Do We Have to Have a Wedding After-Party?

Whatever you decide, you'll want to give your guests some late-night options!

Updated 03/22/17

Photo by Donna Newman

While the end of the reception used to mean the end of the wedding celebration, that’s no longer the case: More and more couples are choosing to keep that party going late into the night (or the next morning!) with a wedding after-party. They’re totally fun and can be as formal or as low-key as you’d like, but do you actually have to have one? Here’s what our experts have to say.

Whether your wedding budget is tight, your venue is strict, or you’re just not the late-night types, there’s absolutely no need to have a wedding after-party if it doesn’t fit into the vision you have for your big day. Sure, they’re a fun add-on for your guests, but after a day of emotions, excitement, and a ton of socializing, calling it a day around midnight actually sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it?

If you decide not to host a wedding after-party but know some guests will be looking for late-night entertainment, you have a few options. The easiest, of course, is to compile a list of your favorite local bars that will be open late, then let them decide where they’ll want to continue the party. Of course, you can join them if you like (and if you’re not quite ready to take off your wedding dress!), but something this informal means you can opt to head to your newlywed suite whenever you’d like.

Not in an area with a lot of options? When you’re choosing hotels for your room block, see if one of the options has a bar downstairs that your guests can head to, then encourage your after-party-seeking guests to book a room there instead of elsewhere.

When it comes to your planning and budgeting, instead of allocating funds for an after-party, see it as an opportunity to put a little more money elsewhere. Host a morning-after brunch, add a few late-night snacks to your catering order, or upgrade your bar offerings. The choice is yours!

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