While these gatherings are popular with couples of all ages, experts say they’re particularly trendy among 20- and 30-somethings.
After four hours of playing host to nearly 300 guests during their wedding reception, Sari and Joseph Ripepe of Long Beach could finally do their thing.
Joseph Ripepe headed for a plate of chicken and waffles — and to a pool match fit for the Rat Pack — while his new wife and some of her friends and family gathered in a garden downstairs gazing up at the stars. “I was looking for Mars and Saturn,” recalls Sari Ripepe. “I was obsessing over that while he [Joseph] was upstairs playing pool.”
The place where the newlyweds finally got to unwind was at the same venue — The Carltun in East Meadow — as their earlier wedding events had taken place, only the after-party was in the more out-of-the-way garden courtyard.
Impromptu gatherings held at bars or elsewhere after weddings are nothing new, but planned — and pricey — after-parties are growing in popularity, according to those involved in the wedding business on Long Island. And some of these affairs are now being offered as part of a wedding package, with the sky as the limit when it comes to cost.
Celebrity event planner Michael Russo says after-parties have been popular in Hollywood for about 20 years but have since become the thing to do everywhere else. “They definitely have elevated themselves from when they first originated,” Russo says. “It’s, ‘I have to do better than the last person.’ ”
Russo did the after-party for the 2004 wedding of NSYNC’s Joey Fatone, who married Kelly Baldwin at Huntington’s Oheka Castle. That carnival-themed event included bumper cars, rides and food trucks. “It was really out of control,” Russo says.
The Ripepes’ after-party was out of this world, say Joseph and Sari, both 27, and a must-have to unwind at the end of a long day. It cost $5,000.
“There are so many formalities and the speeches and saying hello to guests during the five or six hours of the wedding reception, so it’s a nice time for the couple to relax,” says Bill Lodato, general manager at the Heritage Club at Bethpage. He adds that 80 percent of the weddings involve formal after-parties.