Should You Have A Wedding After-Party?

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

Late-night bridal bashes are on the rise

All married couples say the wedding day goes by in a flash – but there is a way to prolong the celebrations: by throwing an after-party. According to Etsy, glitzy, all-out after-parties are one one of the biggest wedding trends of the moment, with brides and grooms-to-be using the platform to source jazzy decor and accessories. Tempted? Here’s how to decide if a wedding after-party is for you, plus some inspiration if you decide to go ahead with it.

What Is A Wedding After-Party?

A wedding after-party is a celebration which directly follows your wedding reception. It could be held at a different venue to the main event, or in another part of the venue, and usually includes late-night food, drinks, dancing and entertainment.

Tipi at a wedding

Getty Images

Why Have A Wedding After-Party?

Many venues in the UK have restrictions on how late you can serve drinks and play music, meaning often the reception has to end earlier than you and your guests would like. An after-party is a great way to keep the fun going, and make the most of your special day. 

It can also be a nice way to let loose after a more formal wedding event. Plus: it’s an excuse for an outfit change! If you’ve spent the day in a long bridal gown, it can be a relief to swap it for a more relaxed evening look – a short dress, perhaps? Check out brands like Halfpenny, Rixo and Nadine Merabi (we’ve rounded up some ideas here). Wedding after-parties are a great opportunity to get creative with decor, too. Etsy has reported a 195 percent increase in searches for wedding party decor: think disco balls, neon signs, streamers and champagne towers.

On the other hand, if your venue stays open late (until 1am or 2am), an after-party may end up being a waste of time and money. Weddings tend to start at around lunchtime, so after 12 hours of partying, you’ll find lots of guests (and, indeed, the bride and groom themselves) may be ready for bed by the early hours.

And, of course, there’s the question of budget. However big or small, an after-party will add an extra cost, so it’s worth making sure you have the funds to throw the event you’re envisaging. 

Who Should Be Invited?

Although wedding after-parties are a relatively new trend, the general etiquette is that everyone who attends the reception should be invited. Naturally, some guests will choose not to attend, and the type of venue or event you plan will dictate who the after-party will most appeal to. Rather than doing separate invites, you can add the details to your wedding website, or simply tell your guests via word of mouth. 

Bride and groom leaving their wedding with sparklers

Where Should You Host The After-Party?

This really depends on your venue. If you’re hosting the wedding at an exclusive-use venue, look for other rooms or areas where you could move the party to for a change of pace. If your venue closes at 10pm or 11pm, you’ll need to move the event elsewhere: a late-night bar, a club or a private house are all good options. It’s important to find somewhere close to the reception venue, to avoid that travelling lull which could result in people losing interest and dropping off. And if you are moving venues, be sure to organise transportation in advance (party bus, anyone?).

Naturally, you’ll have lots more options if you’re getting married in a city. Many of the UK’s country wedding venues are in rural areas, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a club nearby. However, these larger, more isolated venues often have a variety of areas to choose from – perhaps there’s a tipi in the garden? Or a smaller room which you can turn into a mini disco? If you and your guests are all staying at the same hotel, it’s worth asking if they have any areas for hosting the after-party, or they may be able to leave the bar open a little later for you.