Wedding Entertainment! – All you need to know for the perfect day.
When choosing entertainment for your wedding think about it carefully. What type would suit you best and which parts of the day do you think you should entertain your guests? How much do you have to spend? This will a big deciding factor on the type of entertainment you can provide.
Bored guests are never happy ones so the parts of the day that you should cater for are, the drinks reception whilst you are having your photographs taken, the wedding breakfast if you have a long time before the evening event and of course the main evening party. In my opinion the evening entertainment is where you should concentrate your effort if your budget is limited.
For the purposes of this article I will concentrate on paid entertainment. I know there is a lot of ways to DIY entertain but I am just going to concentrate on hiring entertainers.
Lets start with how much to spend out of your budget.
The average percentage is between 5 – 8% of your wedding budget. If you are a follower of the Wedding Genie then you know we believe in working out your priorities right at the beginning of your wedding planning. That way you will know straight away if entertainment features highly. If so you can always spend more and cut back in other areas, but as a guide this is the average percentage.
How do you decide what kind of Entertainment you want?
I guess to a certain extent it’s down to your personal style and what kind of atmosphere you want to create at your wedding. Do you want high energy grooving or a sophisticated jazzy feel? Are you a country music fan or a rat pack lover? Perhaps you want dancing but without the disco, such as a Ceilidh band.
Maybe your wedding has a particular theme that certain music and entertainment lend itself to. Think about what your friends and family like and how you want them to remember the evening. The more of an idea that you have will help you choose what type of entertainment is right for you.
Another factor that will help decide is the size of your venue; fitting an eight-piece band into a small intimate room is not practical, also you have to check if your venue has a license for entertainment. Lastly your budget will dictate but if you choose wisely you can still have really good entertainment, just shop around and think about it carefully.
Obviously the main part of the day to provide entertainment for is the evening reception, but if you have more in your budget then it’s great to have something going on to keep your guests entertained whilst you are having your photographs taken and throughout the drinks reception if you are having one.
Here are some suggestions of various entertainers if you are on a tight budget.
There are some brilliant DJ’s out there who can really make your party swing. Look around, don’t just go for the one that your venue suggests, ask your friends, look on the internet. Check out what they bring with them in terms of lighting and decor. Often the DJ can put on a really good show and create a fabulous party atmosphere. Lots of the DJ websites nowadays show you what their style is and give you a choice of music to play. Don’t forget that if you want to involve your guests you can ask them for their favourite songs, though be careful they are not all love songs. You could suggest they give you their favourite love song and dance track.
If you want to dance but don’t like the idea of a disco, why not try a Ceilidh band? The music is lively and the caller, who is the chap that talks the guests through the dance, creates a great atmosphere, and encourages everyone to dance. It’s a fun thing to do and really involves your guests. The bride and groom can take to the floor and be totally involved in the evenings celebrations. It is a great idea for a country wedding.
The Rat Pack sound is excellent for vintage weddings. In between sets you can always hook up your iPod so that your guests can dance and stay in the party swing. That way you may be able to get live music for part of the evening. I have seen many weddings where this has been the case. It’s a great way of getting your party started and this type of music brings a little sophistication to your evening, the older relatives in your party will love it. Imagine your first dance being sung live whilst you glide round the dance floor.
If your budget stretches further think about a live band and entertainment for the drinks reception.
You can’t beat a live band for atmosphere and the wow factor. Often the band will play music to dance to in between their sets so no DJ required. You can even work out the times they appear to suit the flow of your reception. Professional bands give out a great vibe and if they are really good the dance floor should be full all night. They will also bring lights and décor to give a great party atmosphere.
Mix and Mingle Artists
Using entertainers that mix and mingle such as caricaturists or a silhouettist is a good idea because your guests each get something to take home with them. Close up magicians and Mentalists can be extremely funny and entertaining too.
String quartets, guitarists, pianists, and harpists are fantastic for a classy drinks reception and also play during your ceremony if you wish. They create a lovely atmosphere and can play outside if the weather is gorgeous and your setting dictates. Just imagine a stunning country mansion with beautiful gardens and guests spilling outside being wafted by lovely classical music in the sunshine, that would start your wedding reception in style.
Top tips for sourcing entertainment companies
There are many agencies on the Internet where you can find excellent entertainment, who specialise in wedding entertainers. Their websites should be informative, have pricing guides, question and answer areas and a good selection of entertainers to choose from, along with clips of sound tracks and choices of music. It’s a good idea to ask for references of past clients.
Talk to your friends, family or your venue coordinator to see if they know of anyone or have recommendations. Word of mouth is always a safe bet. You may have been to a wedding recently where the band or DJ was fabulous. I chose our magician from a friends wedding. I swore I was not going to have one, it’s not one of my things, but hey this guy made me laugh so much I booked him on the spot.
Go and see local bands in your area. If you get chance to see the band that you think you may want to book then you will have first hand evidence they are right for you. The other answer is to use a wedding planner; we work with reputable companies and can vouch for their standard of service. We will also understand exactly what type of entertainment is suitable for you and within your budget.
Make sure you strike up a relationship with your entertainment provider
It's very important, the supplier should be able to understand what you want from your wedding day so that they can recommend the right kind of entertainment for your celebrations. If they don’t take time to talk to you and determine what would be the best recommendation, go elsewhere.
The entertainment is a big part of your wedding and you want to be sure that the money you are spending is directed at the best type of entertainer for you, whether it’s a DJ, band or magician etc. You should be crystal clear about what is included within the contract, how long the entertainment lasts for, what they need in terms of set up, and riders that are included of what you have to provide in terms of food, drink and rest areas.
The choice for entertainment is quite vast but I would urge you to choose what suits your style and personality. Choose what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with. I hope this goes some way to help you decide the perfect entertainment for you.
Written by: Julie Dawson - The Wedding Genie