wedding guests

Surprise Wedding Entertainment Ideas

Wedding entertainment is a key part of the planning and success of the day. You tend to spend lots of time going to see bands, or getting recommendations from friends or family about groups who play fantastic music and will entertain your guests all night long.

A band and DJ are generally the accepted norm in terms of entertainment, but now there’s a move toward adding a few more surprising styles of guest entertainment into the wedding day. Be it at the drinks reception, during the meal or for that lull after the meal and before the band starts.

Think sketch artists, roving street style magicians, comedians or even tarot readers. The best part is, it will be a great surprise for your guests who won’t be expecting it.

Here’s 8 ideas to get your creative juices flowing. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly if you wish to chat about any aspect of your wedding planning and décor.

 

Roving Magicians

Forget top hats and rabbits, instead think street style magicians and you’ve got it. These magicians typically mingle with the guests at the wedding and pull some amazing card tricks and street style magic to wow.

 

Sketch Artists

A sketch or caricature artist is not only a guaranteed to be fun for guests, but it will also leave them with a keepsake from your big day which they will hopefully have for years to come.

 

 

Comedian

Laughter is one of the best ways to break the ice, so think about having a comedian come in and do a short set at the drinks reception or even during the meal to get everyone relaxed and laughing.

 

Singing Waiter

This is a superb surprise and a great way to add some theatre to the meal, plus it is a super ice breaker for guests if they are on mixed tables.

 

Celebrity Lookalikes

Have you and your partner go a celebrity you both love? Then maybe think about hiring an impersonator to mingle with guests and pose for photos with them during the reception. The key to this being a success is not to let anyone know you’ve planned it.

 

Dancers/Flash Mob

Why not have dancers or mini flash mob put on a performance as your guests enjoy the drinks reception or after the meal?  It will be a very unexpected and an ideal way to get everyone happy and ready to dance!

 

Tarot, Palm or Fortune Teller

A tarot card reader or fortune teller is a really quirky way to get your guests relaxed and ready to enjoy themselves. Why not have the fortune teller set-up in the venue during the drinks reception and encourage guests to go and have their fortune told.

 

Faux Paparazzi

This is huge fun and your guests will get to feel like celebs for the day! Why not have the faux paps waiting to snap guests as they arrive into the venue or the reception room. It will also be a great keepsake for them.

 

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Wedding Reception Drinks Ideas

Wedding receptions have come a long way from the traditional glass of bubbles on arrival. Of course, that’s not to say there is anything wrong with this however; you cannot beat a classic.  At the same time, there is now so much more scope for having something a little different for your wedding drinks reception.

Bubbles, prosecco, champagne are all wonderful luxuries and are perfect for the occasion, but if you want to put your own stamp on your wedding day and you have the budget, then why not consider creating something a little more unique. Something that reflects your personalities and tastes.

Think specially created his ‘n’ hers drinks, milk and cookies for the kids, winter warmers and summer coolers.

Here’s some visual inspiration for you. In the meantime don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly if you wish to chat about any aspect of your wedding planning and décor.

 

 

Cocktails

The great thing about cocktails is that they are a bit special. The glasses, the colours and the names are often bursting with fun, which make them ideal for your wedding reception. Ideally it would be nice to offer guests a choice, but if you want to stick to your budget then why not choose a champagne style of cocktail that’s likely to appeal to everyone? If you want to do something a little more experimental then don’t be afraid to go for it, it’s your wedding day after all.

 

Bespoke

Why not create something totally unique to welcome your guests? A signature his ‘n’ hers drink (one of your favourite drinks) for example or cocktail is a wonderful idea as it will reflect your personality as a couple. If your venue has a mixologist, why not work with them to come up with a brand new drink that reflects both of you as a couple?

 

For the Kids

If you’ve got little people at your wedding day, then putting in a little effort to make them feel included really is worth it. A tray of snazzy milk and cookies for example, with cool straws and retro bottles will really make their day complete… and let’s just say one or two adults might love it too!

