Different Types of Themed Wedding Entertainment

Having creative entertainment at your reception can delight and surprise your guests. We consulted with wedding pros for our guide to different types of themed wedding entertainment.

By Jennifer Prince

Different Types of Themed Wedding Entertainment
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Those of us who have been to more than one wedding has probably done the comparison game. After all, the television show “Four Weddings” was popular for a reason. What one couple deems appropriate is another duo’s nightmare, which is understandable, as we all have different tastes. However, one way that you can genuinely delight all of your guests is with themed wedding entertainment. And we’ve got advice from the pros on how to make your wedding day unique and unforgettable.

Unique Things to Do at a Wedding Reception

Different Types of Themed Wedding Entertainment Photo Credit // Jamie Steetle Photography

Creatively Incorporate Your Favorite Things

As a couple, you’re a combination unlike any other. Therefore, take the opportunity to showcase your hobbies and passions. A fabulous way to do so is to highlight your interests in wedding reception activities.

“We love when our clients share their favorite things to do, and we come up with unique ways for their guests to enjoy it, as well,” states Ashley Merisier, chief operating officer of A. Merisier Event Coordination and Design. “Some of the things our couples are doing in 2021 are having mixologists and whiskey tastings during cocktail hour, classical musicians performing modern music—specifically West Indian and reggae repertoires—and ballerina performances during the reception.”

Wedding reception entertainment ideas that include your pastimes are a treat for your guests. However, it also adds a sentimental element as you mix personality and hobbies into your big day.

Danielle Pasternak, the wedding planner at DPNAK Events, reiterates this point. “A packed dance floor will always be one of my favorite aspects of a wedding. But I love when couples opt for other ways to add layers of entertainment throughout the night—especially if it’s something that’s personal to the couple and their guests,” she offers.

Get Your Guests Involved

Beyond guests that brave the dance floor, there aren’t many opportunities for your attendees to do much beyond observation. However, you can include interactive wedding activities for guests to feel more included in your special day.

JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, offers, “We love to infuse unique entertainment for our weddings. We have offered everything from tarot card readers to aerialist performers, who actually can serve drinks from above.” However, the reception isn’t the only time to include themed wedding entertainment.

“We recently had a mentalist perform at the wedding and entertain the guests during cocktail hour,” Gregoli recounts. “I would love to see more interactive entertainment where guests participate in the act. It’s a perfect intermezzo to a meal.” Undoubtedly, incorporating live, interactive entertainment has a lasting impact.

Jamie Chang, owner and destination wedding planner at Mango Muse Events, states, “I enjoy interactive entertainment where guests aren’t just spectators, but a part of what’s happening. It gets them involved in the wedding and makes it more active vs. passive, and that’s fun.” Nevertheless, be careful with more reluctant guests. “You need entertainment that is approachable and not so in your face. Otherwise, people will shy away, as opposed to being intrigued,” advises Chang.

Go Big or Your Guests May Go Home

We’ve all heard the expression “go big or go home,” which especially rings true when it comes to your post-wedding celebration. Not to critique traditional wedding reception activities, but your big day is the time to kick it up a notch.

“We have included everything from...stand-up comedians, fire dancers, belly dancers, breakdancers, magicians, tarot card readers, face painters, celebrity impersonators, puppy petting, and game show hosts to keep things interesting,” says Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss.

Plus, some crowds aren’t into dancing, therefore incorporate music differently. “I’ve had a lot of couples who weren’t big dancers, so we’ve had some fun opportunities to plan activities during the reception that weren’t dancing,” Chang advises. “We’ve created lounges with a live band and musicians playing. We created a Rock Band reception where guests got to both watch and play in the band, making it a wholly immersive experience.”

Make It a Magical Evening of Themed Wedding Entertainment

When we chatted with wedding pros, one idea seemed to rise above the top—hiring an entertainer, such as a magician. And these aren’t the rabbit-in-a-hat style of magicians from your childhood parties—think updated and upscale to include some smoke and mirrors into your big day.

“One of my favorite and unique entertainment ideas I’ve seen was having a strolling magician during cocktail hour. The artist dressed in a regular suit and looked just like the rest of the guests—no crazy top hats here—and strolled casually through the event,” says Pasternak. “He’d join a group of people chatting and then blow people’s minds with some sleight-of-hand tricks...just a fun time that I know the guests left talking about.”

Magic also adds an element of mystery and mayhem to your wedding reception activities. “It’s fun to have sleight of hand artists mingle with the crowd, secretly, and they obtain rings and watches from the guests, which surprises and wows them,” Gregoli offers. Including a magician in your special day is a wedding entertainment idea that is unexpected and enjoyable, both for the couple and their wedding guests.

When It Gets Boring, Just Go Crazy!

In the late singer Prince’s words, “Let’s go crazy!” One idea—which we are here for—is borrowed from Latin American culture. Consequently, it’s spreading like wildfire, and Hora Loca—the crazy hour—is the perfect way to liven up a dying event.

We’ve all been to wedding receptions where they reach “that” point. That pivotal moment when things start to wind down. People start thinking about going to sleep and what’s on their agenda the next day. This downturn is the perfect time to liven things up.

Juls Sharpley, the founder of Bubbles & Bowties, explains, “Hora Loca is a tradition found in Latin weddings that many of our clients like to include. We’ve brought in stilt walkers who drummed their way into the reception, carrying light-up dance floor accessories.” Imagine the surprise on your guests’ mid-yawn faces as an influx of enthusiastic entertainers marches into the reception.

“This re-energizes a crowd. And it is a sight to see to escort ed costumed stilt walkers through a hotel and into the ballroom. I think it’s such a fun wedding idea that gives a unique element to bring in late at night at the reception,” says Sharpley. Including Hora Loca will thrill the after-hours crowd who craves more.

Different Types of Themed Wedding Entertainment

Our team of wedding professionals doesn’t lack additional ideas. Here are collective suggestions of themed wedding entertainment from our experts.

Different Types of Themed Wedding Entertainment Photo Credit // rkh Images
  • Hire a casino game service to offer blackjack, poker, and craps. Use play money to keep it fun.
  • Have large scale games, such as Jenga, chess, and Connect Four available at your wedding venue.
  • An artist can live-paint your wedding reception as it happens.
  • Hire a photo booth so that your guests can document their time on your wedding day.
  • Organize a flash mob to surprise your guests. Afterwards, have them teach willing guests a few dance moves.
  • At an outdoor wedding, play lawn games, such as cornhole and lawn darts. You could even have a scavenger hunt. Just be careful around the kiddos.
  • Hire a caricature artist to sketch guests, which also serves as an excellent wedding favor.
  • A writer can create haikus or riddles on the spot based on the guest.
  • Work with a local shelter to bring animals available for adoption. Not only can guests play with the fur babies, but a few adoptions may take place.
  • Have a tattoo or henna artist offer small-scale, semi-permanent body art.

Your wedding ceremony is all about your love and saying “I do,” and your reception is all about celebrating with your guests. Whether you decide to let things get crazy for an hour or have someone secretly work their magic, be thoughtful about your themed wedding entertainment. Doing so will ensure that your guests will remember—and think back fondly on—your wedding.

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