You’ve booked the venue, the Church and the caterer, and now it’s time to think about the details of the day. Weddings days are great fun, but can be long. Make sure you keep your guests entertained from the arrival drinks, to the final dance, by choosing the perfect entertainment plan.
Entertainment comes in many forms, with most modern weddings opting for more than a DJ, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Choosing an entertainment package that reflects you as a couple, matches the theme of the day, and keeps your guests entertained into the small hours, will be the icing on your cake.
At Ashover Parish Hall our spaces are flexible enough for you to get really creative with the entertainment, offering endless possibilities, but wherever you plan to hold your wedding reception, check out our guide to wedding entertainment to find the perfect mix for your day.
Music will probably play a very large part in your day, from the Bridal march or the background music in the registry office, to the wedding band or disco DJ at the night do. It’s important to think carefully about what you do want and what you definitely don’t want in terms of music on your wedding day.
Background music at the ceremony. If you are having a church wedding it’s a good idea to arrange a meeting with the Church organist, ask their advice and ask them to play a few wedding arrangements for you to choose from. It you are getting married in a registry office or licensed venue then you have a bit more freedom in terms of the sound of the music. You can prepare a CD of your favourite love songs or even enter the room to the sounds of Metallica if that’s what floats your boat! Whatever your musical style, make sure you think carefully about what music you want and how it fits in with the theme of your day.
Music at the Reception. You will probably want some background music to help set the scene when you arrive at the wedding reception venue. This could be a playlist of songs you have chosen together, or a live string quartet. At Ashover Parish Hall we have an excellent sound system that allows you to play a CD, or plug in your Ipod, and channel the same music into all three rooms.
If you are making your own playlist, make sure you sit down together as a couple and agree on the tracks. They could be hits that remind you of special moments (most couples have ‘their song’), lyrics which describe how you feel about each other, or beats that fit in well with your theme. Also consider at what point in the celebration the songs will be played; you may want calming music playing while you eat your meal, but more lively music in the run up to the DJ or band coming on to get everybody up for the party.
If you do want to book a performer or musician, like a wedding singer or harp player, to provide the background music, make sure you see them live before your wedding. Do not just pick someone out of the yellow pages and hope for the best as it could ruin the ambiance of the day if your wedding singer sounds like a strangled cat!
Night Do. The biggest consideration in terms of music is the night do. After all, this is the part of the day when all the worrying is over (What if the guests don’t like the food? Will I drop red wine down my dress?), you are finally Mr and Mrs and you can let your hair down and have a good old party.
DJs have taken some stick over the years for being a bit cheesy with Aga Do and the like but, then again, sometimes a family wedding needs a bit of cheese! The main point of a night do is for you and your guests to have a great time and (be honest) who doesn’t like having a good old dance and sing along to traditional wedding disco tracks? If you do want to control the cheese factor you can always give the DJ a strict ‘DO NOT PLAY’ list and an idea of the kind of thing you do want. You are in charge – it’s your big day and if the DJ doesn’t want to follow your directions then they aren’t the right one for you.
As mentioned earlier, it’s always best to hear them perform before the wedding and check out their DJ skills.
Consider the guests at the wedding; it’s no good getting a hard house DJ if a lot of the guests will be older family members. Ideally, you want to have a great time yourselves and make sure the music is true to your style, but the thing that will make sure you have a good time is the atmosphere. It won’t be a good atmosphere if most of the guests are sitting with their hands over their ears because they can’t stand your music.
Live bands can really make a night do rock. You can find bands offering sounds in different genres including loud, disco, rock, electronic, traditional or formal, depending on your musical tastes. Leave plenty of time to research the bands in your area and, once again, make sure you check them out live before booking.
Again, consider how your personal taste matches with the taste of your guests. Ideally you want to keep that dance floor full, so consider what kind of band would do that the best. If really want a type of band that won’t be popular with the majority of your guests, you could compromise and just book them to do a short set. The last thing you want is for your guests to leave early because they can’t stand ‘all this thumping and banging’. Many modern bands perform songs from various decades and take requests for favourites so your guests can have a say what they dance to – if you want them to!
Whatever type of band you choose, make sure that between the band and the venue they have all the equipment they need. At Ashover Parish Hall, we have a mixing desk which bands can plug equipment straight into (as long as it has a PAT certificate) so they don’t need to lug speakers around with them. Make sure you plan this before your big day, or you could end up with a silent reception.
Whatever musical options you choose, make sure you have weighed up the pros and cons of each option and considered how it fits in with your theme. There is no point decorating the room in a vintage style but playing 80s pop music during the welcome drinks!
Many modern weddings provide more than just musical entertainment for their guests…
Children if you have children coming to your wedding, it’s always a good idea to provide them with some entertainment. This won’t just be nice for the kids – it will make their parents happier too! There are a number of ways you can keep the kiddies in check: colouring and activity packs on their place settings, a ‘crèche corner’ with toys and games or even a separate room for them to have fun in.
At Ashover Parish Hall, one of our brides recently hired the Fabrick room specifically for her younger guests. The room was laid out with garden games, such as twister and giant Jenga, a pick and mix table (whoo E numbers!) and a chill out corner with beanbags and mats for when the little monkeys had come down off their sugar high and crashed.
If you really want to go to town, why not put on a bouncy castle for the ankle bitters. If they bounce all day, maybe they will sleep all night allowing their parents to join you for the night do. Or maybe their parents will be tired out from bouncing too? Who knows, but it would make for some fab photos.
Think about any younger guests when picking your venue. If you are booking a posh hotel it may be best to leave little ones of the guest list altogether. At Ashover Parish Hall we are lucky to have a children’s park right next door, but wherever you are having your reception make sure you consider ways of keeping any younger guests entertained.
Photography. In recent years it has become popular for brides and grooms to leave disposable cameras on the tables so guests can play photographer and take photos of your big day. Not only does this leave you with some fabulous photo memories of your day (depending on your guests’ photography skills!), it provides entertainment for your guests – after all, who doesn’t love taking silly photos?
At Ashover Parish Hall. Our brides and grooms often use our large projector screens to display photos of their ‘courtship’, childhood photos and funny photos of their guests and families. What could be better than entertaining your guests by means of embarrassment?
Another big craze is photo booths. And they don’t have to be as expensive as you might think. Of course you can hire the big professional one, but if you want the same results for less you can also make a DIY photo booth. Just find a quiet corner, decorate it a bit, set up a camera on a tripod, provide a few silly hats and let your guests click away!
Entertainers such as fire-eaters and magicians are becoming more recognised as a skill and art form these days, so if you want some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, let them hypnotise your guests with twirling flames and amazing tricks.
Late night Fireworks are great if you have the budget and a secluded venue – if your venue is near a residential area they may not allow you let off rockets at 12am. A less noisy, but just as ‘pretty’ idea to end the party is sky lanterns. What could be better than ending your big day surrounded by friends and family watching loads of twinkly lanterns fly off into the night?
Hopefully our guide has given you some inspiration when it comes to designing a day full of entertainment for your wedding guests. To find out more about what we can offer at Ashover Parish Hall, get in touch on 01246 590005 and talk to Alex or Jessica about designing the perfectly planned reception.
Wherever you choose to hold your wedding reception, enjoy the party!