Wedding Entertainment Ideas: 32 Must-See Options
By Wedding Spot
Wedding entertainment ideas have evolved significantly over the years and can be what sets a wedding over the top for guests. Good entertainment will not only keep your guests engaged throughout the reception, but will also act as an essential icebreaker. You are likely to have guests who are not familiar with others in attendance, so stirring activities will encourage your friends and family to mingle. But how can you make sure you find the right entertainment for all types of personalities, without settling for stale options?
Discover 32 of our favorite wedding entertainment ideas:
1. Live band
Incorporate live music into your wedding reception to make your guests feel like they’re at a concert! Mix it up and pick a band or genre that veers from the standard wedding music – opt for a vintage jazz band or a retro funk group. Bring your theme to life with a band that perfectly complements your outfits, décor, and overall style.
2. DJ and sax
Yes, you read that correctly – give your guests the best of both worlds with renditions of their favorite songs, enhanced by a live element. A saxophonist could be the perfect contrast to add a funky, soulful vibe to your favorite tunes. Add in some percussion, vocals, or other brass instruments to bring more energy to the typical DJ’s set. If it’s applicable, tailor the live addition to your desired theme – for example, an electric guitarist would suit an industrial-chic wedding.
3. Magic mirror photo booth
While wedding photo booths have served as a great memory-maker over the years, why not add some flair with a mirror? The mirrored aspect of this staple is an unexpected way to modernize the experience. Jazz the mini photoshoot up with themed props or an elegant backdrop for an effortless and universally fun activity.
4. Ferris wheel
Bring all the fun of a carnival to your wedding day with a small-scale ferris wheel! A ferris wheel will also provide the perfect photo op for your friends and family, and your sweet couple shots.
5. Bounce house
Take your guests down memory lane with an upscale version of this classic. Friends and family won’t feel like they’re at a kids’ birthday party with an upgraded, elegant inflatable – it’s also a surefire way to raise the energy level!
For the artsy couple, having a reception caricature artist is the perfect wedding entertainment idea. You can easily set up a station for the artist away from the commotion of the dance floor that will also double as a break area for your guests. Caricatures are a fabulous, easygoing activity that will also serve as a customized wedding favor – feel free to get creative with a custom border including your names and the date, and even offer digital downloads.
From suspended aerialists to acrobats frozen as statues, live performers will elevate the atmosphere of any wedding. Utilize the tall ceilings in your reception space for aerial silks or hoops or hire acrobats with unparalleled static skills for your friends and family to take pictures with throughout the day.
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8. Bourbon bar (or on-hand barista to accommodate non-drinkers)
Delight the crowd with a range of options for this savory spirit, from a hand crafted Old-Fashioned to a tasting bar. Allow the guests to customize their drinks with a garnish buffet or offer options to help them learn about the types of bourbon and flavors available. If you’re hosting people who won’t be consuming alcohol, provide other options like an on-hand espresso bar and watch the barista’s artistry excite your guests.
Set up an old-school karaoke machine on a pre-existing stage or a smaller podium you can pack up later on. Those in attendance can dedicate songs to the couple or pick their own – of course, from a carefully curated list beforehand to ensure you don’t have any inappropriate tunes pop up at your reception. Make sure to place song limits per person/group and cap the time you’ll have the setup open, so your guests will have the chance to partake without the activity dragging on all night.
10. Pianist or keyboardist
Classic, and oh-so romantic. A pianist will add a luxurious element to your fancy affair, whether you’re aiming for a fairytale wedding theme or a funky and chic night. You can have the pianist provide background music for a cocktail hour or your romantic first dance. For a more upbeat reception twist, opt for an unexpected rock keyboardist to shake up the crowd.
11. Giant Jenga
Keep your guests on their toes with a larger-than-life game of Jenga. Your tactical-minded friends will appreciate a game that allows let them use their brain a bit, and even see how level-headed they can stay after a few cocktails. Leave out some permanent markers so your guests can write well wishes for the happy couple to read later on.
Give your wedding a James Bond Casino Royale feel by scattering poker tables around your reception. Keep it sophisticated – not cheesy – by dressing your staff in black tie. Customize poker chips with your wedding date and design for your guests to keep as a small, memorable favor.
Let the good times roll with this ideal lawn reception activity. If you’ve planned your reception at an outdoor venue or have access to a lawn, bocce is a low-key yet engaging game for your competitive guests – they don’t even have to put down their drinks to play!
Encourage your guests to kick off their shoes and get moving with a low-stress game of badminton! All you will need is a few rackets, shuttlecocks, and a net for a cost-effective game that all ages can play. Embrace your boho vibes with a DIY macramé net or weave in twinkle lights for a beautiful nighttime setup. As a bonus, bring along a volleyball and use the net to bump, set, and spike even more competition into the reception.
For the garden or tea party wedding, a game of afternoon croquet is a quintessential activity. Liven up your reception with quaint wooden mallets – customized with your last name – and bright, vintage balls. Croquet is a perfect game that will keep your fancy wedding clothes clean!
Another game that best suits your competitive guests, table football — or foosball — is a fun wedding entertainment idea for everyone. Set up a row of three or four tables for your reception and start off the fun with a bride vs. groom grudge match for all of your guests to watch. Then let your guests compete — make it just for fun or offer a grand prize at the end of the night for the winner/winning team.