 

Non-Alcoholic Options

Not everyone is going to want an alcoholic drink at the wedding reception for a variety of reasons; people want to pace themselves, there will be designated drivers and non-drinkers. So don’t forget to cater for them. They can often feel a little forgotten at occasions like this, so why not come up with something that isn’t just your standard mineral. Homemade lemonade stations are a fantastic idea and then let the guests help themselves. Kids love these too by the way.

 

Warmer Uppers

If you’re having a winter wedding, then something warm is very welcome. Hot chocolate is a great choice and you can leave out an array of additions like marshmallows and cream for guest to adorn them with. But also consider drinks such as spiced apple cider or mulled wine or why not have a bespoke tea station with a variety of herbal teas for guests to try?

 

Images via Pinterest

 

 

Complete Guide To Wedding Welcome Bags

Wedding Welcome bags are the latest trend for weddings to come out of the USA. Depending on your point of view, you might look at these bags as something to get on board with, or you may sigh at the thoughts of having to add yet another thing to your wedding ‘to-do’ list.

The idea behind them is that they are a way to welcome and greet your guests who may have travelled a long distance to get to your wedding, but they are also staring to become something that is being extended to all guests.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you want to commit to doing these bags, then we’ve broken it down for you below.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly if you wish to chat about any aspect of your wedding planning and décor.

 

What Are Wedding Welcome Bags?

Wedding welcome bags are a new trend that started over in the United States, but have begun to make their way over to this side of the Atlantic. The original intention for these bags was to be a way to greet guests who had travelled a long distance with goodies that they may need for their visit. Things like information on the wedding venue and local area, maps of the immediate vicinity, or some samples of what the area is known for producing. In addition, the bags generally contain some snacks and drinks to keep people going, plus some toiletries for guests who may have forgotten such essentials.

 

Why Have Them?

While we don’t tend to travel the same huge distances to go to weddings here in Ireland, they are still something to consider. Indeed many of us have relatives who can fly in from far flung places such as Australia, and if you’re having a destination wedding in another country, but beyond that it’s a nice way to make your guests feel welcome and is a very personal touch that will make a huge difference to them. While these bags started out as something to welcome those who had travelled long distances, it is also nice to provide every guest with one, no matter what the distance. Everyone who has come has made an effort to be there, so offering them a personalised welcome bag is a lovely gesture.

 

What Can I Put in Them?

Anything! Generally speaking the content are some kind of fun snacks, toiletries, drinks, information on the local area, information on the venue and the wedding proceedings, even a hangover kit could be useful! The sky’s the limit here.

 

What Sort of Bag Do I Need?

If you’ve got the budget, then why not design a canvas tote? The beauty of it, is that it will be something most guests will use again in their daily lives. If you don’t have the budget, then why not think of paper bags and get creative with a DIY stamp? It doesn’t even have to be a bag, why not a box or basket?

 

Are There Any Downsides?

The only downsides to these bags is the cost and the time. Producing a welcome bag for each guest will cost money and generally speaking you’ll be filling these bags yourself, which can take time, so keep this in mind.

 

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How to Tackle the Wedding Plus One?

Weddings can often throw up a lot of potential landmines with regards to issues such as seating arrangements and who to invite. Often it can be focused on whether or not to invite small children and whether or not to extend your invitation to a plus one.

We all read the hot debate of the latter topic when Pippa Middleton tied the knot last month and allegedly had a ‘no ring no bring’ invite policy with regards to her guests. It’s something that you really do need to think about as you go through your guest list. Do you do ultimately do a ‘Pippa’ or do you welcome guest’s partners or dates no matter how long they’ve been together?

It can be a thorny issue and is dependent on so many factors. Here’s some things to consider when thinking about how you’ll approach the topic for your wedding day.

If you’d like to chat about this or any other aspect of your wedding day décor or planning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Budget & Venue

These two factors are key when it comes to how many guests and plus ones you can afford to have at your wedding day. You may be working with a strict budget, which means plus ones won’t be a given. Also you may have a small and intimate venue, which again will mean that you’ll have to scrutinise your plus ones.

 

No Ring No Invite?

