Your wedding is the biggest party you’ll ever throw, so how about some party games, magic and piñatas? Lucy Mackey talks to Pantelis Krestas, founding member and managing director of Orchestra by PK, and Jay Allen, licensed celebrant and owner of Wedding Sounds, about inventive ways to entertain your guests, and how to select the right entertainer for your nuptials.
Image Credit: ATEIA Photography & Video
There are so many choices when it comes to planning your wedding, and selecting your entertainment is one of the most important. The ideal entertainer will give you and your guests a memorable experience that leaves everybody talking. Music is a must, and while there are many forms that might take, why not employ a less traditional form of entertainment as well? When it comes to choosing the right entertainment for you, keep it simple and remember that the main reason your guests are there is to share your special day with you.
The Perfect Match
When it comes to beginning the search for your wedding entertainment, it’s essential to find someone that you resonate with. “The most important [thing] when selecting live entertainment for your function is the ability for those entertainers to interact with your audience,” Krestas says. “There are some great bands out there that perform really well but fail to connect with their audience.” At a concert, everyone loves it when the artist interacts with the crowd. Similarly, everyone enjoys an engaging, dynamic performance from an entertainer at a wedding. Allen’s advice is simple, “Trust your gut when you meet them; make sure you get along, because they will play a big part in your day”.
Experience is important, too. Every wedding is unique, so it’s good to know your entertainers are ready to adjust as needed. “A professional understands the right song at the right time will fill a dancefloor, but at the wrong time can empty it,” Allen says. Similarly, experienced entertainers of all varieties will be able to sense the vibe of the crowd and adjust accordingly.
Plan For Success
As with any event, there is a lot of planning to ensure things run as smooth as possible. This begins with a thorough consultation with your chosen entertainers.
“The most common mistake I see couples make is assuming that the hired entertainment will just know [what to do],” Krestas says. It’s important to convey exactly what you want, and an experienced entertainer will be able to offer guidance and advice tailored to you, your venue and guests. For example, Krestas recommends keeping in mind that guests dancing in heels will need plenty of breaks to sit down and rest their feet.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, Allen suggests planning some free time into the entertainment schedule to simply relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones.
Including another element in your program can really make your wedding a memorable one. Roving performers, such as magicians and caricaturists, are growing more popular as wedding entertainment options. A good caricaturist can produce 15 to 20 pieces per hour and will leave your guests with something to remember the day by. You can even provide personalised stationery for the artist to use for their sketches.
Magicians will thrill guests of all ages by wandering through the crowd and performing compact tricks and sleight of hand. A creative idea is to have the magician produce small bombonieres for your guests to take home.
As they aren’t staging a show, roving performers won’t take the spotlight away from the reason for the gathering – you and your partner. Everyone is free to continue socialising, and what better way to break the ice than with a witty drawing or magic trick? Roving performers are also a great way to entertain your guests at the pre-reception or cocktail hour, while you and your partner spend time with your photographer, or to pass the time when meals are being cleared and the next course is prepared.
If quirky caricatures are not your thing, opt for a talented live painter to capture a special moment on canvas. You will leave with a beautiful reminder of your happy day, and it’s fascinating to watch a painting created in real time.
An easy, inexpensive addition to the wedding proceedings is advice or prediction cards. Ask your guests to fill in a piece of marital advice or predict your future endeavours. Often on the reverse of the place cards, this activity will give your guests something to do while they wait for meals to be served and is a good way to spark conversation. It also gives you something nice to take away at the end of the wedding in addition to the guest book.
One, Two, Three – Pose!
With your photographer to capture elegant, candid images, why not include a photobooth for some amusing poses? As your guests squeeze together behind the curtain, provide a box of funny props for them to try on as they wait for the countdown! You could also supply a few polaroid cameras for some old-fashioned prints. The printouts make a lovely gift to take home after everything is done.
Fun And Games
Outdoor games like croquet or giant chess are a perfect way to entertain the young and young at heart during a warm, outdoor ceremony. Other options include giant Jenga, piñatas, lawn bowls, or horseshoe tossing, which is traditionally regarded as good luck for newlyweds. Not only are they a lot of fun, it’s also a good chance for your roving photographer to snap some candid shots.
Most companies will deliver and unpack games, and return for them at the end of the wedding with little fuss, or you can easily source or make the pieces yourself. If you don’t fancy outdoor games, a fun idea is to scatter some boardgames around the room. Just make sure it’s not Monopoly if you want the guests to leave in one piece!
Sing And Serve
If you’re theatrically minded, a troupe of singing waiters can be a thrilling addition to your soiree. Posing as part of the waitstaff until the moment they burst into song, they are sure to wow your gathering. Choreograph your favourite songs for a surprise everyone will love. For an added bonus, most performers are bright and bubbly, and experts at getting guests talking and laughing while they serve the table.
With so many options for wedding entertainment, the choice can quickly become overwhelming. When in doubt, remember that your reception is time for you and your partner to relax and socialise after the formal portion of the day is done. If there’s something a bit unconventional you want to try, Allen’s advice is to embrace your passion and go for it! Choose music you want to listen to, activities you’ll have fun with, and, as Krestas says, an entertainer “willing to create your wedding vision”.