Planning the Ultimate After-Party

Many couples will say that their wedding day flew by so quickly, and they wish it was just a little bit longer. So, what better way to keep the celebration going than by planning the ultimate wedding after-party?

This trend has been around for years as a way to extend the evening and keep partying with loved ones, but more and more engaged couples are saying this is a fun nonnegotiable. Between surprise late-night snacks, continued dancing and more one-on-one with guests, here’s what industry experts have to say about after-parties.

“The wedding after-party was always something that has informally taken place, but making it into a more formal part of your wedding has become more and more popular in the last few years. Emotions are high, and adrenaline is pumping! This is the one night that you should want to last forever, so why not make it last a little longer with an after-party? With so many options for after-party possibilities, choosing something that fits your style and personality is key.” – Christina Lovelace, Lovelace Designs

“Some creative ideas for an after-party definitely include food! You would be surprised by how much guests love those late-night bites. A food truck that pulls up to the event is a memorable way to end the evening—be it pizza or tacos, everyone loves a food truck. Another idea is to serve mini sliders and fries in custom-printed sleeves as individual portions. Mini doughnuts, tiny desserts and bite-size appetizers would be a hit at an after-party to keep the guests dancing the night away.” – Lilia Shatnaya, Plume and Stone Invitation Studio

“Hiring a live band, a live DJ/band combination or even a DJ that is bringing the house down for your reception requires a lot of energy and participation from your guests. With all the energy coming from the entertainment, line dancing and special dances, extending that same vibe for the after-party can be exhausting for your guests. You want your guests to stay until the very end of the night! In this case, we recommend a more chill after-party. Cute seating areas; perhaps bottle service, as if you were at a club; passed bites headed straight for the couches; and those smooth R&B, hip-hop and rap vibes. Your guests won’t want to leave as they’ll be relaxed yet engaged, and most importantly, they’ll be fed. Ladies, those heels can finally come off because you already danced throughout the entire reception!” – Andrea Smith, The Band Method

“A ‘hora loca’ or ‘crazy hour’ is a popular Latin American tradition that can add some excitement after a long day of wedding formalities. The couple can hire dancers, drummers, robots and/or stilt walkers to perform at the start of the after-party and encourage guests to hit the dance floor. Colorful props and accessories—like glow sticks, hats and masks—can be distributed to guests to take it up a notch. It’s a great way to let loose and end the night on a high note.

Couples can also consider incorporating interactive games to engage guests during an after-party. Trivia can be set up in a game show-style format, with teams competing against each other or have individuals play against each other to create a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. Questions can be tailored toward the couple’s relationship or more general questions about history, music or pop culture.” – Victoria Lartey-Williams, Victorious Events NYC

“Create hydrating alcohol alternatives for your after-wedding party. While you want people to have fun, the bar as default is expensive and can depress the party as people go a bit too far. Fun hydrating drinks, low-sugar energy drinks, smoothies, recovery serums and the like can actually make the party more fun by perking people back up while avoiding regrettable incidents and hangovers from those who can’t hold their punch.” – Vijay Goel, 440 Elm

“What better way to reward and celebrate your guests for attending the wedding than by allowing them to show off their skills through a karaoke station? By the time the after-party starts, guests are usually at their peak levels of enjoyment and celebration. They are more likely to want to keep the party going, and a karaoke station is a perfect way to add some variety and reprieve from dancing while still holding everyone’s interest.” – Deliece Knights, Dhalia Events

“The most important part of any after-party is to make it not feel like an afterthought. It doesn’t have to be super formal, and you don’t have to pay for everyone and everything—you just need to have a plan. No one ever wants the fun to end, so put a little—it doesn’t have to be a lot—of thought into where people will go after your wedding is over. It can be the hotel bar, your favorite restaurant or a whole other location. Just make a simple plan for where everyone will meet up after the formal wedding reception ends.” – Julianne Smith, The Garter Girl

After the whirlwind of your Big Day, being able to unwind and let loose with your guests is the ideal after-party. Whether you choose to go all out or stick with a small gathering for a nightcap, the choice is yours!