This is a tricky issue, but it’s one you should decide on from the start. Do you automatically invite guest’s partners if they are in a long term relationship but not engaged or married? Or do you allow the guest to bring their boyfriend/girlfriend who they’ve only been seeing a short time. Or do you simply allow them to bring a date for the wedding? Decide on which works best for you and stick to it.

 

 

How Many Singletons?

If you’re likely to have a lot of singletons at the wedding, then extending plus ones may not be an issue as you can seat many of them together. However, if you only have a couple of single people attending, then you’ve got to take into account how much they will be able to enjoy your day if they are there effectively on their own.

 

Be Clear From the Start

If you don’t want to extend a plus one to a guest, then make this very clear by only putting their name on the invitation. Generally speaking people will immediately understand the situation when the see it’s only their name listed. If you do want to allow your guest to bring someone, then name them or put ‘plus guest’ but ensure you get their name for your seating plan.

 

Consider After the Meal

If you do feel under pressure to allow guests to bring more causal plus ones, then perhaps compromise and invite them to the ‘afters.’ This is when all of the formalities will be out of the way and all the guests will have their hair down so the fact that there will be a few partners whom you don’t know very well will be less of an issue.

 

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How To Have An Unplugged Wedding

While technology is undoubtedly a wonderful thing and often a fantastic addition to your wedding day, there is also a move toward what could be described as an ‘unplugged wedding.’  Think of it as the polar opposite of the techy wedding without hashtags, social media and photo sharing.

There’s certainly pros and cons to this sort of wedding and indeed it may sound a little draconian to some, but it can give the day a much more private feel and you’ll have control over your photos, plus it will allow your guests the chance to actually enjoy the day rather than watching it from behind their phone screen as they take snaps.

Of course, you can always have a hybrid of both, where you might decide to have the ceremony as ‘unplugged,’ and the reception as a selfie friendly zone.

If you’d like to chat about this or any aspect of your wedding day planning or décor, then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

 

Pros of an Unplugged Wedding

  • The ethos of an unplugged wedding is twofold. Firstly, you want your guests to disconnect from their technology which rules most of our lives on a daily basis and instead just enjoy the day to the full. Essentially you want them to switch off and not see the day through a phone screen.
  • The second major driver of this type of wedding is that you have much more control over what images are shared on social media. You may have waited a very long time for your wedding day and accordingly you want to make sure you are the one who gets to share the first snap of you and your new husband or wife and not some dodgy picture from a guests smartphone.
  • Also let’s not forget, couples fork out quite a bit for professional photographers, so why not really let them capture the day instead of having your well-meaning guests get in the way of the official photographer who is trying to get those all-important shots.

 

 

Cons of an Unplugged Wedding

  • The most obvious hurdle for an unplugged wedding is letting the guests know your wishes. So be clear from the off. Mention it in your invites, your order of service or have signage at the church or ceremony entrance. Or enlist a member of the bridal party to let the guests know about your wishes.
  • While an unplugged wedding is great in theory, it can also mean you miss some spontaneous shots which only guests can capture, as no matter how good your photographer is, they cannot be everywhere at once. Also once you photographer has left, often it’s the guests pictures which capture the evening time fun, so if you are enforcing your unplugged theme for the entire wedding, you’ll miss out on these pics.
  • Some guests might feel a little peeved about not being able to take pictures for themselves at the wedding day. Let’s not forget, most have taken time out to get themselves dolled up for your big day and would like to be able to take a few shots. A good way around this is to have a photobooth at the reception so the guests can have pictures from the day

 

What About A Hybrid Strategy?   

  • As you can see, there are pros and cons to having an unplugged wedding and sometimes it’s best to employ a sort of hybrid strategy. Why not have your ceremony as a tech-free zone, which will allow your guests to actually be in the moment and enjoy this very special time, rather than watching it from behind their screens. It also means you’ve got full control over your ceremony images.
  • Then after the ceremony, you could lift the tech ban and indeed encourage your guests to get snap happy and upload their best selfies and shots from the day with a hashtag. That way you’re going to get the best of both worlds and not miss out on some potentially great guest’s pics.

