Wedding Entertainment - An Honest Comparison
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Let’s be honest your wedding day is something you have been planning for a long time. You want everything to be perfect. You have organised the venue, the catering and even the dress. However now is the time to organise the entertainment. The big question is what do you do?
The first piece of advice I would give you to is make sure you think long and hard about the entertainment. In a recent edition Bridal Magazine conducted a survey amongst 5000 brides. 78% percent of brides said looking back at their wedding they wished they had spent more money on entertainment. It’s the entertainment that people remember. When people talk to you about your wedding in the months and years to come they will talk about the memories and experiences that are created throughout the day and into the evening, and the entertainment is a big part of that.
So assuming you have decided that you really want the WOW Factor at your wedding what do you do? What type of entertainment do you book? In reality you can’t do everything. So how do you choose what’s best? In this blog I have highlighted the most popular types of entertainment and listed the pros and cons for each. Hopefully it might help you make a decision as to the best type of entertainment at your wedding
A few years ago hiring a magician was something that was rarely seen at a wedding. However these days it has become the norm. The main reason is that magic is the perfect entertainment during times of the day when other forms of entertainment just don’t work. For example during the photos and champagne reception you can have a magician mingling and mixing keeping people entertained and bringing groups of people together. During the wedding breakfast you can have a magician entertaining people at their table which helps create conversations between guests that don’t know each other.
Hiring a magician is a really interactive experience. It can certainly add the WOW Factor to a
wedding which is an important consideration. Another pro is that hiring a magician can help photographers get really great photos of your guests. A photographers job is to get awesome pictures, however when you put a camera in a person’s face it can cause them to freeze. If you have a magician the photographer can follow your guests around and take pictures of them reacting to the magic they are watching. Instantly your pictures will look 100 times better.
However there are negatives to hiring a magician. First of all not everyone likes magic. Some people think magic is cheesy and corny. There are also a lot of magicians that aren’t great. Don’t get me wrong there are awesome magicians as well but there is no governing body or industry regulation of magic. It means anyone can advertise themselves as a magician regardless of skill level or performing ability. My advice is to watch videos of the magician you are considering before booking. If you have a lot of guests at your wedding another negative is that your magician might not be able to get around everyone. This can be disappointing if everyone is telling you how much they enjoyed the magic and then someone says they never saw the magician.
The other problem with hiring a magician is that having a magician does not feel like a big deal. Because close up magicians don’t perform to everyone and instead they mix and mingle, this means they are not the centre of attention. You can attend a wedding as a guest and not even realise a magician has been booked.
Normally if you are hiring a band they will play during the evening reception. Typically they will set up as the room is being turning around for the evening. They will then do one or two sets throughout the night. These sets typically last 45 minutes. Having a good band play at your wedding can be an amazing experience. A good wedding band can get people up and dancing and really make sure
that everyone has a great time. Also unlike hiring a magician having a band at your wedding feels like a big deal. One thing for sure there is not a single person that has attended your wedding that will not realise there was a band playing
There are a few problems with hiring a band as well. Firstly they take up a lot of space which can be an issue if you are in a smaller venue. I have met couples that desperately wanted a band but they just didn’t have the space. Another negative is that a band can be very expensive. Most bands will have between three and five members. They will also bring a lot of equipment. It means that costs can be very high compared to other forms of entertainment you could potentially book.
Another problem with hiring a band is in most venues your guests will be forced to watch the band. That’s fine unless you don’t actually like listening to loud music or you don’t like the type of music that the band is playing. If this is the case you will be forced to either listen regardless or move into a different room. One final problem is that bands can be very loud. For older guests or people that just want to chat or catch up it can be very annoying to say the least.
