Wedding after party: group of people singing together

You’ve planned every detail of your big day, and all that’s left is to figure out how you’ll end the night of your nuptials. One popular final celebration is the after-wedding party. A wedding after-party is a celebration that follows the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. It’s a final chance to celebrate with the ones you love and let your hair down. 

Here’s everything you need to know about planning the ultimate wedding after-party.

What’s a Wedding After-Party?

The wedding after-party is different from the wedding day reception, where guests typically sit down for a meal. Instead, it’s more of a casual gathering after all the planned festivities and can last until the early morning.

The after-party is often held at the same venue as the wedding but in a different location. For example, the wedding ceremony may take place along the shores of a lake while the wedding after-party happens on a dance floor outside a lodge on the grounds. 

Other times, the after-party is held at a completely different location. In those cases, transportation may be provided, or guests may be expected to drive to the new location. This is common with weddings at National Parks and destination weddings. It’s also common for weddings where more people are invited to the after-party than the reception.

What to Know When Planning a Wedding After-Party

Wedding after party: back view of a bride and a groom

If you choose to have a wedding after-party, there are a few things to remember when it comes to planning. Here, you’ll find some etiquette tips and advice on who to invite, when to plan the event, and more.

Who Hosts?

In general, whoever is hosting the wedding also hosts the wedding after-party. So if you’re the host, it’s best to consider the after-party costs when drafting your wedding budget.

The wedding after-party usually starts immediately following the reception. However, there may be a small delay if guests have to move to a new location or as they trickle into the entertainment space. 

Who Gets an Invitation?

All guests who are invited to the reception should also be invited to the after-party. It’s common courtesy since these people have taken the time and cost to attend your wedding. You can also invite additional guests you couldn’t accommodate at the reception or ceremony due to budget limitations.

If you’re inviting guests to all of the events, you can include the after-party invite in the same wedding invitation suite. But if some guests are only invited to some events, you can send out a separate invitation.

How to Plan the Perfect Wedding After-Party in 6 Steps

Wedding after party: bride having a toast with her friends

Whether you choose to use a wedding planner or plan the after-party yourself, here is a quick step-by-step guide to planning a wedding after-party.

1. Pick the Location

The first thing to do is decide where you want to host the wedding after-party. You can work with the wedding venue or reception venue to keep the fun going into the wee hours. Keep in mind that some wedding venues will have noise restrictions and closing hours that won’t allow you to party until the next day.

Alternatively, you can pick an entirely new spot for the after-party. For example, a hotel bar offers a low-key venue if guests are all staying in the same place, or you can go all-out with a party bus if your wedding guest list is small. 

Other after-party venues to consider are karaoke bars, nightclubs, and cocktail bars. Or to take the revelry up a notch, you can consider hosting a silent disco bash with a curated playlist at your favorite bar. And if you make it until the early hours of the morning, newlyweds can keep the party going with a breakfast brunch before parting ways with loved ones.

2. Arrange for Food and Drinks

Depending on your chosen location, you may want to consider offering food and drinks. For example, if your wedding planning includes a caterer and you’re having the after-party at the same wedding venue, they may be able to whip up late-night snacks for the guests. Alternatively, guests can order items a la carte at bars and restaurants, so you can save on your budget.

Many post-reception parties also feature an open bar unless you’re planning on heading out to a nightclub or local bar. In general, the hosts will pay for the alcohol if the wedding after-party is at the same venue as the other events of the big day. However, some couples may choose to save money by only paying for the first hour of drinks or only offering one or two drink choices.

3. Plan for Decor

By the time you get to the after-party, the decor isn’t really the main focus, especially if you’re hosting the after-party in the same event space. However, you can do a few small things to change up the look and feel of the room and wedding decor if you want to add pizzazz to the post-wedding celebration.

For example, you might change up the lighting and hand out fun party props like glow sticks, masks, or tiaras. Or you could bring in some cozy furniture to create lounge spaces for guests to unwind.

4. Glam It Up

The after-party is another great opportunity for an outfit change. Switch into a sequin-studded wedding dress for the party, and have your bridesmaids don glittering party dresses. Midi and mini dresses are good options for this after-hours event, and you can save your fancy wedding gown from drink spills and accidents as the night goes on.

5. Snap Memorable Photos

Some of the best wedding photos are captured when guests have let their hair down late in the evening. Everyone is in a great mood and focused on having fun and celebrating your unique love story. While you can hire a photographer to stay all night, you can also save money by providing Polaroid cameras for guests to take their own snaps or designating one of your bridesmaids as the unofficial photo taker.

6. Share the Details With Guests

Once you know what type of wedding after-party you’re hosting, be sure to share the details with your guests. You can include the information right in your wedding invite if all of the guests are invited or send out a new piece of stationery if you’re including additional guests. You can also have details on the after-party on your wedding website.

3 of Our Favorite Wedding After-Party Invitations

If you’re going to send out wedding-after-party invitations, you can send a design similar to what you’re using in your wedding stationery suite. Of course, you can also pick out a completely different design if you want to mix things up. Here are some of our favorite wedding-after-party invites.

1. Party of the Year Invitation

Party of the Year Invitation

Design: Creo Study

This colorful invite is all about having fun. Use it to invite guests to your wedding after-party, bridal shower, or big day.

2. Rose Gold Confetti Invitation

Rose Gold Confetti Invitation

Design: Lissa Anglin

This gold foil and watercolor invite is ideal for laid-back get-togethers like your post-wedding celebration. It’s festive and slightly formal without being too stuffy — sure to get guests ready for a fun night celebrating romance!

3. Party Vows Invitation

Party Vows Invitation

Design: Hooray Creative

This cheeky invitation will have guests ready to party and whoop it up until the late hours of the morning. Available in several colorways, it’s easy to match it to your wedding stationery and party decor. 

Plan the Perfect Wedding After-Party

With these wedding after-party ideas, you’re sure to cap off the biggest day of your life with a memorable celebration. Start by choosing a location and then plan the details like food, decor, and entertainment.

From the engagement to the rehearsal dinner and all the big day festivities, Greenvelope can help you with your stationery needs. Be sure to check out our huge selection of wedding stationery and our blog, where you’ll find more wedding planning tips.