Photo by Contrast Studio
At this time of year as many wedding dates draw near, brides and grooms start thinking about ways to make their wedding entertaining and fun for their guests. Some couples rely on the DJ and bar for wedding entertainment, while others take it up a notch with popular and interactive elements like photobooths and candy stations — two fun and always well-received novelties.
As more and more couples want their weddings to be not only fun but also a true reflection of themselves — leaving guests with memories of a truly personalized and thoughtful night — they’re getting creative and coming up with even more interactive and amusing ways to keep guests occupied and entertained. Some of the most successful and popular wedding entertainment options I’ve seen in recent years include:
Card or board games
Setting up a lounge area or simply some cocktail tables with stacks of retro board games can really bring out the kid in your guests. Include ones like Twister (a fun one once a few drinks have been ingested), Life (kind of poignant on a wedding night), Jenga, chess, darts (I suggest the magnetic ones over actual darts for safety purposes) and/or Yahtzee. You’ll be surprised how much fun people have with these games since they’re not typically played at home as much as they used to be. Rather nostalgic actually!
This works best if your venue includes an outdoor grassy area, of course. Put out games like horseshoes, bocce, croquet and, if space allows, how about a volleyball net? Think about the type of guests coming — what would they love to do?
If budget allows, you could always hire professional entertainment. Beyond the more expected live band option (which for the right group can be more than enough), one of my favourites of the more unusual forms of wedding entertainment is sleight-of-hand illusionists (David Blaine style) hired to mingle with your guests offering a variety of fabulous trickery that will leave guests laughing out loud in amazement and totally baffled.
Another favourite I’ve had the pleasure of introducing to my clients has been using actors hired to “blend in” with your guests and interact with them in unexpected ways. The best one we’ve done was “The Drunk Server” who spent the night shocking guests by doing everything a professional server should not — from eating the canapés right off the serving trays to sipping excessively full glasses of wine before handing them to guests, and sitting down with guests to enjoy a swig from his own hidden flask. It was quite the conversation starter! The idea, though, is not to let the charade go on too long or people may get upset. And best to let the moms and caterer in on the secret, or better yet, get them involved and have them fire the sorry server after a couple of hours of his shenanigans.
Another fun idea might be to hire some cirque-style performers to delight guests during and after dinner with their contortions and talents.
Late-night snack stations
Consider interactive snack stations featuring sundaes, assorted cookies and milk (think Oreos and chocolate chip), make-your-own mini pizzas or my personal favourite, gourmet grilled cheese with two or three cheese and bread options (either with a chef manning the grill, or DIY with a couple of small hibachi grills for guests to operate — both are a ton of fun).
Set up a table with supplies like glue, scissors, interesting pens, magazines (to cut and paste from), coloured markers, stickers, etc. Post signage asking guests to get creative and contribute to this “Interactive Guest Book Mural for the Bride & Groom.” In the end you’ll have a fabulous board of images, thoughts, quotes and cutouts that tells the couple’s story. I’ve seen this done once and it was very well received. You could also include a Polaroid camera so guests can add photos of themselves to the mural. So many possibilities! You might then frame it after the wedding as a unique, personalized work of art.
I encourage couples to think about what they truly love to do and come up with great ways to incorporate those things into their wedding-night lineup. Not all of them need be expensive either. Get creative and have some fun!
Genève McNally, principal planner at DreamGroup Productions Inc. Wedding & Event Planners, began her career as catering manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought-after wedding venues. In 2004 she joined forces with good friend Sarah Shore to found one of Vancouver’s longest-running and most-trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions. With her in-depth knowledge of the industry and candid communication style, Genève enjoys giving back to the industry with several ongoing blog features and through the professional wedding planning classes offered through DreamGroup’s dg Academy.