Your wedding is one of the largest parties you’ll ever host. This is a day to live it up, let loose, and celebrate the love between you and your partner. While the reception provides some time for celebration, it doesn’t always suffice—why bring the fun to a halt when the reception ends if you don’t have to? Explore what a wedding after-party is, and discover 10 inexpensive ideas for planning your own!
What Is a Wedding After-Party?
A wedding after-party occurs after the reception, allowing you to continue the fun post-nuptials. The couple of the night is in charge of planning, hosting, and usually paying for the celebration—the money to cover the event can be factored into your overall wedding budget to avoid overspending.
Moreover, the after-party usually occurs in a different location than the reception, such as another hall or another venue. For instance, you could move your party to a club, explore the city, or go bowling.
Who Attends the Party?
Most wedding planners advise allowing everyone who attends the reception to join you for the wedding after-party. However, your guest list can vary depending on when and where you host the celebration. If you plan to have the party late at night, some guests may decide not to go because they’ll simply be too tired. Similarly, some people may have young children in tow, meaning they will skip the second celebration in order to care for their kids.
Include all details surrounding the after-party on your wedding invitation or wedding website. This way, guests can RSVP in advance and you’ll have an estimate of how many people to expect at your post-reception bash.
When Do You Plan It?
You should plan your after-party and reserve the venue around the same time you set plans and book rentals for your ceremony and reception. By planning all of these events at the same time, you can add the details to your wedding invitations so all guests remain in the loop and no one mistakenly gets left out.
Why Host an After Party?
Your wedding is a big deal, and no couple wants the night to end with all that high energy still coursing through the crowd. Instead, you can add a few extra hours to your festivities by planning an after-party. Likewise, some reception venues have strict end times; for example, the first party may have to come to a close around 10 o’clock in the evening. By scheduling an after-party, you can continue celebrating until midnight or later to really make the most of your wedding day.
10 Ideas for Your After-Party
Your after-party should be just as exciting as the reception to maintain the high energy that started earlier in the day. Some celebratory ideas to consider include:
- Hanging out at the venue
- Hiring some food trucks
- Planning a pizza party
- Planning an outdoor adventure
- Boarding a party bus
- Going to a rooftop bar
- Going bowling
- Exploring the city
- Hosting a bonfire
- Partaking in karaoke
Not sure which option to choose? Below, we’ve detailed all 10 inexpensive ideas to help you plan your wedding after-party.
Hanging Out at the Venue
While some venues have specific end times, others don’t put a strict limitation on your time spent there. Alternatively, you may be able to move somewhere else within the venue if they only require that you vacate a certain room after a designated time. For instance, your reception may be inside a hall, but you could book an outdoor patio for the after-party. This allows for a smooth, easy transition and change of pace as you go from one part of the wedding to the next.
Hiring Some Food Trucks
You can’t go wrong with a food truck celebration, as this allows you and your guests to enjoy a range of nighttime treats. Since most after-parties occur later at night, it can be tough to decide whether to choose hors d’Oeuvres or a late-night snack to be served at your wedding. By offering hors d’Oeurves at cocktail hour and a midnight snack with the help of food trucks, you can keep your guests full and happy all day.
When selecting food trucks for your party, decide whether you want to offer a specific type of food, such as tacos, gourmet burgers, or pastries, or a wider range of options. Additionally, talk to the venue manager to ensure they allow food trucks on the premises where you’ll hold the after-party.
Planning a Pizza Party
If food trucks aren’t your style—but you still want to enjoy some delicious food—pizza is a classic option. Depending on the venue, you can stay in the same space as your reception, or you can move to a different hall or go to an Airbnb and let everyone fill their bellies. Some fan-favorite pizzas to consider include:
- BBQ Chicken
Order your pizzas from a local pizza shop or chain you love to ensure you satisfy your tastebuds. To prevent overspending, base the number of pizzas you provide on how many guests RSVP—most restaurants can help you determine how much pizza to order. Encourage guests to take any leftover pizza with them so nothing goes to waste!
Planning an Outdoor Adventure
If your wedding occurs in the morning or early afternoon, enjoy some time outside with guests after the reception. For beach weddings, this could mean participating in activities on the sand or in the ocean. Similarly, if you tie the knot in an outdoor garden, walk around the grounds and spend time socializing with your friends and family.
Boarding a Party Bus
Nothing creates a celebratory atmosphere quite like a party bus. This is the perfect option if you have a smaller guest list, as a bus usually accommodates up to 40 people. Although, you could rent multiple buses if you have a larger guest list, and have each of the drivers provide a private tour of the city.
Going to a Rooftop Bar
Crank up the after-party by celebrating at a rooftop bar. Bars and clubs already have an atmosphere that makes it easy to let loose, and you’ll have beautiful views of the city when you host your bash on a rooftop. Depending on your budget, you can make it an open or cash bar; you could also utilize both options by offering an open bar only for a set amount of time.
Bowling is always fun, and when you book a few hours at the lanes with friends and family, you’re sure to amp up your post-reception celebration. Your guests will have a great time enjoying a drink, socializing, and testing their bowling skills.
Exploring the City
Another option for morning or mid-day weddings is to spend the evening exploring the city you said “I do” in. You could combine this with other after-party ideas by going to a rooftop bar or bowling. Moreover, if you have a destination wedding, you could also rent transportation, such as a double-decker bus, to experience a professional city tour.
Hosting a Bonfire
Nothing beats a pairing like booze and s’mores! After your reception, go to your house or rent an Airbnb for a bonfire with all your guests. Depending on your budget, you could add other ideas, such as a pizza party to ensure everyone has enough to eat. You could also put out various lawn games for guests at your backyard after-party to entertain your friends and family.
Partaking in Karaoke
If you or your partner are passionate about singing, karaoke is perfect for your after-party. You could rent out space in a karaoke bar and invite guests along for singing, dancing, and delicious food. Alternatively, you could rent or buy a karaoke set and stay at your reception venue to save money on transportation.
Final Note: Have Fun
Your wedding is one of the greatest days of your life, and the party shouldn’t stop at the reception if you don’t want it to. The after-party can be as high-energy or low-key as you want since this is your day and you make the rules. Talk with your partner about how much you’re comfortable spending for the entire event, then begin ironing out the details to plan your perfect day. Tying the knot is the best reason to party the night away!