If you want your wedding reception to be memorable for you and your guests, there’s one element you should invest a lot of planning time into – the wedding entertainment. Your wedding entertainment choices reflect your personality and help cultivate the mood and energy of the entire event. Wedding entertainers also help bridge the gap between other reception elements.
If you are overwhelmed by trying to complete your wedding planning tasks or just need help with getting creative about your entertainment options, keep reading to grab a few easy entertainment ideas for organizing your wedding reception.
Let’s start with the basics – music. To start, here are a few questions you must ask yourself:
- What type of music do you want playing during your reception?
- Have you thought about the music you want playing during the transition between your wedding ceremony and reception (usually called the cocktail hour)?
- Do you want a band or DJ?
- Do you have special speeches and announcements that need to be made throughout the reception?
It is overwhelming to think about all of these things, right? This is why our first idea for organizing a memorable wedding reception is to hire an entertainment company for your wedding reception. For starters, there are so many details and elements to organize when it comes to planning a wedding, and if you can afford to get help, it will be in your best interest.
It may be tempting to use the internet to help you find local entertainers, but entertainment companies provide a level of service and expertise that Google cannot always offer. Most couples have a better wedding planning experience when hiring an experienced wedding entertainment company. There are so many intricacies in the entertainment booking space, and your reception may not be all that you desire if specific details are undetected or overlooked.
For example, if you decide to hire a band, how do you know that your wedding venue is equipped to accommodate a live band? The venue must have space to hold the entire band, allow the musicians and sound engineers to load in equipment, have the proper acoustics and outlets, and be free of local and regional noise ordinances. This is just an example of specific details that you may not be aware of but that an entertainment agency will be familiar with and have experience working around if there are challenges.
There are additional benefits of using an entertainment company which include:
- Providing a seamless performance and event expertise
- Access to world-class entertainers
- Ensure no key detail is overlooked
- Taking away unwanted stress
- Allowing you and your guests to enjoy the night
Reach out to a professional agency to learn about the booking process, then begin to explore the variety of entertainment options available for your big day.
The most common performers couples hire for their wedding are wedding bands and DJs. You can find corporate bands that align with your personal taste and find DJs that are incredible emcees and keep the party atmosphere going all night. Most people make the decision to hire a band or DJ based on their budget, capabilities of the venue, and overall vision of the reception. Work with a talent agent to also discuss add-on options like a cocktail hour performer or wedding ceremony sound support. If you hire a band or DJ for the reception, you can often get a discount if you hire the same performers for other parts of the wedding since they will already be onsite. Whichever way you choose, hiring musical performers is essentially a need to set the night’s mood and tone.
Orchestrate a Surprise Performance
In addition to hiring performers, you can orchestrate a surprise performance during a particular part of the reception. We’ve seen couples plan a surprise choreographed dance by themselves or incorporate their bridal party to steal the show. If you or your bridal party are musically inclined, we say, “Go for it!”
If you and your bridal party members are not interested in performing, you can hire dancers or special performers to bring a new level of excitement to the wedding reception.
Book Your Favorite Impersonator
What’s the next best thing to hiring a celebrity to make an appearance at an event? Hiring a celebrity impersonator! While to some it may seem more funny or silly to have an impersonator at your wedding, if you and your fianceé have a favorite movie or song and can find local talent to bring a character’s essence and feel to the reception, this could turn into a unique experience that guests remember for years to come.
Decorate Your Guests with Flowers
Flowers are pretty standard for most weddings, but couples usually use flowers for bridal bouquets and table centerpieces. You can get creative with flowers and decorate so many other reception elements – including your guests! If this idea aligns with your theme (think a Hawaiian-themed cocktail hour), you can offer your guests floral leis as they enter the reception. You can also provide small flowers for guests to put in their hair. This makes guests feel like they are a part of the reception in a special way.
- Turn Your Flowers into a Crown – your flowers girls can use a floral crown as a hair accessory, but your guests and bridesmaids can also sport the hair accessory.
- Dress Up Your Bar – make a splash during your cocktail hour and convert your bar into a garden. You can mix vibrant stands of green with dried flowers for a rustic or lush look.
- Use Flowers to Set the Scene – you can bring your reception to the next level. If you are hosting a tented reception, you can line the entrance with greenery garlands to give it a natural feel. You can top off the look by framing your entryway with wooden planters.
