise it or head to the best local pub.
3. Spa Day
After months of wedding planning, a busy build-up and a full-on day, a spa day could be just the thing you need. Treat your bridal party or your closest family members to a relaxing wedding after-party at your local health and wellness centre. Enjoy treatments, a dip in the pool and a spot of lunch – bliss!
We think an after-party is a must for a wedding abroad; guests will likely stick around a little longer to enjoy the destination, so putting on plenty for them to do is a great idea.
Make the most of the weather in sunnier climes with a picnic on the beach or on the grounds of your venue. Make sure to pack plenty of local produce to give guests a true taste of the area!
You can turn it into a pool party, too, if your venue or hotel has a pool. Set up a BBQ picnic, put loads of fun floats in the pool and play relaxing music until the sun sets.
If you’re an active kind of couple, a refreshing walk around a local beauty spot could be a great idea for you. If you’re getting hitched in a rural location, ask your venue for hike suggestions, they may even have grounds of their own for you to explore.
6. Afternoon Tea
Who doesn’t love little tiny sandwiches, scones and tea? Booking afternoon tea at your venue or a nearby hotel is a sure winner with your wedding guests, especially older relatives who may not have been able to stick around for the nighttime wedding antics.
7. Outdoor Games
Got a very competitive group of friends and family? Why not throw a sports day? You can put on a range of outdoor games like croquet, ring toss and giant Connect 4, or organise a big team game of rounders. Those less physically-minded can cheer on from the sidelines with a glass of Pimm’s.