There are no rules, wedding planning professionals agrees, when it comes to an after party — including whether you should host one. It's just a matter of deciding if you want one in the first place. And luckily, we've gathered the pros to break down your decision-making process.
First, "know your crowd," says Betsy Krug, event director and co-owner of Rebecca Rose Events in North Carolina. "Couples can ask themselves, 'when the reception is over, will our family and friends want to continue the party?'" If you've got a resounding "yes," then "an after party is could be just the ticket!" Still not quite sure which way your crowd will lean? "College friends or family members who traveled for the celebration and don't get to see each other very often are typically the guests who want to continue the celebration into the wee hours," she says.
__See more: Wedding After Party Etiquette __
You also have to consider the cost. While you likely won't foot your guests' bar tab at an after party, "some couples may need to put down a deposit to reserve space at the hotel, bar, or whatever other location they choose, in addition to transportation costs," says Christina Hill, owner of Chill Weddings in Philadelphia. Some couples go above and beyond, Hill says, and offer on-the-house snacks such as "mini cheese steaks or large pretzels or other local goodies," which can add up fast.
And don't forget: Just because you want an after party doesn't mean you'll be allowed to host one. Before you book, be sure to ask your venue or check with a city clerk to see "if there is a noise ordinance in place that would prohibit a late-night after party, or find out until what time you are allowed to occupy the space," says Amy Mancuso, owner of Amy Mancuso Events in Phoenix.
If you're leaning toward saying "goodbye" to guests on the early side, don't stress. "Sparklers and a getaway car are the perfect romantic ending for some newlyweds," says Krug. "Brides and grooms should feel confident in their decision to call it a night after the reception, if that's what they would like. Simply put, after parties aren't for everyone!"