This beautiful venue has a hidden surprise in its basement to keep the party going even longer.
We’ve all been there: The toasts have been made, the dances have been danced and the wedding you’re attending is starting to wind down. The only problem? Not all of the guests are done celebrating. Enter: the after-party.
“It’s a rising trend, not only here in Columbus, but also nationally,” says Emily Messinger, event manager at the Athletic Club of Columbus. “What happens is, the wedding’s over, they don’t want the night to end and it’s just that awkward, ‘Where do you want to go? Should we go to this bar?’ And that’s not really the way you want to end your wedding.”
When the Athletic Club was built in 1915, it included a two-lane bowling alley in its basement. After renovations in 2014, that bowling alley and the adjoining billiards room and bar area make up a highly sought-after after-party space for couples who host their receptions at the club. For one flat fee—$1,200 for members and $1,700 for nonmembers—the reception can continue from 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. The fee includes the space, staff and bowling shoes for everyone who attends.
“I love our bowling alley because there’s activities to do,” Messinger says. “People can bowl, they can play ping pong, they can do billiards, which I think is kind of nice for after-parties. If you just go to a bar, it’s just more drinking … if you have some type of activity, it keeps the party feel going.”
While couples can opt for an open bar during the after-party, Messinger advises doing a cash bar and spending the money saved on some snacks instead. The late-night bite menu includes artisan flatbread pizzas, Parmesan truffle fries, mini sliders and her personal favorite, soft Bavarian pretzel sticks.
The space also includes a quality sound system, which you can use to play a pre-made playlist created by Athletic Club staff or music from your own device, a lighting package and drop-down screens that hover over the alleys, which you can use to display a photo slideshow or other media.
If you plan to do an after-party—whether it’s in your hotel, at your favorite watering hole or in the Athletic Club’s bowling alley—Messinger recommends notifying your guests in advance, so they don’t make alternative plans. This can be achieved by including a note in your invitation, on your wedding website or even via a sign or DJ announcement at the reception. Want to keep it a little more exclusive? Word-of-mouth goes a long way toward informing your closest friends and family members of the post-reception surprise.
However you organize it, one thing is certain: An after-party will give your guests one more thing to remember about your special day.
“It definitely puts the wedding at another level,” Messinger says.