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14 wedding entertainment ideas to impress any guest

Kavi Shah
For newly married couples, the celebrations tend to kick off as soon as they say 'I do' - E+

Your wedding day will go on to become one of the most fun and memorable days of your life, but if you want to make it an equally unforgettable event for your guests, pay close attention to the entertainment. A unique line-up will impress and excite guests and enhance the energy of the day, while also showing off your personalities as bride and groom. Certain types of performers and artists can even act as an easy ice breaker between guests who are meeting for the first time. 

When it comes to choosing the entertainment, the sky’s (literally) the limit – here’s some inspiration.

1. Turn your ceremony into a work of art

Photo booths, instant cameras and the like are great fun, but they’re becoming a little time-worn. Before photographers came painters, so why not reinstate the magic by bringing in a live event painter to capture the beauty of your special day as it unfolds? With every brush and stroke, they will illustrate your nuptials in true detail. Guests will be enthralled to see the artist at work during the ceremony and will pop back to see how the painting is progressing as the day goes on. 

The finished canvas will make for a treasured keepsake for you to hang on the wall and relive the special moments again and again. Plus, the results are immediate; it beats waiting 11 months to see the photos taken by your professional photographer, and you can make a copy and use it as the cover for thank-you cards to send to guests later.

2. Pull it out the hat

You’re never too old for magic, right? The beauty of inviting a magician to amaze and amuse is that they will appeal to guests young and old. Whether you have the magician arrive to entertain during welcome drinks or while you’re having photos taken, they’re sure to raise the atmosphere in the room (from all the clapping and cheering), plus it acts as a great ice breaker between guests who may not know each other. Seeing their jaws drop and eyes widen with delight is priceless.

3. Give glitz makeovers

Like bathroom baskets, personalised Snapchat filters and complementary flip flops, this one might be up there with ideas that are nice but not essential – however, getting glitter artists or face painters in for an hour or two will bring sparkle and excitement, particularly to younger guests. Many adults love getting their faces plastered with paint or glitter too, and it’s likely to get the selfies going, meaning that your wedding gets a good lot of social media air time. Henna artists are also an option to consider.

4. Feel the heat

When the sun’s gone down at an outside wedding, treat guests to a spectacle that they’re unlikely to have seen before: a fire show. It’s a great chance to gather all the guests together – perhaps to warm up the evening. Talented fire performers can do everything from juggling to hula hooping to fire eating, and even to a song of your choosing. This one is certain to get people talking.

5. Customise the favours

Forget universal wedding favours and instead give your guests something cool and personalised to take home: a piece of silhouette art. A silhouettist will create a buzz as people come to watch him or her at work, cutting out the silhouette of the guest/s before him. Sometimes the silhouettist can do couples looking face-to-face at each other – and sometimes they even make two copies, so one can be stuck into your guest book, and signed by the guest, while the other is taken home by the guest. 

6. Learn a dance together

Once dinner’s finished and you really want to get the party started and the dancefloor filled, professional dancers can help. Some bollywood performers/choreographers, for example, will bring their own dancers along and teach the entire wedding party a routine, step-by-step, so within half an hour, the entire room is up doing a synchronised dance together – no pre-planning required. 

7. Make sparks fly

Just like they do at Disneyland, you can complete your fairytale day with a spectacular, crowd-pleasing firework display. Request the heart-shaped red pyrotechnic display for added lovey-doveyness if the budget allows. If you don’t want to go OTT, you could just get some sparklers or lanterns and (carefully) stage your own finale if the venue allows. If there’s an option to light a bonfire, stock up on the marshmallows and get them toasting.

For explosive entertainment, you couldn't hope for more than wedding fireworks Credit: Reuters

8. Breakfast surprise

Surprise your guests with waiters who burst out with songs. Singing waiters do their best to blend in as staff at your wedding breakfast – wearing the uniform, serving drinks or making announcements – before gently pulling out a microphone and breaking out their amazing singing voices and performing for the crowd.

9. Strike a pose

Pretty much guaranteed to incite giggles, a caricaturist is an entertaining addition to a wedding. A caricature drawing (an exaggerated cartoon-like sketches of a person) makes a great memento for guests to take home with them, too. The best time of day for this is probably earlier rather than later – when guests aren’t too intoxicated and able to sit still and pose! You could even get pre-printed paper (stating your names and the date of your wedding) for the artist to use.

10. Light it up

Taking glow sticks to a whole new level are glow artists, who put on an after-dark performance like no other. Fusing dance, circus acts and music with bright, bold LED props to dramatic effect, it’s a captivating show – and for the finale you can customise a couple of words to be lit up – perhaps a “thank you” to your guests for coming.

11. Get a giggle master

To fill the gap between the breakfast and the evening reception – and to ensure your guests don’t encounter a moment of boredom – you can bring in a comedian to keep the momentum going and incite a good amount of belly laughs. 

12. Sound the music

Having a harpist/string quartet/saxophonist/pianist/drummer playing your favourite songs – whether that’s chart hits or slow classics – is a great way to add atmosphere to a drinks reception, and to set guests up for your big entrance. Also instead of hiring a bog-standard DJ for the night, why not get in a soul and pop band who will keep things lively all night? If you’re looking for an alternative band there are jazz, mariachi, Cuban options and more.

13. Hit the jackpot

For those who don’t like to dance, a great bit of side entertainment is a quick game of blackjack or poker. Cue the mobile wedding casino, which you can get set up near the dance floor (so they’re not totally away from all the action). With a bit of fake money and helpful dealers who can explain to newbies exactly how to play, it’s sure to go down a treat. You could even provide prizes for winners.

14. Night circus 

Provided your venue is set up for this, and it fits your wedding theme, get some high-energy circus acrobats and aerial artists in for when your guests are arriving (or before dinner). Bright, colourful props (hoops, ropes, silks, etc) and quirky body movements and shapes will have guests oohing and ahhing in amazement. Think of it as the show before the show.