17. Wedding table Mad Libs
Treat your friends and family to good fun that they can enjoy from the comfort of their seats. Leave custom Mad Libs at each place setting and bring on the roar of laughter as your guests wait for their meals or the dance floor to ramp up. Set aside a collection box by the exit and read all of your guests’ answers for a good chuckle after your big day.
18. Scavenger hunt
Make a list of 10-20 wedding reception memories for guests to capture on their phones with a digital scavenger hunt. Encourage your guests to mingle with others they may not know for a “new friends selfie” or take a photo of their favorite centerpiece – everyone can follow along with the wedding hashtag. Be sure to limit this to the reception only so your guests aren’t distracted and snapping photos during your ceremony.
19. Cigar bar
Infuse your reception with a touch of old-school class in the form of an Instagram-worthy cigar bar. Be sure to stock the bar with a variety of flavors and blends that your guests can tailor to suit their preferences. As an added bonus, hire a cigar-friendly bartender to educate your friends and family on the best cocktails to pair with their cigar.
20. S’mores and bonfires
Spread s’more love at your reception! Cue the campfire and draw in your guests of all ages with warm blankets and sweet treats. Best suited for a late fall or winter wedding, making s’mores over a cozy fire is the perfect relaxing reception activity.
Add a dash of mystery to your special day with a magical performance. A magician can break the lull between the wedding dinner with more variety than directly jumping to an energetic DJ. The right magician will be able to mix up their act and props to match the theme of your wedding.
22. Coloring booth
Make a bright statement and incorporate the comeback of coloring books into your wedding day. Varying levels of difficulty will keep the kids – and adults – entertained by putting their artistic skills to the test. Distribute pre-made wedding coloring books or create a custom coloring book inspired by photos taken throughout your relationship.
23. Balloon darts
Up the ante of a traditional dart board with a DIY paint balloon dart board. The game is cost-effective, simple to organize, and extremely fun to play. Tack vibrant balloons filled with assorted paints – likely matching the color scheme of your wedding – to your board. Depending on how you look at it, the end result of this activity will create a beautiful, whimsical splatter or daring modern art that you can treasure forever.
Smash the wedding cake (piñata) instead of cutting it traditionally. Who wants cake smeared all over their face when you can take any wedding stress out on a piñata? Though it won’t be filled with rich cake or creamy frosting, this work of art will look almost good enough to eat. You can also pick a design that fits your theme and fill it with candy and other small items, like confetti poppers or tiny bottles of alcohol for the adults.
25. Dance battle
Kick off a friendly rivalry between the bride and groom’s families with a themed dance-off. If you already have a dance floor, you’ll just need a little coordination and planning in advance as each side comes together to fight for bragging rights. They may awe your guests with insane choreography or give everyone a good laugh, but it is sure to be an event that all will enjoy.
26. Prosecco or beer pong
Beer pong isn’t just for college kids — you can reinvent the game to fit your wedding day! Supersize the fun with giant beer pong or class the game up with prosecco and pretty pink ping pong balls. There’s a reason this activity is a party staple, especially since it’s versatile enough to fit a laid-back or more sophisticated atmosphere.
Dazzle your guests with a stunning firework display. Accompany milestones throughout the ceremony – like your grand entrance or first dance – or send everyone off with a bang at the end of the night. Options can range from smaller sparklers to a full-on pyrotechnic extravaganza, so take your budget and venue limitations into account when deciding.
28. The shoe game
There may not be a better way for guests to get to know the couple than with the help of the shoe game. No added expenses are needed as the pair sits back-to-back and answers each question by raising a shoe – either yours or your partner’s. The trick is to have someone curate a list of at least 30 silly questions that won’t get too raunchy or personal. Incorporate suggestions from your guests by having them submit a question when they initially RSVP.
Set your wedding apart and give your friends and family members what they actually want – to be truly entertained. Get the crowd roaring with laughter during or after dinner to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Make sure you set boundaries with the comedian before they go on stage if you want to avoid certain topics.
30. Fire dancers
Illuminate up the night with extravagant fire dancers! Turn down the lights and captivate the audience with spinning torches accompanied by booming drums – either live or pre-recorded. When it comes to jaw-dropping wedding entertainment ideas, this is one of our favorite ways to impress your guests.
31. Ring toss
Upcycle wine or champagne bottles and put a ring on it! Show off your favorite labels or take them off and decorate the bottles to your liking, then secure them in a wooden box or on a large wooden slab. Have two groups face off on opposing sides or incorporate different colored rings for everyone to aim at the large slab for a multi-player experience.
32. Silent disco
If your venue or location has a sound curfew that prohibits the party from going all night, consider a silent disco during quiet hours. Not only is this a great way to control loud noises, but you can also set up different channels that your guests can select based on genre preference. Get ready for the epic shots your photographer will be able to capture during this quirky hour.
What are the trending wedding entertainment ideas in 2020?
The top 2020 wedding entertainment trends are engaging activities like interactive lawn games, DIY cocktail and cigar bars, and fireworks to finish off the night in style.
Put these wedding entertainment ideas to use!
It isn’t easy to select the perfect entertainment or activity for your wedding day, so pick something that complements your theme and adds to the overall ambiance. If you can’t decide on one, narrow it down to a handful that are manageable for your budget and unique venue space. Whatever option you choose, ensure the entertainment is enjoyable and will stand out in your guests’ memory for years to come.