The Party Isn’t Over Yet: Using Event Planning Courses to Master the Afterparty
Your clients probably just hired you to plan the ceremony and reception. After that, they probably didn’t think twice about using your services to plan an afterparty! But in an age where some afterparties turn into all-night ragers for over 50 people, your expertise is invaluable. Keep reading for some tips and tricks for planning the perfect afterparty using your event planner training!
Planning logistics for an afterparty seems easy. After all, compared to the actual wedding and reception, it’s not as involved of a process! But when you need to account for drunk guests and noise restrictions, a little forethought goes a long way. Especially if the wedding occurs on a Saturday, hitting the club with 30 guests without reserving tables could mean being shut out altogether.
Ask your clients what they want for their afterparty. You’re not a mind-reader! Yes, you have a couple wedding and event planning courses under your belt. But it doesn’t mean that you can anticipate what your clients are envisioning for their post-reception bash! Go over the details of the party like would with the reception. Ask them how many people they expect to attend the event. You should discuss other logistics such as time and budget, too. While this party is supposedly laid back and more casual, some party components do require your attention to detail!
The tone of the afterparty
Usually, the afterparty is more relaxed. After all, the pressure is gone! The official ceremonial aspects of the wedding are complete. After the alcohol starts flowing, the atmosphere of the reception starts to become more easy-going.
Ask your clients how wild or low-key they want the gathering to be. More often than not, the bride and groom are probably exhausted after such a long day. Meanwhile, other couples want a more traditional wedding and reception but want their afterparty to become bottle-popping blowouts.
From your courses, you’ve learned how to conduct your client consultations. Your communication skills are your biggest asset. Even if you just have an idea of the tone to work with, it gives you a good indication of how much you can do for them when you’re planning the rest of their wedding. The budget, location, food and drink, and transportation possibilities will unravel throughout the main reception’s planning process.
Ensuring numbers & budget planning
For the budget, factor it into your plans as soon as you know the afterparty won’t be held just at a friend’s home. And no, you can’t just reallocate the contingency fund! You never know when something might go wrong before, during, or after the celebrations. So don’t cut into that fund! Instead, re-evaluate the event’s priorities with your clients. It will sway their decision if they find they need the budget allocated elsewhere.
If the afterparty is receiving a cut of the budget, you’ll want to make sure that it’s worth the money. Even if you don’t have the details ironed out, briefly mention the party on the wedding invites and see what interest there is. Then on the day of, have the DJ or a member of the wedding party take the mic to make an announcement towards the end of the reception. If nobody is going to show up to the afterparty except 4 people, use your judgment to advise your clients about potential activities and locations. When some couples budget upwards of $8000 on just an afterparty … you’ll want to know that there’s demand for it!
Food & Drink
We know, we know. The afterparty immediately follows the reception where a full meal was served! But some bride and grooms hardly have any time to sit down, let alone eat during the reception. Couples are busy making the rounds to thank their guests and converse with their relatives. They’re probably starving by the time reception winds down. They’ll thank you for having a few hot and cold platters of food—or even a few X-Large pizzas on standby!
As for alcohol, guests have probably had a great deal to drink since cocktail hour. Make sure you always provide alternative drink options. Mock-tails, soda, and plenty of water! You may wish to keep the bartenders on hand for the afterparty if it’s held at the same venue or at another room in the building. Be sure that this is outlined in the contract. Your catering staff might be charging a pretty penny for overtime work. You don’t want your clients to be slapped with an unexpectedly huge bill at the end.
If your clients want their afterparty to be held back at a friend’s or relative’s private property, your job is basically done. But if they want to hit up another venue? With some many people drunk, you’ll want to make sure the new location is easy to get to. As we mentioned before, the budget may restrict the venue locations available. You can first consider hosting the afterparty at the same reception venue. But you’ll have to inquire about whether they have a strict cut-off time for noise. You may be able to score a deal with them to move to another room or location on the same property and continue the festivities.
If they want to move to a bar, reserve them a couple tables ahead of time. Other options include arcade bars or karaoke rooms for a unique experience. From your courses, you know timing is everything. Ask management when last call is. If the reception runs late, you don’t want to shuttle everyone to the afterparty with only 15 minutes to spare until they stop serving!
Arrange for transportation
For a cost-effective transportation plan, have the afterparty walking distance from the reception. This way, people returning to their hotels to freshen up won’t be discouraged by the distance to return. It’ll also make the roads a lot safer—no DUIs under your watch!
Alternatively, arrange for shuttles that take people from the reception to the afterparty and from the afterparty back to the hotel. This strategy is especially handy for destination weddings. When you’re already booking up blocks in hotels, you’ll be able to gather up everyone and return them safely. Otherwise, old-school designated drivers and a fleet of cabs and Ubers will do the trick!
Got more tips on how to plan the perfect afterparty? Let us know!