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Hosting a Post Destination Wedding Reception

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!

Post Wedding To Do List

Congratulations on your marriage! No more pre-wedding jitters. No more calorie-monitoring to fit into that “just right” wedding dress. So now what? Well, while your newly wedded life gets rolling, there are a few to-do’s after you’ve “I-do’d” (is that word?). 😉 Some of these items often go unchecked and can be more of a hassle down the road. So here goes, the ultimate post wedding to do list.

Attention Newlyweds: Post Wedding To Do List  

  • Thank You: A lot goes into planning a wedding, as you’ve seen. So be sure to give thanks where it’s due. Check out these fun beach themed thank you notes. Here’s a list of potential thank you note recipients:
    • Guests- thank you for gifts, appreciation for travel (if destination wedding), attendance at wedding
    • Parents/Children
    • Bridal Party
    • Officiant
    • Wedding Planner
    • Florist
    • Photographer
    • Hair/Make Up 


post wedding check list


  • Name Change: You know how all of January you’re still writing the previous year when you write the date? Get ready for lots of backspacing, erasing, and crossing out when it comes to writing your new last name. It takes some getting used to! But first you’ll have to make it official. Don’t try to do any name changing before receiving your marriage license (which we’ll refer to as M.L) in the mail (usually 2-3 weeks). Upon receiving M.L., here’s the list of things you’ll need to update with your new name. Oh, and be sure to bring you M.L. and photo ID to all these places! 
    • Social Security Card from your local Social Security Office  
    • Driver’s License from DMV. Bring S.S. card
    • Work- Send an email or call H.R. to get your name changed
    • Bank- Plan a visit to change name on accounts, debit/credit cards. You and hubby may also join accounts at this time.
    • Email- If you’re email is something like “” and you’re now “Jane Johnson,” an easy solution is to make a new email and simply have your old account forwarded without the hassle of managing multiple accounts.


post wedding to do list

  • Money: It’s all about the “Benjamins.” But for real, if you haven’t already discussed financial goals and plans, now is the time. Finances is one of the leading conflicts in marriages so nip it in the bud(get). Streamline accounts and discuss income, bills, savings, goals, etc. 


post wedding to do list


  • Life: Whatever your situation was before, getting married is a great start and chance to establish healthy routines. Create habits and rhythms that bring joy, peace, and fun to your new married life! And remember like Grandma says, “Marriage takes work, but it’s worth it!” 



Not married yet but want to be? Book your Clearwater Beach Wedding here!