It probably wont surprise you that approximately 50% of my work is entertaining the guests at weddings. I absolutely love performing at them and in my time I’ve seen it all. Big weddings, small weddings, weddings in the back gardens of Yorkshire and weddings in million Euro mansions across Europe, I’ve even performed at a wedding in an air museum.
Unique Entertainment At Weddings
Unique wedding ideas are what make each and every one so memorable for the guests but with so many different options, it can be hard to get your head around the best way to make your wedding stand out as the most fantastic day.
The entertainment is a big part of how your day runs so I thought I’d put together some of my tips on the types of entertainment you might be considering and give you my thoughts from the countless weddings I’ve attended and acts I’ve worked with over the years.
String Quartets And Harpists At Weddings
Classy, no doubt, I do love a string quartet, one of my fondest memories of a visit to Argentina was going to see a recital at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, it chilled me out so much on what was one hell of a hectic part of my trip.
A lot of wedding string quartets or harpists seem to be booked during the drinks reception, however, is that what will really suit the day best whilst the guests are getting to know each other or chatting for the first time in years? It’s also right before we want the guests interacting and getting involved with the speeches, they usually need to be up beat and ready for a laugh at this point.
During the service is where you want these guys if you’re going to have them, creating that romantic mood and much nicer than Now That’s What I Call Classical on a CD player. This may end up being pretty pricey just to get them for a short amount of time during the service so check out my tips on “Multi-Genre Musicians” below.
Caricaturists And Photo Booths At Weddings
Photo Booths are really popular at the evening reception and work really well as people get a little more “into it” shall we say. They are also a great way to ensure your guests (and you) are getting some great lasting memories of the special day. My top tip for these is to check out companies that also do “Selfie Mirrors” as they are an awesome alternative that means guests don’t have to leave the action to get there photos taken and everyone around can witness the fun.
A little off the wall but I have worked at a number of weddings where they’ve had a caricaturist doing the rounds alongside me performing my magic. I’ll mention a few times in this article how getting everyone laughing and interacting right before the speeches or at the start of the evening reception when new guests are arriving is a great thing to do. A good caricaturist is one option that can help add to this and create souvenirs for people. Just make sure they’re a quick caricature sketcher and not one that takes 20 mins on each guest, fast and fun is the key.
Magicians At Weddings
I’m obviously going to recommended what I do otherwise I wouldn’t dedicate my life and soul to it. I’ll keep it short though. The two best times to enhance your day with magic are during the drinks reception into the start of the wedding breakfast (see my bit on speeches below) and/or at the start of the evening recaption to keep the party atmosphere going for those that have been there all day and encourage new guests to join in with the entertainment.
It is extremely rare that I would recommend a stand up cabaret spot for a wedding (magician or otherwise) and it’s close up magic that is the way forward here every time. There is indeed a magician for every budget, just make sure they know what they’re doing and check out their reviews. I’m always happy to help whether I’m in your budget or not so just drop me a message with some details and I can point you in the right direction.
Emcees & Wedding Singers At Weddings
This seems to be a little more of a American or Canadian trend but a good one can absolutely blow your guests away with a day they will never forget. The greats obviously come at a price but if your budget can stretch to it you will not be disappointed and I would definitely not suggest just going for the cheapest price on this one as they really need to know what they’re doing.
My friend Howard Wing is absolutely fantastic, make sure you check him out HERE if you’d like to know more about how it should be done. Pre-wedding meetings mean a good Emcee/Wedding Singer will know all the quirks of your guests and they’ll be in for one of the most entertaining meals of their lives.
Singing Waiters At Weddings
These are another great idea for some entertainment during the wedding breakfast, generally a little cheaper than a wedding singer or proper emcee but are usually less bespoke to the individual guests in my experience and are best for knocking out a few songs towards the end of the meal.
Wedding Bands And Wedding DJs
Both of these can be awesome or appalling, extremely memorable but for complete different reasons so you definitely don’t want to be just shopping around for the cheapest.
If your going down the band route, my general suggestion would be to go for a band that have the ability to play a wide range of party favourites but do it in a contemporary style. Check out my friends The Rolling Keys (I’ve mentioned them below too) as a band that have it all and add that extra element of live performance when the evening party gets going.
I know I mentioned how great crowd pleasing party bands are but equally I’ve been to a few weddings where they’ve gone for something more niche like a country band and by the end of the night everyone’s a convert. Check out the boys from Red Dog as they go down an absolute storm.
As for DJs, definitely get someone who knows what they’re doing and check them out thoroughly first, I was at a wedding last year and the DJ turned up in a piano tie with 2 laptops that kept re-booting themselves so we heard the Windows 95 start up jingle every 5 minutes, I kid you not. At the other end of the spectrum, you have some amazing DJs that can even be complimented with live elements, speak to Dom at WDC Entertainment and you can’t go wrong.
An acoustic guitarist or pianist accompanied by a skilled singer is a great alternative to the string quartet or harpist I discussed earlier, there may also be some savings to be made if you find musicians that can cover a range of disciplines.
For example, the lead singer of the Rolling Keys, Sarah, sounds absolutely amazing beside a piano or acoustic guitar to enhance the service and give that background atmosphere during the drinks reception. A live performer like this knows when to pick up the pace a little too to build the mood. The rest of the band can arrive later for a couple of evening spots to add that impact.
Don’t Over Do It Though
You may feel I’m shooting myself and other performers in the foot here but it is possible to have too much going on. I’d much rather be at your wedding giving you a massive amount of added value than sitting around doing nothing as the slot I’ve been booked for is overlapping with the singing waiters or speeches.
Make sure you think about where guest attention needs to be, as magicians and other strolling performers, overlapping with background music is great, we build the atmosphere together but you don’t want us performing during the speeches or at the same time as an emcee, wedding singer or singing waiters.
If there needs to be a gap in performing whilst something else is going on, that’s not a problem and we can work the budget around it but you don’t want to be paying a performers fee when they can’t be actually performing. Feel free to ask my advice on this and I can go into further detail.
Speeches At Weddings
I could write an entire article on this (and probably will at some point) as I see hundreds every year. All I’m going to say in this article though is about the timing. For me, get them done at the start of the wedding breakfast, either before the starters or between the starters and the main course. That way the groom, Best Man, Father Of The Bride and everyone else giving speeches can relax and enjoy the afternoon too. Otherwise, all they can think about is the words they’ve got to remember and if it’s going to go down well or not. If the timings are right, I like to perform right the way through the drinks reception up to the start of the speeches so everyone’s in the mood for a laugh and some friendly interaction.
Finally, Enjoy Your Wedding Entertainment
Yes the photographs are important but a good wedding photographer is there to capture you on your special day, not drag you away from it for hours on end. Try to make sure you have the time during the drinks reception to mingle with your guests and absorb the atmosphere too. I always try to perform a little something extra special for my couples and I’m sure every entertainer is the same so make sure you’re there to enjoy the entertainment too.
This is the kind of thing we get up to during the drinks reception:
As always, I hope you’ve found my ramblings useful, these are all very generic tips from my experiences so I’d love to hear about your wedding and will be happy to give any advice I can.
If you’d like to enquiry about booking me for your big day I’d be very flattered and you can do so HERE or give me a call on 07838157044. Failing that I’m equally happy to share what I know absolutely free of charge so feel free to ask me anything.