More and more commonly newlyweds are seeking to extend their nuptial festivities beyond the confines of the reception. Especially with the likelihood that some guests have traveled, and some you haven’t seen for quite some time, the addition of the after-party allows a less formal, and more personal opportunity to connect with your guests. So what should you do?
Know your crowd. While you should avoid making the afterparty exclusive, try to develop an idea of who will an who will not attend. Of course, you would expect your wedding party and their significant others, and immediate family to come along. Invitations are discouraged, but conversations can surely happen. Once you have a rough idea of the crowd, you can move on to the place.
It is always safer to choose a place with where an exact headcount is not necessary. You can usually rent out part of a hotel bar or restaurant, or the more traditional bridal suite, without a firm headcount. If the hotel has a kitchen you can also arrange catering on site or order out for food if the establishment allows. Try to avoid places that want to charge you by the person. While great for the house, you will inevitably end up getting charged for guests who only stop by for a moment.
Another idea is to organize an activity, like miniature golf, that is fun for all ages and affords an opportunity to mingle. This type of informal gathering is easier to afford and is entirely open to whomever wants to attend. For a smaller group, maybe a trip to a comedy club or live music venue will do the trick. And how about checking to see if any local fairs or carnivals will be in town? These are usually great places to blow off steam and really let your hair down. The whole wedding party shooting water guns into a clown’s mouth is a pretty good antidote for the stress of the big day. You can also ask your reception venue if they can either accommodate an after party or suggest another suitable location.
It circumstances allow, some couples opt to host another party the next day. This can be a simple BBQ at home, or a more involved, catered affair. Of course, these options will require more advanced planning.
These, or any other choices are best discussed with your wedding planner in advance. Their experience and expertise in party planning applies not only to wedding receptions, but to bridal showers, baby showers, and yes, after parties, too.