On your wedding day, timing is everything. There's so much to fit in, and having a timeline that moves smoothly means your guests will always be entertained instead of left waiting for the next event. One piece of timing you can't control, however, is the hours at your venue. Whether it's a city ordinance or the owner's preference, even some of the most fantastic spaces might require that you turn off the music at 10 p.m. and send your guests packing. You might immediately think “After-party!” but does an early end time mean you've got to plan an entire thing after the main event? Here's what our experts have to say.
The best way to work with a venue that has an early curfew is to work backwards from when they need you to turn on the lights. This will allow you time for dancing, dinner, and your ceremony to give you the full day you're really hoping for. Don't forget to account for travel time if your ceremony and reception are in separate spaces.
If you know you won't be done celebrating for the evening, an after-party at a different location is a great way to keep the festivities going. It could be an elaborate event with its own decor, entertainment, and late-night snacks, or it could be as simple as reserving a space at your favorite local bar (or taking over the whole thing for the night!). You will definitely want to offer transportation for your guests to get them there; at this point in the evening, they'll have had a few drinks, and it's better to splurge on shuttles to make sure they're safe than to worry about anyone driving. If vans don't fit in your budget, look into getting a discount code with a local cab company or a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber for your guests to use so they can get around without breaking the bank.
Not sure how you'll feel after such a full day? Instead of planning an after-party, provide your guests with suggestions for a few of your favorite local spots, whether they're looking for a nightcap or an all-nighter. Then, as your reception comes to a close, decide where you'll be heading and spread the word! Can you imagine how fun it will be to roll up to your go-to beer bar, decked out in a wedding dress and with an entourage in tow?