Ask the Expert: How Can I Throw an Affordable After-Party?


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Question: We like the idea of having an after-party but it’s not in our budget to have guests frequenting the open bar for several hours after the reception. Is there a more informal, affordable way to keep the partying going?

Answer: There are plenty of options when it comes to hosting an after-party that won’t blow your budget, says Kelsey Gilland of Chester County’s A Little Soireé, and inquiring with the hotel where your guests are staying is a great place to start. “We’ve had many couples utilize the bar or special event space at their host hotel for a post-reception party; some hotels allow you to bring in your own snacks and refreshments and you’re only responsible for paying the fee for use of the room.” Gilland has also worked with a couple who reserved the pool area of their hotel so their guests could enjoy a late-night swim—everyone was encouraged to bring along their own drinks and swimsuits.

To keep it really informal, you can also invite your guests to continue the festivities at a local bar (preferably one that’s located close to the hotel so everyone can get back safely). If you call ahead, they may be able to arrange a group special for the evening.

Once you’ve decided on a party location, Gilland suggests spreading the word through social media (as a Facebook event, for example) or by putting in on the schedule of activities on your wedding website. You can also alert your guests by including a sign on the bar or in your hotel welcome bag.

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