Photo Credit: @melissamarshallx
The wedding’s over. The band has played their last song of the night (God help us if it’s ‘The Last Dance.’ No). And you’re officially released from the gaze of your photographer. Sure, you can call it a night - all of your friends and fam are sure to understand, especially when wedding night sex is on the table (or on the floor….) - but if you can rally just a litttttle while longer, we promise, you won’t regret having an after party. Two hours, tops, and you can tap out whenever you want!
I’m a huge proponent of the post-party hang, and had a pretty informal after party following my own wedding way back when. To be honest, it was probably the first time I was able to sip a drink longer than a few seconds all day - and I needed it really badly.No matter how you do it - whether your venue offers extended hours options as an added perk or whether you’ll be maxing out the hotel bar with your besties or directing the crew somewhere off-site, it’s just a great way to keep the momentum going. There’s really nothing worse than your emcee saying ‘good night’ and everyone rushing home or calling it quits - leaving you and your new Mr. or Mrs. with just the slightest twinge of post-wedding blues. It comes out of nowhere, quickly, seriously.
So here are a few other reasons why you might want to keep the good vibes coming. After all, what goes better with your best day ever than a best night ever? You’ll make it back to your room to get cozied up in pajamas at some point…
And disclaimer, if it’s not in your budget, then it’s totally okay - if your guests want to keep partying, we’re sure they’ll find a way.
You want to have a wardrobe changeI’m pretty sure I was a few minutes late to my own after party, because I was OVEEEEERRRR wearing my wedding dress and wanted to throw on some yoga pants and a tank top before continuing on with the fun. I couldn’t wait to rock something athleisure after being in a corseted dress all damn day. And I’m positive there are quite a few more brides like me out there. But an after party gives you an opportunity to show up in something entirely different than what you wore all day. So, why not pull a Paris Hilton, and choose something a little more out there for your last look of the night? Her wedding gown is a total question mark at this point, but she did tell People that she’d probs be going Moschino for her after party dress. Something short? Something with sparkle (if you didn’t do embellishments during the day)? Something colored? Something that involves sneakers, a la Serena Williams’ NoLa nuptials.
Photo Credit : @allanzepedaphotography
You want the time to chill with your squad
As much as anyone will tell you that you’ll have time to relax with your friends and fam at your wedding, once you’ve had all your portraits taken, you’ve danced your dances, laughed and cried during the speeches and done your rounds thanking all of your guests - many of whom you don’t even know, you’re just being polite, gracious and making a good impression for your parents’ sakes 🤭- you really don’t have too much time to catch up with your bridal party or friends who made the trip to see you tie the knot. You’re lucky if you have a 5 or 10-minute run-in with one of your people in the bathroom, when you ask her to help you get your dress off to pee. So, if you corral everyone for after party festivities, you can guarantee yourself some quality time with those who mean the most to you.
You want to satisfy your inner foodieOne of my favorite parts of the after party is the food. Consider an after party almost like a second cocktail hour, where you can serve a mini mangia-worthy menu - like sliders, french fries, tacos, funnel cakes, waffles, ice cream, etc. and not have to worry about staining your dress before the reception. And with the photographer retired for the evening (unless you have him or her stay for some snaps of the after session), you don’t have to worry about any unflattering pics of you stuffing your face - although there’s no judgment there, we happen to love candids of brides and grooms being gluttonous on their wedding day 😋. It’s kind of cool, too, if you had a super formal, plated dinner service for your reception. You can go a bit more culinary casual for the next sitting. Or vice versa. Relaxed reception food, followed by a late-night, black-tie tasting - how au courant.
You want to let your guests decompress a bit
Of course, you can have as turnt up a time as you want (keeping in mind safety - if you’re partying off the premises (from where everyone is retiring at the end of the night)), but some of the best after parties are the most low key ones: where you can mellow out the masses instead of inviting them to keep raging. We’re talking setting up some kind of haute hydration station with infused waters and antioxidant-rich, decaffeinated teas - #hellnotohangovers. Queuing up a relaxed Spotify playlist, splurging on a small jazz band (again, only if it’s in your budget) to set the mood, or even bringing your crew to a comedy club if you’re getting married in a metro area. Laughter might just be the best way to bring your entourage down from a dizzying day.
You want to give your best ladies and gentlemen some time to gel
If you won’t be having a post-wedding breakfast or brunch the next day, but still want to give your guests some time to hang - especially if they’ve been bonding at their reception tables - then an after party is a great thing. I’ll speak from experience… at my own wedding, my brother-in-law (hubby’s side) and cousin (my side), who were both in the bridal party, had their own kind of meet-cute and ended up talking over tequila for hours. That happened almost four years ago, and now they’re just-engaged. So, while you’re not at all responsible for sending your solo guests home with a hookup, there’s nothing wrong with letting things unfold as they may… regardless of whether they are or aren’t aided by alcohol…
Photo Credit: @amberphiniseephoto
Or maybe you just need a few hours to kill before you and your spouse head off to the airport for your honeymoon (hold up, though, you don’t want that decision to end up being a wedding regret). Makes sense to keep the fun going if you won’t be getting much sleep anyway, right?
And one last tip to consider. Please
If you have a guest book that guests just happened to miss during the reception, make sure you bring it to your after party. I had a gorgeous guest book that literally got zero entries because it was weirdly displayed during our wedding and packed away before we could even bring it over to our after party. Fail. Fail. Fail.