How to entertain Your Wedding Guests (with pictures!)
By my lovely friend Sheryl at Oobaloos Photography
When you start to plan your wedding, your first key points are likely to be Venue, Photographer, Florist, Dress, Cake.
Then you start to sort seating plans and timelines. The registrar has you booked for a 12pm wedding. The venue has you booked for a sit down dinner at 4pm… UH OH… that’s a big gap from 12.30pm til at least 3.30pm when the venue starts seating your guests.
There is only so long that your guests will want to chat and nibble at canapes at the drinks reception before the kids are whining they’re BOOOOORED and HUUUUUNGRY because all the canapes were ‘gross’. Sorry, I have a 7 year old boy…anything with vegetables or any colour is now classed as ‘gross’. I’m sure YOUR canapes will be lovely! 😉
On that note..always go for a marinated cocktail sausage. The kids and your photographer will thank you for it!
I am going to take you through wedding entertainment for all seasons and weathers and for kids of all ages, from 1 to 101
The Drinks Reception
Your drinks reception will be the first time you get to chat to your guests after the wedding. For you as a couple, this is a very busy time receiving congratulations, cards and gifts and seeing family you may not have seen in a very long time.
It is a very good idea to have canapes at this time as many folk wont have eaten since breakfast and we all know what champagne does on an empty stomach. A wedding is a marathon not a sprint folks!
One of my personal favourite forms of entertainment at this time is a magician. Not a show, someone who mingles with the guests, doing close up magic tricks with cards and various other ‘props’. From a photography point of view, it’s awesome to shoot through shoulders to get amazing reactions of awe, horror, disbelief and laughter. Though it can be distracting as these guys are so damn GOOD!! I also spend my time watching through the viewfinder trying to work it out like everyone else. I have also walked around these guys shooting every angle in the hope I may catch some inside info! Alas…it’s not meant to be!
PUNCH & JUDY
One of the oldest forms of children’s entertainment out there! Although we may now be conditioned to see puppets and clowns as slightly sinister as adults (see pic where a wooden puppet looks behind the stage directly at my camera…*shudder*) , younger children just find them hilarious and a wonderful alternative to a more ‘grown up’ magician.
Bouncy Castles are just amazing for kids, and perfect for them to play on BEFORE dinner. The best thing to do is to check if the photographer has finished needing their presence for any group or formal photographs, then let them get as sweaty and messy as they want! You will always find me hovering near the bouncy castle looking for the perfect shots of kids having an awesome time!
Limbo, bean bag toss, beer pong, coconut shys, all the fun of the fair!! These simple games are extremely effective and will be sure to keep your guests laughing and you may see some surprising competitive streaks coming out!
If your wedding is at a festive time of year, and garden games are not on the agenda, why not surprise your guests with a little extra magic? Christmas Carollers gives everyone the ‘warm fuzzies’ with their mulled wine and a mince pie.
What if some certain festive folk made a guest appearance? Such as Santa, or Donna and Blitzen? When you’re having a Christmas wedding, feel free to go all out! It’s such a magical time of year to get married!
In the Dining Room
These performers are amazing. I have worked with quite a few different companies over the years and I’m amazed at their commitment to character all day! They will start several hours before their ‘show’ and be greeting guests dressed in the same uniform as your caterers or bar staff. They serve drinks, chat to guests and you would never know they weren’t actually employed there. Straight after dinner, where they have been serving drinks and food to you, some big ‘accident’ will take place. Your guests will look at each other rather embarrassed…it’s a bit like watching a car crash! Since I already know what’s happening, I’m on hand to photograph all these bits. Although one guest told me later she had thought I was highly insensitive photographing that poor ‘waiter’ tripping and losing his tray’. To then realise he was now singing at her and she was now part of the show! These are the jokes folks!
The way these performers work the room and the audience is nothing less than spectacular and they have everyone on their feet, swinging those napkins, doing the conga and singing. It actually brings tears to my eyes watching it, shooting it, and being right in the middle of it.
MR & MRS GAME
It’s a classic for a reason. Though try to keep the questions PG. I have seen some highly embarrassed brides being asked certain questions with their Nan sat right there!
The only other section of the day to think about is that time between dinner finishing and the evening starting. During a summer wedding, most guests will meander to the outside to sit and soak up the early evening sun and let their dinner go down. Other guests will go for a nap, to freshen up or change or send kiddiwinks off with grandparents arriving to take them home and to bed.
At some weddings, the drinks are flowing, the energy is high and you want to keep that high going until they can hit the dancefloor!
Here is where the amazing Rodeo Sheep and Glitter Bar at Georgie and Andy’s wedding at Lyde Court came in. Some very brave ladies and gents tried to saddle up and ride the Sheep. Again, some pretty awesome photo opps there!
A ‘glitter bar’ is guaranteed to give your wedding the ultimate ‘festival vibe’ and was great fun seeing the men with glitter beards and heads!
On the Dance Floor
Did I ever tell you about the time a drag queen broke up the first dance?! Yes, you read that correctly. When shooting a wedding of a couple of entertainers, be ready for ANYTHING. Including a drag queen that has come straight off the panto circuit as a dame. The Groom had just been Buttons and they went straight into one of their ‘skits’
Did I mention I have the best job in the world?!
Words and images by Cheltenham wedding photographer Oobaloos Photography
The Undercover Waiters https://theundercoverwaiters.co.uk
Bravo Singing Waiters https://www.bravosingingwaiters.co.uk
Drag Queen: Made to Measure Productions https://www.madetomeasureproductions.co.uk
Duck Race at The Swan at Bibury https://www.cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/the-swan-hotel/
Carrollers at Thornbury Castle https://www.thornburycastle.co.uk
Glitter Bar Wish upon a sparkle https://wishuponasparkle.co.uk
Darren Campbell https://darrencampbellmagic.co.uk
Richard Parsons https://www.gloucestershiremagician.co.uk
Dave Jones http://davejonesmagic.com