 

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Ice Breakers for Wedding Guests

No matter how much time and energy you put into the seating plan for your wedding day, you should be prepared for the fact that you may end up with a few tables of mixed guests or indeed have a few guests who may only know one other or indeed not know anyone else on their table at all. While of course, it’s not an ideal scenario, there are lots of ways you can help these guests to feel at ease.

Icebreakers are the ideal solution and there are tonnes of fantastic, fun ideas to play around with that should have your guests mingling and laughing in no time at all.

You can go from the very simple, such as speech sweepstakes, to the more elaborate such as dares or treasure hunts, but whichever you choose to go for, just bear in mind the best icebreakers are usually the simple ones that provoke a few giggles and get people chatting. And of course as the meal progresses, things tend to become much more relaxed naturally.

If you’d like to chat about this or any aspect of your wedding day décor, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

 

Speech Sweepstakes
The speech betting is a universal a classic, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with using it, as everyone just loves betting on the length of the speeches. It’s one of the simplest and best icebreakers as and gets the whole table involved. You can even print out sheets so guests can all fill in their guesses. Another great betting game to consider is the ‘Thank You’ game, where each guest, or pair of guests puts a €5 in a glass and moves it to their left each time one of the speakers says the words ‘thank you.’ Wedding speech bingo works in a similar way too, but you can make it more formal with printed sheets and phrases for guests to look out for in order to get a full house!
sweepstakes

 

Board Games
Forget monopoly or risk, or more serious board games and instead think fun games like operation, jenga, hungry hippos, connect 4 or buckaroo! The emphasis here should be on getting people relaxed and laughing, instead of serious game playing or winning.
board-games

 

Nametags
This is a bit of a quirky one and again, great for mixed tables as it helps people not only remember each other’s names, but it should help start a conversation too! The idea is the guest can fill in their name on the tag, plus how they know the bride or groom! You could leave this section blank for them to fill in, or provide some funny options to get things going. Have a look on Google for some funny templates to play around with.
nametags

 

Fact Cards or Madlibs
Provide fact cards for your guests to fill in – they can either write one interesting fact, have them shuffled and then everyone has to guess who each fact belongs to, or you can have them write down three facts – two true and one fake. The rest of their table then have to guess which fact is the fake. This is a great way to get your guests chatting and laughing together. Madlibs are another guaranteed winner to get the giggles going as are the classic ‘he said, she said.’
madlibs

 

Dares or Tasks
Setting dares or tasks can be great fun, but bear in mind your guests temperaments. Your 90 year old conservative granny may not take too kindly to being dared to kiss the groom for example, or then again perhaps she would! Just know your audience before launching in on the dares. However if you know they will go down a treat, then go for it. They can be as silly or mischievous as you wish. Why not leave them in a bowl to be plucked out at random and passed around the table, or be inspired by a dare dice or write the dares in an origami style fortune teller like the ones you would have made as school? If you want to get really creative why not give each guest a fortune cookie as their favour but have a dare printed inside each one?
dares

 

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Things To Consider When Picking Your Wedding Venue

Choosing your wedding venue is one of the most important factors in planning your big day. The moment you make that crucial decision, it feels as if the wedding is finally, really happening. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be stressful as you try to make the right choice for you as a couple.

There’s many factors you both need to consider before going ahead. Crucial issues like numbers, your budget and the theme you want to go for, will all have a major bearing on your final decision. But there are other elements to consider as well, such as the time of year, the venues proximity to your guests, does it have accommodation, are you are having the ceremony in the venue or in another location, does it have outdoor grounds you can avail of for photos, the catering situation and so on.

As an award-winning wedding planner, I can take the hassle out of much of this process and if you’d like to chat about how I can help plan all or part of your big day then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

In the meantime, here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind when choosing your wedding venue.

