Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. The focus of that day is to celebrate you and your spouse, but it is also wise and thoughtful to think about the people in attendance and support your union. VA Bride Magazine says,
“Your wedding day is absolutely 100% about the bride and groom. But for most of us, that also means that having the most important people in our lives in attendance is a huge part of that. Once you’ve chosen your guests with care, you will also want to make sure that your guests are comfortable and cared for while they’re with you for the special day.”
Keeping this in mind, and while it is important to make your fairytale dreams come true, you must find different ways to engage the extraordinary people who took their time (and purchased gifts) and decided to attend your wedding. Need a few ideas? Below we’ve listed several fun ways to entertain your wedding guests.
Hire a Great Band or DJ
At Entertainment Exchange, music and entertainment are always first in line for fun and efficient ways to entertain guests. Music is a non-negotiable for your wedding and not because we just love what we do; it is a mere fact that music is essential to people across the globe. Medium.com describes music as “a language of emotion in that it can represent different feelings and barge into the soul with no boundaries or limitations. People are always challenged by the fact that “no one understands them” or know-how they “really feel,” so they turn to music.”
Knowing how vital music is to people in their everyday lives, it is no surprise that music directly impacts setting the mood at an event. Music also brings people together, energizes guests, and creates lasting memories for years to come. Hire a great band or DJ for your wedding, and make sure you go the professional route. There’s nothing better than being able to connect with a vendor, tell them what you need and release them to do what they do best so you can enjoy your special day without worrying about them being on time and being efficient. When you work with an agency like Entertainment Exchange, that’s absolutely what you get – professionalism, efficiency, and a good time. Work with an experienced talent agency and get your DJ or band in place as a step in the right direction.
Ask for Song Requests
Now that you’ve gotten your band or DJ in place, you can add a little excitement to your wedding reception and make it fun for your guests by asking for song requests in advance. This is something fun you can include in your wedding invitations or ask guests to weigh-in on your wedding website. You could also have a sign-up list during your engagement party. Asking for song requests makes your guests feel like they’re a part of the planning process. Seeing this list will also help the DJ or band get an idea of what your guests may want to hear to be prepared in advance. Just be sure to take a peek at the list ahead of time so you can manage any unwanted requests.
Opt for a Short Ceremony
The ceremony is the traditional and sentimental part of the day. It’s important to give yourself time to soak up that moment to make it last forever; however, we think you should opt for a ceremony that is on the shorter side. We’ve offered entertainment and A/V support during tons of weddings, and we’ve seen some of the most beautiful ceremonies; we’ve also seen concerts with a “ceremony on the side.” Sometimes couples try to squeeze in too many songs, special presentations, and speeches into their ceremonies, and it can make the event drag on too long, which makes guests antsy. Antsy guests lose focus and energy, and you don’t want your wedding day to bring memories of boredom for your guests.
If you want to add unique elements to your wedding, consider hosting an intimate ceremony earlier in the day before guests arrive. You can exchange more detailed vows with your immediate family and minister. You can also take some of your ceremony elements and add them to your cocktail hour or reception. For instance, if you have a cousin who wants to sing, instead of having them sing a selection during the ceremony, have them sing during your first dance.
No matter what you decide, just try to keep the ceremony as short and sweet as possible.
Surprise Your Guests
Another great way to entertain your guests is to plan a surprise. You can surprise them with a special guest like a local or national celebrity (if you can afford it). We’ve seen couples hire a local celebrity to sing them down the aisle. But suppose you can’t afford to ask John Legend to serenade your guests as you or your spouse enters the room. In that case, you can add a less expensive celebrity element to your wedding and hire an impersonator to pose for pictures during the cocktail hour.
Another idea is to incorporate something quirky or interesting into a typical wedding element. Are you serving specialty cocktails or champagne? Hire a Champagne Skirt Attendant to serve drinks in a unique way.
“Champagne Skirt appears on behalf of Entertainment Exchange”
Many couples are keen on incorporating their heritage into the wedding festivities. You can hire salsa or Irish-step dancers to perform, which will put a spotlight on your beloved culture in an exciting way. Over the years, we’ve also seen the bride or groom surprise their spouse with an unforgettable dance number featuring the bridesmaids or groomsmen. It takes some practice in advance, but if you can coordinate dance lessons early enough, grab your bridal party and wow your guests with a unique and unexpected dance number to a popular or fitting song.
