10 Steps to a Fun After-Party (That Won’t Break the Bank)

Keep the party going after the flower girl has passed out and the band has packed up. Nail down a few key plans for a smooth transition from the reception to late night. First, look at your guest list to determine what kind of after-party you should have: Is your bridal party full of up-all-night revelers or low-key loungers? Then estimate the number of guests who will likely join and figure out if you can host it at your reception venue, a hotel suite, a local restaurant or the karaoke bar down the street. Throw in a few inexpensive extras (like midnight snacks and morning-after treats) and you’re good to go. Read our wedding after-party primer, then check off the 10 simple planning tips below to host your own!

1. Reserve a cozy spot where you can dance, talk and relax with after-partygoers.

From the album: An Elegant Island Wedding in Lanai, HI

2. Choose one or two (inexpensive) decor elements that pop. 

3. Repurpose your wedding flowers as decoration!

From the album: A Rustic Orange Wedding in Mt. Hood, OR

4. Serve late-night (read: fried) food favorites.

5. Set up speakers and be your own iPhone DJ (or make your own music!).

From the album: A Modern Rustic Wedding in Lancaster, PA

6. Set up a group activity like a card game or home karaoke machine.

From the album: A Formal Glam Wedding in Seattle, WA

7. Since your photographer is off the clock, let guests capture the moment with Polaroids and disposable cameras.

From the album: A Rustic Destination Wedding

8. Arrange transportation for you and your guests to get back to the hotel.

From the album: A Classic Rustic Wedding in Beverly, MA

9. Send revelers home with a breakfast treat for the morning (plus water and Advil!).

From the album: A Bright Summer Wedding in Corbett, OR

10. Say good-bye whenever you want– you’ve had a long day!

From the album: A Vintage Country Wedding in Nashville, TN

See More!

> Wedding reception after-party primer

> The ultimate list of 90s wedding songs

> Lance Bass is planning a pajama wedding after-party?

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  • 03/07/14 at 12:18

    A Fruit Loop donut? Where can I get one of those!!!???

  • Bridget Clegg
    03/07/14 at 12:20

    You’ll have to wait for your birthday and then I’ll make you one :)

  • Alex S.
    03/10/14 at 01:50

    These are great tips for the after party! I love the “send revelers home with a breakfast treat for the morning (plus water and Advil!)” tip haha. To follow up with this after the “after party”, I found this article about the checklist to getting back to real life. Very interesting read http://www.weddingaces.com/2014/03/a-back-to-real-life-post-wedding-checklist/

  • 03/12/14 at 02:29

    We got married at my parent’s farm. I arranged for our open bars to be set up as self service after our vendors left. This allowed the party to continue way beyond 9pm when the caterers were finished. I also did my table and linen rentals different so that the tables wouldn’t be broken down while my guests were still around. We hired shuttles as well so that everyone was safe and then the party continued at a local bar next to the hotel.

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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