So you’ve chosen a destination wedding and an affordable, complete beach wedding package. Now it’s time to decide on whether or not to host a party back home after the wedding or at the beach wedding venue. Is it too expensive? What’s expected? What’s proper etiquette for inviting guests? Bottom line, what you want to know: is your post destination wedding reception worth having? We think yes!
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. Shown above is The Beachcomber in St. Pete which will bring you to the “5 o’clock somewhere” state of mind for your Gulf beach wedding. Enjoy their private beach, outdoor pool and of course Jimmy B’s Beach Bar. Jimmy B’s Beach Bar (shown above) serves up cold drinks and delicious food right at your hotel. This is a convenient way to plan a reception dinner with your guests because everything is located close together: hotels, restaurants and the Gulf beaches. This is an easy way to kickback, relax and not have to worry about traveling or getting around. The best part? The views of the sunset you will receive from the deck!
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, non-alcoholic drinks, simple decor, and cake. Of course, that number is conservative and you can add or subtract according to the level of food & entertainment you wish to provide. If you’re looking at a restaurant for your after party the price will remain close to the $10/person mark. Any dedicated wedding reception 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 right after you wedding on the beach. 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. 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
- Drinks- 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 chilled 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. If you are at a beach restaurant, then music will often be provided for everyone to enjoy.
- 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 (although you can). 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? If the wedding reception is at home perhaps 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 wedding reception. With any wedding, however, consider those closest to you and avoid making it an opportunity to receive a bunch of gifts (although that can be an added bonus!)
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. Don’t forget “save the dates”.
Thank you: Thank your guests for coming. An elaborate speech isn’t necessary but a formal announcement of gratitude is an appropriate gesture. Guests usually love to hear from the newly married couple. The bride and groom can make their rounds to every table and say their hellos and thanks for coming to the wedding. And of course, thank you cards for any gifts received is standard practice after you return home.
Why not Consider a Beach Wedding Reception Venue
Consider the perfect beach wedding reception at Anastasia State Park on the Atlantic coast of Florida in St. Augustine. This beach is state owned and has the most relaxing atmosphere a beach can provide. The best part? There are absolutely no buildings on the beach which means nothing but beautiful views of the sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean for your destination weddings. Imagine walking with your toes in the sand surrounded by the beach dunes towards your significant other as your special songs play. Our complete wedding packages take care of every detail!
You can rent the Pavilion for your wedding reception. Bring trays of appetizers and order food for delivery. Chafing dishes will keep your food warm. But remember, it is Florida so make sure there is lots of water or lemonade in the warm or hot weather. No matter the size of your wedding, Anastasia State Park is a great choice for one of the best Florida beach weddings. Take the stress away from your guests and rest assured that there will be plenty of parking. For larger weddings your permit even covers the entrance fee for you and your guests.
For more Florida beach wedding information click HERE. Reserve your Florida beach elopement, wedding, or vow renewal today!