So you’ve chosen a destination wedding. But on the fence as to whether or not to host a party back home after the wedding? Is it too expensive? What’s expected? What’s proper etiquette for inviting guests? Bottom line, you want to know- is your post destination wedding reception worth having?
Post Destination Wedding Reception
There are different reasons for having a post destination wedding reception. But let’s first make sure you’re headed on the right path to your “after party.” Wedding receptions are a time to celebrate the newly married couple. A time to eat, drink, and party (whatever that looks like to you)! Read below for the three post wedding reception points- Affordability, Expectations, and Etiquette to see if an “after party” is right for you.
Before you commit to a home reception, make sure you have room for it in your budget. Depending on the size of your guest list, the amount will differ, but a fair price point is to expect to spend roughly $10/person. That price includes light food, drinks, simple decor, and cake. Of course, that number is loose and you can add or subtract according to your level of food & entertainment. If you’re looking a restaurant for your after party price will remain close to the $10/person mark. Any venue space will add thousands in rental fees to your budget(think not just the space but also tables, linens, caterer…). So it’s best to keep it simple at home or an affordable restaurant/private room. And while we’re talking money saving tips, you can read here about how to keep your overall destination wedding budget under control.
The main purpose of a post destination wedding reception is to celebrate the bride and groom (NOT a gift donation scheme, see “Etiquette” for more on that). That being said, here are ideas for food, entertainment, and decor for a home reception to get your guests in party mode:
- Food– Guests should expect some sort of food, drink, and wedding cake. Some ideas:
- Food-Finger foods(chicken tenders, party sandwiches), themed meals (tacos, spaghetti, etc.) You can even get reasonable catering quotes from places like Chipotle, Tijuana Flats, or Chick Fil A
- Drink- Booze or no booze? A few bottles of wine, cooler of beer, and/or a signature cocktail are perfect if you’re going with alcohol. No need for a fully stocked bar, but nice to offer a celebratory drink. Dry reception? Lemonade, tea, soda, and water are staple reception beverages.
- Dessert- Traditional wedding cake is always a winner. You can also check out these DIY “wedding” desserts
- Entertainment– No need for a DJ, games, and a bag of tricks. Keep it a simple, social event where you get to talk about your big day and enjoy the company of family and friends.
- Photo slideshow/album. Smilebox is a great resource for creating slideshows and is very user friendly (for both Mac and PC users). You don’t need a degree in graphic design or editing to make a quality slideshow.
- Decor- You can really find some simple decor at affordable prices to add a little wedded touch. No need to go full Pinterest wedding mode here. A nice touch here and there will set a perfectly wedded party mood. A beach/nautical themed “Just Married” or “Mr. & Mrs.” banner is a great touch. Fresh flowers are also festive and fun decor!
Who to invite: Give your guest list some thought. Are you inviting a large group? Only those who were invited to the wedding, including those who couldn’t make the wedding? Maybe you eloped and you want to have a family/close friends gathering. It’s up to you how big or small you make your home reception. But, as with any wedding, consider those closest to you and avoid making it just an opportunity to receive a bunch of gifts. Those closest to you will likely shower you with gifts, but that shouldn’t be the motive for hosting your party.
When to invite: If you’ve given this a lot of thought ahead of time, you can make mention of it on your invitations. Otherwise, a simple e-vite is cheap/free and simple.
Thank you: Thank your guests for coming. An elaborate speech isn’t necessary but a formal announcement of gratitude is an appropriate gesture. And of course, thank you cards for any gifts received is standard practice.
Are you having your dessert before dinner? Planning your post party BEFORE your destination wedding?? Click HERE to book your elopement, wedding, or vow renewal today!