- Make a Grand Entrance – As you make a dramatic entrance into your reception, have fresh greenery (and your significant other!) accompany you. Line the entryway with glowing lanterns to up the romance.
- Guide Guests with Potted Plants – Help guests find their seats by planting their escort cards in a bed of little greens. For a double dose, you can also write your guests’ names on mini potted plants of moss. The terracotta, green, and white color palette will paint an organic picture, and as a bonus, guests can even take the pots home with them as a meaningful keepsake!
Play the Shoe Game
Have you heard of the “Wedding Shoe Game”? The Knot breaks this fun reception game down:
The Wedding Shoe Game is one of the most popular wedding reception games to play because it’s not just hilarious for the couple and guests—it’s also simple in concept and suitable for all ages. All you need to play are two chairs, a list of shoe game questions, the couple, and their shoes. Intrigued? Learn the wedding shoe game rules here, plus read a long list of example questions to see how it’s done.
The Ultimate Guide to the Wedding Shoe Game
Ask a member of your wedding party to place two chairs back to back in the middle of the dance floor. You sit in one chair, and your partner sits in the other (you shouldn’t be able to see each other). Both of you then take off your shoes—give one of your shoes to your partner and vice versa. You should each have one of your own shoes and one of your partner’s shoes in your hands.
Designate a “caller” who will come prepared with a list of questions to ask you and your new spouse (we’ll get to those in a second). If you don’t want to put any of your guests to work, your DJ or bandleader can act as MC of this game. Otherwise, it’s an excellent job for any loved one who isn’t in your wedding party or didn’t get to do a reading at the ceremony, but whom you still want to be involved. Just first, make sure they’re comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.
Each question the couple is asked should start with “Who…?,” as in “Who is the pickier eater?” or “Who has the better shower singing voice?” You can even get your guests involved by asking them to write their own questions for the caller to read come game time. The caller should start with simple questions and gradually move to more personal ones (as long as both you and your spouse are comfortable answering them—and letting your friends and family hear them).
Once you’re asked a question, raise your partner’s shoe if it describes their tendencies and your own shoe if it represents yours. Your partner should do the same. The trick is you can’t see your spouse, so you’ll have no idea if they’re answering the same way you are—although you’ll probably be able to tell by your guests’ reactions. Of course, after a few drinks, you and your partner’s answers might get a little unpredictable. But those surprise moments are what make the shoe game so entertaining—especially if you both don’t know the questions ahead of time.
The wedding shoe game questions can be as general or customized to the couple as you’d like. And a word to the wise, know your audience before asking super-personal or raunchy questions. (In other words, don’t ask anything you wouldn’t want to be asked in front of your family and friends.)
Check out this list of sample questions and enjoy!
Opt for a Video Guest Book
A guest book is often used as a way to memorialize the kind and loving messages that your guests want you to read and use during the course of your union. Most couples place their guest book in an area that guests will see, like at the entryway or near the bathroom area. If you opt to do a guest book but want to take it to a new level, you can create the opportunity for guests to do a video guest book. This is an eco-friendly and technologically-advanced way to cement your guest’s well-wishes. You can watch the videos in the future and actually see their facial expressions while expressing their love and appreciation for you and your spouse.
You can take it a step further and make your video guest book available to guests who cannot attend your wedding. Guests from all over the world can record their messages in advance and upload their videos to the online platform of your choice.
Set Up a Bouncy House
Stay with us – a bouncy house may not exude wedding “elegance,” but renting a bouncy house during the later part of your reception may end up being one of the most memorable moments of your night. If you have an outdoor space near the reception area, you can rent a bouncy house for the final hour of your wedding, and guests can listen to your band or DJ while enjoying what may seem like a kiddie activity. Depending on the type of bouncy house you rent, you can spark fun and friendly competition with your friends and family with an obstacle course or allow guests to bet on who can jump the highest or flip the most times inside the bouncy castle. Grown-ups can have a little fun too!
Invite a Team Mascot
Did you and your spouse meet in college? Will there be a strong college or university presence at your wedding? Do you and your family members bond over a specific professional sports team? If so, you can hire or invite a team mascot to come to the reception, and we guarantee your guests will be surprised and excited. Make your wedding personalized and memorable with a team mascot!
PHOTO COURTESY OF The Knot