Who's Supposed to Pay for the Drinks at Our Wedding After-Party?

Updated 05/02/14

Dylan Don

Just because it's last call doesn't mean the wedding reception has to come to an end. More and more couples are deciding to keep the party going with an after-party, often held at a nearby bar or in a different room at the reception site. But who typically pays for the after-party? If the bride and groom do not have the budget to cover the costs, is it OK to have guests pay for their own drinks? And what's the best way to communicate this information? Our etiquette experts are here to answer your after-party questions in our daily post.

We're having an after-party at a nearby bar once the reception is over. Who is supposed to pay for the drinks?

When the DJ or bandleader announces he's about to play the last song, he or she is almost always met with a chorus of boos from guests who don't want the party to end. So keep the party going by inviting all of your late-night revelers to an after-party, usually held at a bar or venue nearby. In terms of who typically pays for the after-party, there really are no set rules. Your parents may consider it part of the reception and offer to pay for the after-party, too, especially if it's taking place in the same hotel or venue, since it can easily be added to the final bill. Other couples decided to pay for the after-party themselves, regardless of who pays for the wedding. And for couples whose budgets don't allow for several more hours of open-bar boozing, that's totally fine. Chances are there will be many guests offering to slap down their credit cards at the bar, anyway. You might want to include a mention of the after-party on your wedding website; also, ask your wedding party to spread the word about an informal get-together near (or in) your host hotel. You won't be expected to pick up the tab, and guests won't have to travel far once they're ready for bed.

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