Hello! I am so excited to be back again – I have to say I am loving the articles on this blog. It really is a mine of wedding information. Last time we talked about perfect timing! Today I want to help you choose great entertainment. This is a big part of your wedding planning so take your time and choose wisely.
When it comes to keeping guests entertained it really can be hard to find the right people and expensive if you don’t think about it first.
So much to think about when planning what to do and when. Well get comfortable and I will endeavour to make it as easy as I can. Not only that but I am going to recommend some of the best entertainers I know to help you get started.
Think things through first!
When choosing entertainment for your wedding think 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.During the wedding breakfast. My advice during the wedding breakfast would be not to entertain here. People are eating and catching up. They don’t really notice what is going on then so paid entertainment is sometimes a waste of money.
- Following the wedding breakfast.If you have a long time from the end of the wedding breakfast to the main evening party. (You should not really have a big time lag here if planned properly).
- The evening entertainment – in my opinion this 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 and entertain your guests but I am going to concentrate on hiring entertainers.
Image by Prestige
Lets start with how much to spend out of your budget?
The average percentage is approximately 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 right away if entertainment features highly. If so you can always spend more or your budget and cut back in other areas, but as a guide this is the average percentage to give you an idea or a starting point.
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? Do you love Pop music? 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.
Image by Julie Kim Photography
Here are some suggestions of various entertainers if you are on a more restricted 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. One of my most favourite DJ’s ever is Mark Tolliss. He gives a really personal approach and is so professional and he really cares about you and making sure you have the best party ever!
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 and ask them their favourite songs, be careful they are not all love songs. You could suggest they give you their favourite love song and dance track. Some of them will also provide lighting and dance floors if you need them to.
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 evening’s celebrations. It is a great idea for a country wedding.
The Rat Pack sound is excellent for vintage weddings. Check out Howard Wing, an incredibly cool chap and an all round entertainer. This is a great way to start your 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.They are also great during drinks receptions too.
Check out when you hire the entertainer if they provide a DJ service too. Often this is more cost effective than paying again for a DJ. Another act that I am loving for the drinks reception is The Acoustic. Amazing vocalists to sing gorgeous chilled out music.
Image by Simplicity Photography
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 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. One of my most favourites is a band called iPop. They are amazing, up to date and so professional.
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. One of my favourite close up magicians is Joseph Barry.
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. A stunning country mansion with beautiful gardens and guests spilling outside being wafted by lovely classical music in the sunshine starts your wedding reception in style.
Image by Leslie Meredith
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.
Image by Jo Hastings Photography
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.
Here are a few things to ask.
- How long they need for set up?
- How long and how often will they sing/play? Often they do sets of 45 minutes or one hour and it is generally twice. So think about the timings when they will be most effective. To open your evening party and to end it is always great.
- What space do they need?
- What lights etc are they bringing with them? If more than one artist for instance a band and DJ check what they are both bringing to stop from doubling up and how will they fit in the space?
- Do they have the right paperwork that the venue will need?
- What time are they staying till?
- Check through their contract thoroughly.
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. I am happy to answer any questions if you would like to comment below. Have fun choosing your wedding day entertainers.
Until next time, happy planning.