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The Ultimate "After Party"

By Caroline Sessoms

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

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Dreaming of a destination wedding? Hesitating because you don’t want to exclude extended family or friends? Hesitate no more! Hosting a party to celebrate your marriage upon your return from the wedding and honeymoon is the perfect solution.

The Plan

What if the French chateau or the secluded Caribbean isle that you’ve dreamed of can’t accommodate all of your extended family and friends? Rather than exclude them altogether, trim the destination wedding guest list to include just your closest friends and relatives and invite the rest to a post-wedding party to be held a few weeks after you return from the honeymoon.

The Pros

It’s a win-win: You and your fiancé get the intimate, faraway wedding you wanted without sacrificing the chance to share your newlywed happiness with a larger circle of friends. Plus, knowing that there will be another opportunity to celebrate can alleviate stress for those invited to the wedding but unable to make the trip due to financial or time restraints.

The Paper

Set clear expectations via invitations to avoid confusion and hurt feelings. A few guidelines:
Send out separate invitations to the wedding and post-wedding party.
On the wedding invitation, state that a post-wedding party will take place. Those who receive wedding invitations should also be sent an invitation to the party.
On the party invitation, make it clear that the wedding has already taken a place. For example “Please join us to celebrate the recent marriage of Jane Smith to John Doe…”

The Party

A post-destination wedding party is exactly that—a party! Take advantage of the fact that it isn’t bound by the same traditions and expectations as a normal wedding reception and plan what you please, whether that’s a swanky sit-down dinner or a backyard barbecue, no wedding gown or cake required.

The Pictures

To help your guests feel more included in your wedding, share moments from the big day. Set up a digital slideshow to play throughout the event, place framed versions of your favorite wedding-day photos at each table, or play a video of the two of you exchanging vows.

The Presents

Because guests are only obligated to give a gift if invited to the actual wedding, don’t expect presents. Regardless, some will want to, so register in advance of the event, just in case.

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