Ways to Keep Guests Entertained at Your Wedding
19 May 2015 •4 min read
[[wide_card_image_id: 86844]][[tall_card_image_id: 86844]][[square_card_image_id: 86844]]You and your soon-to-be spouse may be the center of attention on the wedding day, but you're going to need to plan some additional entertainment for your guests too. Hiring a band or DJ is pretty much a given these days, and that’s a great way to get guests mingling, dancing and have a good time. But there’s a new challenge these days: entertaining guests and giving them an experience they’ll be talking about for a long long time.
Event designer Stephanie Aspinwall suggests considering three things when planning wedding entertainment: where and when during the wedding will guests have awkward downtime; what are the couple’s interests; and the wedding venue and season, since some activities work better at certain locations and during different times of the year. Once you've thought about these questions, take a look at the following entertainment ideas, straight from the experts.
Be Interactive “I think it’s nice to add a personal touch,” says Melisa Imberman owner of The Event of a Lifetime, Inc., noting one of clients, who got engaged in Jamaica, had a steel drum band perform during cocktail hour. Another of Imberman’s couples had a cigar roller at a wedding, set up on the terrace with lounge furniture and a Scotch bar. “Any form of an interactive experience is always a great addition,” says AJ Pell of Peridot Events. Need entertainment inspiration? Consider having interactive food stations like a make your own taco bar or hosting wine or beer tastings. You can also encourage guests to share a story or a recipe with you. Simply leave some paper, pens and instructions at your guest book table.
Games & Activities While your wedding shouldn’t be an awkward event, many of your guests don’t know each other. Help them pass the down time and get to know each other at the same time. Aspinwall recommends pre-planning “whimsical scavenger hunts that will get the guests talking and having fun while they drink and snack.” For example, create cards that tell guest things like “Find a guest who is wearing blue,” or “Find the cake topper at the reception venue.” You can also instruct guests to participate in a photo scavenger hunt, such as “Take a photo of a [fill-in-the-blank],” says Aspinwall, who recommends pairing the scavenger hunt with a social media hashtag for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Other games to consider include indoor board games like checkers and dominoes, and “even Chutes and Ladders or Candyland,” she says, reminding couples to avoid “marathon games like Monopoly and Risk.” For outdoor weddings, you can incorporate warm-weather fun such as tug-of-war, jump rope, corn hole, croquet, basketball, the limbo and lawn Jenga. Another option? Have a party-sized piñata and watch your guests swing away for candy!
Photography & Art While you’re taking wedding photos, keep your guests entertained with photography and art too. Hire a caricature artist to draw funny and flattering sketches of your family and friends. “Guests love being the center of attention for a couple of minutes, and the drawings are wedding favors everyone loves,” says Aspinwall. Having an event painter at the reception to create an original painting will give everyone something to look at and the painting will be a keepsake for you. A modern must for receptions? A photo booth. It’s a chance for family and friends to loosen up. Plus you and your guests will get to keep the souvenir photos. Photo booths “allow people to be interactive, playful, creative, and get more candid shots of the guests,” says Pell. Guests love mugging in front of the camera, especially with props like glasses, signs, hats and scarves.
Music Kick up your heels and get on the dance floor but have some other fun music-themed moments including lip sync battles and even karaoke too. Guests may be more likely to participate after they’ve toasted your nuptials! You can also challenge your guests to a Hula-hoop contest. Guests will be moving around and socializing – a bonus for your party! Consider hiring dance performers too, such as belly dancers or African drumming troupes. If you hire live classical musicians, ask your string quartet or acoustic accompaniment to mix up the playlist. “Often times they can arrange any music you would like,” says Pell. “It doesn't have to be classical. I have heard led Zeppelin arrangements that are great.”
Party Time While it’s not for every wedding, some couples hire carnival-style entertainers like magicians, fire-eaters, and jugglers. “It’s an unexpected treat, and we find that even the stuffiest grownup guests enjoy being entertained like kids again,” says Aspinwall. For added entertainment, end the celebration with fireworks! While they can be expensive, if you plan ahead you might be able to host your reception on the date and time for a public or private fireworks display, such as during a holiday.