What If a Reception Alone Isn’t Enough? — Tips for a Great After-party

If a lot of your guests are friends with whom you’ve often partied into the early morning hours, there’s every reason to believe they’ll want to keep the party going after your wedding reception is over. Here is some common-sense advice to make your after-party just as memorable as your reception.

Don’t go overboard. You don’t need to plan an after-party as you would a reception; it’ll take care of itself. Just choose a favorite bar and let everyone know the party will continue there when the reception is over.
Don’t make your guests travel. If you’re celebrating your reception in a hotel ballroom, ask in advance if the hotel bar stays open late. Or if you know of a good bar near your reception venue, choose that one, and post simple instructions on how to get there from the reception.
Plan small. Expect maybe a dozen of your closest friends to show up. If 50 people turn out, well, you can deal with it. Unlike a reception venue, you don’t have to guarantee the bar that a certain number of guests will be there.
Plan cheap. You’re not paying for an open bar at the after-party. Your guests will be perfectly happy to buy their own drinks.
Alert your wedding DJ. He can make the announcement about 15 minutes before the end of your reception that there’s going to be an after-party. And after the final song he can repeat the announcement and say where the party will continue. That way, no one will nag the DJ to keep playing because they’ll know the party is moving and continuing.
When is closing time? With a bar, you’ll know there’s a hard end time for your after-party, because the bar will close at 2am, or 4am. So you don’t have to promise your guests that the party will keep going until the last person passes out.
Leave when you want. No one is expecting you to stay through the very end of the after-party, especially since you’ve been running non-stop since you woke up in the morning. Besides, no one will begrudge you wanting to get back to your hotel room to celebrate your big night in more intimate surroundings.
Dress down. You don’t have to attend your after-party in full wedding regalia. Ditch the gown and the tux, and just hang with your friends as you’ve always done.
Finish meeting your guests. If you didn’t get a chance to visit with everyone at your reception, the after-party gives you one more chance.
Just keep in mind, your after-party is just an informal gathering of your closest friends, like dozens before it. There are no rules except, “enjoy yourselves.”

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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