Bring Game Night to Your Wedding
Party games are up next! Whether you’re planning a backyard party or a super elegant wedding, party games are always a hit for guests. By now, you’ve probably heard about incorporating icebreaker games during the cocktail hour or having traditional games like the bouquet and garter toss. Still, we found a few more ideas for you. Here are a few ideas we borrowed from SquareMeal.com:
- Table / Board Games: If you’re hosting an outdoor cocktail hour, you can incorporate outdoor wedding games like Giant Jenga, Croquet, or horseshoe. If it rains or your guests will be indoors, you can set up traditional board games like Scrabble or Monopoly, set up a ping pong table, or bring puzzles, brainteasers, and playing cards. Set the game station up near the photobooth area or away from the main dining area so you can maintain an elegant look with a fun twist.
- DIY Food: DIY food doesn’t sound like a “game,” but you can turn it into a game by hosting food stations that require assembly and see who can make their food fastest. If your wedding is late at night and you plan to offer guests late-night snacks, you can host a taco or smores competition. Food can serve as entertainment and is an excellent way for guests to interact with each other.
- Child’s Play: Who says adults have to be mature all the time? A wedding reception is a time for guests to let loose and have the type of fun they haven’t had in years. We’ve listed board games as an option, but you can really let loose and rent a bouncy house for guests. We think this may be an “end-of-night” party element, and of course, it should be outdoors, but we are sure it will be a hit with your wedding guests.
- Think About the Children: Unless your wedding has a strict “no-child” policy, you may have guests that need to bring their children. Little guests are always cute, but they get bored easily, so you may want to have a designated area that hosts kiddie games and activities. Some couples hire a babysitter to be onsite if they have tons of kids attending their wedding. Guests who are parents will appreciate this grand gesture because it allows them to have a good time without worrying about how to entertain their children for four hours or more.
- Giveaway Prizes: Everyone loves winning prizes! You can do a raffle and give random prizes away to guests. Have your them pull tickets during the cocktail hour for a chance to win great prizes throughout the night. You can create some buzz around the raffle by letting guests know what some or all of the prizes are in advance. You may also consider partnering with a local charity so you can incorporate a charity auction into your wedding. What’s better than giving back to the community AND giving guests unexpected gifts?
- Karaoke Anyone?: By the end of the night, most people love to sing along to whatever the band or DJ is playing. If you took our advice above and allowed guests to submit song requests, we would imagine they would love a chance to steal the mic and show off their skills – so why not let them? Karaoke is always a fun way to use your guests to entertain each other. Whether your family is full of singers like the Osmonds or Jacksons is irrelevant – anyone with the notion and courage to sing in front of a crowd is all you need. Have your band or DJ give guests the last hour or so to sing their hearts out – with the lyrics and libations nearby!
Allow Your Guests Free Time
We’ve given you tons of ideas for entertaining your guests, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that it is important to give your guests little breaks here and there. You’re likely trying to pack in as much excitement as you can within your 6-8 hour timeframe; however, sometimes less is more. Consider scheduling some free moments throughout the night so guests can mingle, check their phones, or run to the restroom without feeling like they’re missing out on the next activity. Guests need a chance to relax and talk to each other without fighting the overbearing sounds of loud music. You also want them to take a moment to actually take in the moment..so give them a moment.
Provide Transportation for Guests
If you opt to host your wedding in a remote and rural setting, a busy city, or an out-of-town location, you may choose a venue that is perfect because of its aesthetics but horrible for guests when it comes to transportation. Hosting in a busy city means possible traffic, out-of-town venues mean extra money for car rentals or rideshare costs, and remote or rural venues mean a far drive home and possibly while guests are still semi-intoxicated. It would be best to consider all of these challenges well in advance and, if needed, provide ample transportation for guests.
Many couples opt to charter buses to get their guests from the venue to the nearest major city or hotel. Think about your guests, the type of wedding you want to have, your wedding’s timeframe, and make the best decision for your budget and guests. You can make it fun by hiring a fun bus driving company or party buses. That way, your guests are safe, feel like they’re being cared for, and aren’t inconvenienced. No matter what you decide, just remember that safety is always first.
Thank Your Guests
Finally, it is extremely important that you show your gratitude and thank your guests. Party favors like candles, cake boxes and wine glasses are always great. You can get creative by hiring a photo booth service and give the photos away to guests. As a special touch, the images can have you and your spouse’s names on the bottom or wedding hashtag. Also, don’t forget post-wedding “Thank You” cards – for their gifts and their attendance. No matter what you decide, just remember to be intentional in thanking people who took the time to celebrate with you.
PHOTO COURTESY OF Caroline Lima Photography