Most guests will take a band or DJ for granted as part of the wedding entertainment. But there are plenty the things out there they really won’t be expecting…
This article was first posted on 5th March 2015, but was updated on 6th August 2018
Words by Jessica Kiddle
There’s nothing better than a great band and a full dancefloor at a wedding. But if you want to wow your guests by offering them something a little bit different, the good news is that your entertainment options are a lot less restricted than they used to be. Read on for our pick of the acts that will surprise and delight in equal measure.
Sing And Dine
When it comes to impressing your guests, it’s all about the element of surprise. Cue the Bravo Singing Waiters. Professional singers who pose as waiters and then pop up unexpectedly during your meal, they usually work alongside venue staff to serve the various courses of the wedding breakfast. Then, during dessert, they break out into song. Want to go one step further? Try the ‘Love Actually Experience’.
Recreating the iconic scene from the film of the same name, the performers hide among the guests during the ceremony and then stand up to sing as you turn to walk down the aisle as man and wife.
The Light Fantastic
It doesn’t get much better than ending your day with a bang. Award-winning 21CC Fireworks offers a wide variety of products and effects to create a bespoke firework or pyrotechnic display that can be used both indoors and out. We also like the sound of the indoor fountains offered by the company – these can be lit to create cascading waterfalls of light at just the right moment, such as when you cut the cake or embark on your first dance.
You can’t beat live music for generating a party atmosphere. If a string quartet is not for you, think outside the box. Companies such as Freak Music have numerous acts on their books to suit any style of wedding and can be used to create the atmosphere you’re looking for. From a gypsy jazz group or a Brazilian Afro-Cuban band to a Highland tribal act for a Scottish wedding with a twist, there is a style for everyone.
Play It Again
Adding an extra dimension to the drinks reception or evening entertainment, games are always a winner at weddings. Croquet, bowls or giant chess boards are all great choices, but why not take a trip down memory lane – and help your guests do the same – with some retro entertainment? Silly Snapz hires out all those arcade games that you loved as a kid such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Our thumbs are twitching already…
While your photographer is snapping away, let your guests find their own best angle – and have a little fun when they’re at it – by investing in the Green Screen Dream Machine Photobooth. A new-generation of photobooth from the Edinburgh Fun Casino Company, it allows users to create a unique photo by choosing from a number of backdrop themes and picture styles. Options include creating your own magazine front cover or vintage print.
Love Instagram? Then Social Playground is for you. Already a hit in Australia, this company is now taking off in the UK thanks to its ability to harness social media and tap into the universal love of printed photos. It’s all thanks to the Live Instagram Printer that enables guests to print out their social media snaps as they’re taken. How does it work? Social Playground creates a unique wedding hashtag for your guests to use on Instagram and any pictures tagged with this it get automatically sent to the printer that stands waiting at the reception party. All the pics are then handed out to guests – with doubles printed for the bridal party, of course.
Ride With Me
Why not turn the process of getting from A to B into an event in its own right by treating your guests to a whistle-stop tour of your wedding location? The Red Bus has a number of 1962 shiny red double-decker Routemaster buses that arrive decorated with a big white ribbon on the front, along with a bunch of fresh flowers. They can pick up the guests at various points around town, take them to wedding ceremony, then wait to transport everyone on to the reception. We suggest picking the scenic route and stocking up on disposable cameras.
A Face In The Crowd
How can you entice the likes of David Beckham or James Bond to your wedding? There is a way: the Magic Agency in Glasgow and Alive Network both have a number of celebrity lookalikes on their books working north of the border.
From Sean Connery making the drinks (shaken, of course) to Captain Jack Sparrow popping by for a chinwag, it’ll certainly be a conversation starter, and is a perfect filler for any gaps in your event, such as the time it takes to get your photos taken.
There’s nothing like a solo piper to make guests misty-eyed, but for couples looking to take things further, Scotpipe offer something more unusual. Using either a mini pipe band (perfect for indoors) or a full band, their speciality is to interrupt the proceedings with their take on the traditional military ceremony ‘Beating the Retreat’.
Hiding in the wings (or more commonly the car park) all dressed and tuned up, they surprise guests – or sometimes the bride and groom – by marching into the middle of the dancefloor at a prearranged moment. Once over the shock, everyone is invited up to dance around them.
A Magical Evening
Forget pulling a rabbit out of a hat, sophisticated – and interactive – magic is guaranteed to capture people’s imaginations and add another layer of entertainment to your day. Edinburgh-based Grant Mitchell knows exactly how to make a wedding magical.
Whether it’s during a drinks reception or to break the ice as everyone sits down to the meal, he unleashes a mix of tricks to entertain guest of all ages, from classic close-up work using cards and coins to Derren Brown-style mind-reading.
Sometimes you don’t want to get everyone talking, but rather to stop them in their tracks. Nothing works better than a choreographed dance – especially if it’s sprung on guests, or even on the bride and groom. Glasgow-based Karen Martin, of KM Dance, is working with a growing number of wedding parties who want to kick off the party in style.
From the couple who broke into a choreographed MC Hammer number to a group of hens who showcased a Dirty Dancing routine to the rest of the wedding guests, she can help large groups pick the right song and then put together some impressive moves.
It’s Only Natural
Living Trees – yes, you did read that right – are becoming a popular choice for wedding receptions with a difference. Organised courtesy of Warble Entertainment, they stand still and camouflaged amid the topiary in manicured grounds or a woodland setting and go undetected as guests enter the grounds of a wedding reception.
However, when they put their hands out to greet guests, they’re guaranteed to get a reaction. Ideal for garden weddings, they can also be disguised at the entrance to castles, country hotels and manor houses. Oh, and they are not just for summer – they can also come with twinkly lights for winter weddings.
Roll Up, Roll Up
Bring all the fun of the circus to your special day by adding a theatrical focal point to the running order. Glasgow’s Circus City Entertainment can arrange a number of acts for you, such as stilt-walkers, caricaturists and aerial dance acts.
We also like the idea of introducing fire jugglers in the evening – they look quite spectacular against the night sky or in darker venues. Based in Dundee, Cake’s Entertainment work with a number of Scottish circus performers who can do a 30-minute duo circus fire show set to music. Apparently there’s a fire juggler on a five-foot-tall unicycle involved…