Weddings nowadays are not just about the ceremony, the reception and dancing the night away.
Everyone is looking to do something different that sets their wedding apart from the usual.
The extra ingredient to make the celebration more fun and memorable is the entertainment. It can be one of the trickiest parts of planning a wedding.
These special moments can be at specific times or throughout the day; as guests arrive at the venue, while the photos are being taken or between the ceremony and reception.
Hiring a photo booth and filling it with props has been a firm favourite at weddings for a while, and the booths come in all shapes and sizes. But how about a video booth, where family and friends can have great fun recording a personal message to the couple? These short videos can be edited and enjoyed as a lasting memento of the celebration.
On a fine day, traditional lawn games such as rounders and croquet are perfect, or you can have giant board games such as Connect4, noughts & crosses or Jenga. And when the Jenga blocks are knocked over, people can write a short message to the newlyweds on the blocks. At the end of a game, guests could cool off with a treat from a vintage ice cream van parked nearby.
So what other surprises can you have up your sleeve? If you want a touch of glamour, you can have a paparazzi snap photos as your guests arrive on a red carpet, which will definitely bring smiles all around. Another way to have a star-studded wedding and turn heads is to hire a celebrity lookalike.
Mr & Mrs quiz
There are simpler touches to suit small budgets: you could have a scavenger hunt, or invite song requests for the DJ that have been collected before the wedding via the invitations, meaning everyone has a hand in the evening’s playlist. How about asking the best man to be a ‘Mr & Mrs’ quizmaster after the meal? This involves every table taking part and the questions coming from the newlyweds, testing guests about the couple’s lives.
Casinos are another fun way to involve everyone and are ideal for a James Bond-themed event. You could start the ball rolling by giving guests casino money instead of favours on the tables.
A magician will add drama, whether performing tricks at the drinks reception or at tables during the wedding breakfast. It’s also a great way to get over those awkward moments with guests who don’t know each other.
Hiring a caricaturist will keep your guests entertained and draw in the crowds as he or she sketches away. People will enjoy showing others sketches of themselves and it’s something they can take home. I’ve even come across a textile artist who cleverly uses a sewing machine to create caricatures of people on fabric.
Fun of the fair
If money is no object, why not blow it on an old-fashioned funfair complete with a traditional carousel, coconut shies and bumper cars? Or hire a bouncy castle or giant slide – but be careful of the bride’s dress!
There’s nothing quite like gathering everyone together outside and ending the evening with a magnificent firework display. Sparklers work particularly well and make for great photos.
There are lots of ways to entertain children, particularly little ones. You could have a kid’s den created in a tent for outdoor weddings, a story teller, jugglers or simply a DIY goodie bag full of drawing paper, crayons and stickers which are a good distraction during the speeches!
Let’s make music
Music is always a big part of weddings and there are many options for your drinks reception or wedding breakfast, such as a string quartet, harpist, pianist, jazz band or soloist – it all comes down to personal taste.
The music should be a subtle backdrop so guests can relax and mingle at that stage of the day. When the party really gets going later in the evening, some newlyweds prefer live music followed by the DJ, rather than one or the other all evening.
At the end of the night when the champagne has been drunk and everyone is footsore from dancing, the final gesture to take care of those weary guests is to book a takeaway food van.
Whatever entertainment you choose, it’s all adding to the fun and atmosphere of a special day.