There are a couple of different times throughout a wedding that a singer can be used. The most popular time is during the evening reception. The other option is during the wedding breakfast or the reception drinks. If you are considering hiring a singer for the evening reception there are a number of advantages over hiring a band. Firstly a singer requires much less space than a band and can set up in a relatively small area. This is great if you have a lot of guests at your wedding or you are in a smaller venue. Another advantage is that like a band most people love listening to live music. It is much better having a singer at your wedding than just having a DJ. A good singer can really light up a crowd and get the crowd pumping which is exactly what you want for your evening reception.
The big disadvantage with booking a singer is that sometimes they are not as epic and in your face as a band. Depending on the singer that you book they can almost blend into the background (especially at a noisy wedding). This ultimately is not what you want with your evening entertainment. If you book a singer during the wedding breakfast (for example) you have the exact opposite problem. Sometimes the singer can overpower the meal and people struggle to talk to each other. It’s best if you book a singer/musical entertainment that it blends into the background during a wedding breakfast (such as a harpist). The problem with this is you can achieve the same thing with music being played from a PA System. Be honest think about every wedding you have been to. If there is a harpist during the wedding breakfast do you even notice other than when you first walk in the room? Is this something you will remember days, weeks or months later?
At weddings these days it has become more popular than ever before to book a tribute act. In other words a band coming along pretending to be (for example) The Beetles or a singer pretending to be
Robbie Williams. A tribute act has the same advantages as a normal band or singer and if you book the correct act they really can make your wedding spectacular. There are a couple of issues however that are specific to tribute acts. Firstly there is one type of music that is played throughout the entire set. This is great if everyone likes The Beetles for example. However the lack of variety means that if your guests don’t like the act in question it can be off putting. The other is some people view tribute acts as cheap copies of the real thing (especially if the act is not very good). Would you really want your wedding associated with a cheap copy?
An illusion act is different to a magician. While typically a magician will mingle among your guests and be very low key an illusion act is in your face. Illusion acts typically perform at the start of the evening reception. They perform big box illusions and make people appear, disappear and change places. Most illusion acts can even perform illusions on members of the audience (such as floating the bride in the air or sawing the best man in half). This type of act really can supply the WOW Factor and people will remember the performance long after everything else has been forgotten. Most brides and grooms do not book an illusion act which means it makes your wedding very unique.
There are a few downsides to booking an illusion act. Firstly they take up a lot of space which is an issues with smaller venues. Also a lot of the problems with magicians also crossover to illusion acts. For example some people do not like magic which is an even bigger issue with an illusion act than a magician. If you don’t like magic and a close up magician approaches you then you can walk away. However this is not an option if the whole evening reception has been taken over for 30 minutes while an illusionist performs.
Comedians can be a lot of fun. Like an illusion act typically a comedian will perform during the evening reception. Booking a good comedian can really be memorable. It can be something that raises the whole atmosphere in the room up and can get all your guests laughing. The downside is that comedy is subjective. What one person finds funny another person will not find funny. The other issue is that like magicians there are a lot of terrible comedians on the circuit. Having a bad entertainer perform at your wedding can kill the atmosphere completely. The other issue is that a lot of comedians are blue. In other words they tell jokes that are not appropriate to a family audience. Generally most weddings have adults and kids in the audience and therefore this can be an issue.
There are other entertainment options. Things like fire eaters, dance acts etc. These sort of acts have similar pros and cons to other forms of entertainment. For example a characterturist has similar pros and cons to a walk around magician. Also you have to consider DJ’s. However I have assumed that you will be booking a DJ. I have never been to a wedding that did not have a DJ to play music into the night.
The bottom line is when you book your wedding entertainment you need to consider the pros and cons carefully. Make a list of all the entertainment you are considering and what you like about each act. The most important thing though is to be true to yourself. The two most important people at any wedding are the bride and groom. Don’t pick entertainment because other people want you to do something. Book acts that you will enjoy watching - if you enjoy the entertainment then your guests will as well.
Whatever happens have a great wedding and remember the most important thing is to make sure that you do plan some entertainment at your wedding!
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