When couples plan their wedding, so much of the focus is on the ceremony and reception that after parties are often neglected. More often than not, the notion of an after-party may not have even occurred to those planning a wedding. Once the wedding day arrives, it flies by so quickly that the bride, groom and guests are left wishing they could extend the day for just a little while longer. It seems that summer weddings with warm late night weather are especially prone to drawing on into the early hours of the morning.
Weddings are a great gatherings where many of your guests will get to reunite with family and friends that they may not have seen in years. As the reception venue closes, guests are often left trying to figure out those impromptu next steps in the late night hours. This is no easy task when dealing with a group of people large enough to overwhelm any restaurant or bar and no bride wants to be running around in her gown trying to figure out these details at the eleventh hour.
Here are some tips for planning a successful after party:
Choose a Venue
If you are able to stay late at the venue you have chosen for your reception, it is the most seamless transition into an after party. You may want to continue the fun and just tone down the entertainment and alcohol or keep the bar running. Whatever you choose, just be sure that the DJ, bartenders, and any other wedding staff know when they can expect to go home.
If you need to be out of your reception venue by a certain time, you may have to move the party elsewhere. Planning this step is important as many guests will not be in the condition to drive and will need safe transportation. Ideally, you will not have to move too far and guests can walk. If not, it is wise to arrange for limousines to safely get your guests from point A to point B.
You will want to make sure that you have booked the next venue for the after party or made a reservation in order to ensure that there is enough room for all of your guests.
Pick a Budget
If you are going to hold your after-party at a restaurant or bar, be sure to decide who will be paying the tab ahead of time to avoid late night confusion later on.
Your guests would not want to unwittingly leave you with a heavy tab you were not anticipating at the end of the night. They may also want to know who to thank if someone else is footing the bill.
Keep it Casual
Unlike the ceremony and reception, invites to an after-party do not need to be formal. It is important that guests understand that the after party is optional and they do not feel pressured to attend. Some guests may have flown in for the wedding and be suffering from jet lag while others need to leave earlier to be with their children.
At the same time, no one wants to be left out so ensuring that everyone is aware of the after party is paramount. After-parties are supposed to extend time with family and friends not offend them.
Provide Light Snacks
You do not need to provide a big meal for after party attendees, but they may have worked up an appetite after all of the drinking and dancing during the reception. Fruit, vegetable, and cheese platters are great for late night bites.
Not only will providing snacks curb your guests ‘appetite’ it will also help prevent them from getting too intoxicated.
Change Your Clothes
Wearing a wedding dress all day and night and keeping it white can be a challenge. You may not want to wear your wedding dress at an after party venue like a bar where it can easily become ruined. Choose an after-party dress ahead of time. A cute white cocktail dress is a perfect pick for an after-party. This is a great opportunity to be a bit more playful and have some fun with your style.
Grooms may want to change into a shorter sleeved dress shirt or leave their tuxedo jacket behind. It is easy to change up a groom’s’ look by adding a bow-tie or suspenders.
You don’t have to go all out to make an after party feel festive. You may want to add some balloons in your wedding colors or have the groomsmen and bridesmaids carry a few key pieces over from the reception venue to the after party venue.
For those who adore décor, the after-party presents yet another opportunity to be creative and wow your guests. You may want to choose a theme that is entirely different from your reception to surprise your guests.
Have an End Time
All good things must come to an end- even after parties. The venue you’ve chosen for your after party likely has a cut off or closing time. Bars that serve hard drinks in Portland, Oregon have to close up by 2:30 AM. Begin your thank yous and goodbyes thirty minutes before the cut off to ensure that you have time to express your gratitude without being in a rush.
Again, you will want to make sure all of your guests get back to their hotels or homes safely. You may want to book limousines for groups that are staying at the same hotel and reserve taxis ahead of time.
Keep the Camera Rolling
There are many candid moments that happen during after parties that are worth capturing. You may want to ask your wedding photographer to stick around for the after party. If your photographer cannot stick around that late you may wish to book an additional photographer just for the after party.
Videography is one of the best ways to make sure precious moments do not pass by uncaptured. While pictures capture moments videos tell stories. Companies such as Pacific Hearts specialize in cinematic wedding videography.
If you are getting married in the Portland, Oregon area you will want to look into booking Pacific Hearts to tell the story of your wedding day from early morning prep with bridesmaids to those final candid moments and goodbyes at your wedding after party. The summer wedding season is a busy time in Oregon and you will want to book far in advance to ensure you get the best videographer booked for your wedding day.