The importance of entertaining guests on your Wedding Day!
Planning the entertainment element of a wedding is so much fun and relatively straight forward, the hardest part is sticking within the budget as the options are endless.
I am asked by pretty much every couple I have the pleasure of working for, should I have a band or a DJ? Both have their pros and cons so there isn't a one size fits all answer, my biggest piece of advice would be regardless of who you book, do your homework and listen to them play before your big day or you could be sorely disappointed. That being said, making this decision is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to entertainment.
We often think of entertainment as being what we book for the evening reception when in actual fact, entertaining your guests begins from the moment they arrive at your venue, to the moment that they leave. From the subtlest music playing over your wedding breakfast to the most elaborate of shows.
A few things to consider when thinking about entertaining your guests:
No one likes hanging around.
If you think there is going to be a long wait, (for example while you have your photos taken) make sure there is something to keep your guests occupied. This could be as simple as a bar where guests can purchase drinks. Why keep it simple though, you could put your own twist on a standard bar by hiring a bar tender who can perform and create bespoke cocktails for your guests.
Definitely make sure there is background music whether that is played through speakers or by a live act. There is something a little unsettling about a quiet room. Remember, at this point a lot of your guests will not know each other, and will probably not feel confident in approaching people they don't know, so by making sure there is music, it will prevent that stoney silence, or everyone whispering because they don't want others to hear them speaking.
Running behind schedule can be the biggest pain.
Generally if a wedding is going to slip off schedule, it is going to happen during the photographs and this is normally because not enough thought has gone into preparing people to be in the photos. You may say that this isn't technically entertainment, but it won't be entertaining if your guests start to lose interest in your day because nothing is happening, and they have become hungry and irritable.
Before the wedding, make sure you create a list of the photos you want to capture and the people you need in them. Work with your photographer to make sure you allocating the right amount of time and give that list to whoever is responsible for running your wedding day! A wedding day manager or toastmaster would be perfect for this. A partially drunk friend, or a family member who may be more interested in catching up with people they haven't seen in years, not so much!
Remember, wedding photos feel like 10 minutes to the bride and groom, but to the guests, it can feel like hours and that's because it will take hours. If you need spreadsheets to collate this information you can download them from my website, along with other wedding planning documents.
Don't be afraid to do something different.
Just because you haven't been to a wedding that's had what you're thinking of having, it doesn't mean that it is wrong. Weddings can very easily become the same event over and over but with just a little difference in colour and a new couple. Do you want to have the same day as your friend has had, or do you want one that people will leave and remember for being different. For all of the right reasons obviously!
If you want a casino, caricaturist, dancing waiter or even fire eater, then why not have it. If you want to finish the night with a grand firework display, then why not book it. If you want to release doves, incorporate your pet or break into an unexpected flash mob or crazy first dance, then why not do it!
Just remember, if you're working to a budget, most of this fun stuff costs money so ensure you keep track of what you're spending so you don't come a cropper when the bills start coming in.
Tie your Wedding Day plans together properly.
Everyone has different ideas of what a good wedding looks like. One person may want it to be stylish, another may want the food to be the main focus, but if you are someone who wants your wedding day to be a dam good party, then you will probably be incorporating a number of wedding suppliers into your plans.
This is when it is best to hire someone to be in control of it all. Some suppliers such as a band will need time between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception to set up and sound check. Some suppliers like a casino or selfie mirror may need to set up in the morning before the wedding so that they are ready to begin at the scheduled time. Some suppliers like singing waiters, cigar bar or magician will turn up literally minutes before they are due to begin and just get started.
This is where a wedding day schedule can start to get complicated, and the last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day, is working out where everyone needs to be and when.