 

Number of Guests
While it’s impossible to have your extract final figures set in stone before you choose your wedding venue, the likelihood is you’ll have a pretty clear idea of roughly how many people you expect to attend. You may already know you’ll have something in the region of 200-300 guests for example and this will have a direct bearing on the sort of venue you can book. Think hotels with ballrooms and function rooms large enough to cater for this size of gathering. Alternatively, you may know that you want something small and intimate with just immediate family or friends. In this case you can include different sorts of venues such as restaurants into the mix.
guests

 

Your Budget
This, along with the number of guests you expect, is a crucial factor in deciding on your venue. You may have enough of a budget to go for an exclusive castle venue or 5 star hotel, or indeed you might only have enough of a budget for a quirky guesthouse or smaller hotel. Whatever your maximum budget is, try and stick to it as rigidly as you can, as costs can spiral. Hiring a wedding planner like myself is an ideal way to keep an eye on your costs, plus I can source incredible and unusual venues that will fit with your budget.
budget

 

Your Theme or Feel for the Day
This is another really important factor that should be right up there on your top list of considerations. If you’ve always wanted to have your wedding in a marquee for example, then there is no point going for a standard hotel package. Similar if you have your heart set on a glamorous ballroom style feel for your wedding, then going for a trendy barn venue is not going to work. In the end, you have to try and find the best venue that fulfils your vision for your wedding day. And while we may not all be able to afford an exclusive 5 star castle, there are plenty of private hire venues around the country which can give a similar feel for less. It’s about doing your research and again, this is where a wedding planner can come into their own as they have fantastic connections and can do much of this leg work for you.
theme

 

Accommodation and Location
Choosing a venue that has suitable accommodation either on site or close by is another very real factor to keep in mind as it can have a major impact on your guest’s ability to come to the wedding. Location is another key point as not everyone will be in a position to travel large distances.
location-2

 

The Time of Year
Finally, another really important point to keep in mind is the time of year you plant to get married. You may have your heart set on a glamping style wedding complete with yurts and outdoor music, but if you end up saying ‘I do’ in winter this may not be realistic. Similarly, that remote country venue in the mountains might not be a runner if it snows. While no-one can predict the weather, it’s a consideration worth keeping in mind,
time-of-year

Games to Entertain Your Wedding Guests

Weddings can be a long day for everyone. Of course for you, as the couple getting married, most of it will pass by in a wonderful whirlwind of emotions and ceremony, from walking down the aisle, to saying the I do’s, to getting photos taken, to the speeches, cutting the cake and the first dance, most of the day is regimented and set out. For guests, however parts of the wedding can be a little long, especially when you are off getting your photos taken, some guests can feel this part of the day drags slightly.

So it’s a good idea to think about some kind of entertainment. And that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive either. Sure it’s nice to have a musical act entertain your guests during the drinks reception, but with a little thought, there’s plenty of quirkier ways to keep guests having fun, plus it can also serve as a great ice breaker too. Think about giant jenga, connect 4, or if you have outdoor access in your venue maybe some boules or croquet?

To chat about this or any other aspect of your wedding day décor and room theming, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly.

 

Retro Games
Who doesn’t love a good retro game or board game? Think about classic retro board games dotted around the drinks reception area and let the guests play as they wish, with the likes of draughts, connect 4 and scrabble. And don’t forget about giant versions of these games too, such as giant jenga, a giant word search or giant connect 4!
retro-games

 

Outdoor Fun
If you’ve got access to outdoor space at your venue and the weather allows, then make the most of it with some fun outdoor lawn games everyone will enjoy. Think about having a carnival style theme with old fashioned sack races, ring toss or throwing horseshoes. Classic croquet is always great fun, as is boules. Table tennis is another one that young and old will enjoy and if you’re feeling creative why not DIY a spin the wheel with different tasks for guests to carry out.

outdoor-fun

 

Games at the Table
The fun doesn’t have to stop when the guests sit down to dinner, and indeed here games are even more important as an icebreaker for groups who may not know each other so well. Of course the classic speech sweepstakes is always firm favourite amongst Irish wedding guests, as is the ‘thank you game,’ but others you may want to include are ‘he said, she said,’ wedding madlibs and wedding guest bingo!
table-games

 

Late Night Fun
When the lights go down and the music goes up, it’s a safe bet that most guest will be feeling more relaxed, so why stop the fun and games? Think about games like twister, the limbo, beer pong, a piñata or even fun dance offs or sing offs for guaranteed grown up giggles? Just make sure you’ve got the cameras ready to capture all the shenanigans.
late-night

 

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