Thinking of ways to keep your guests entertained can be one of the trickiest parts of wedding planning. Of course, after dinner when the dancing starts, your guests will be kept entertained by your reception party playlist. But how do you fill the gap between the ceremony and reception? What's the best way to make an entrance? Who can you hire to keep children entertained at the reception? Thankfully, help is at hand in the shape of our unusual wedding entertainment ideas. Read on to find out how to make sure your big day really goes off with a bang...
1. Mirror photo booths
Photo booths have become a wedding reception staple in recent years. Remember, they come in all shapes and sizes, from caravan to taxi booths, so put a cool twist on the trend by choosing something unusual. This magic mirror selfie booth from Smiles Better is an excellent example. Guests pose in front of the touch-sensitive mirror, using photo booth props to up the fun factor, with prints available within 30 seconds.
Let's be honest, who doesn't love a magician? Easy to organise and with plenty of bang for their buck, magicians are a versatile option. Your magician doesn’t just have to perform during the drinks reception - ask him or her to do the rounds mid-meal to entertain your diners, or to mingle with guests who want a break from dancing in the evening.
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3. Palm reader
Add a touch of the supernatural to your reception. Organising a palm reader to wander round the tables mid-course is a great way to fill a sometimes-awkward gap.
4. Flash mobs
Love them or hate them, flash mobs are still hot property when it comes to events, and there's no better way to make your friends and families' jaws hit the floor. From cabaret dancers to a band of animals, the wilder the better.
5. Dance lessons
Avoid the inevitable Dad-dancing and your cousin's attempts at 'the worm' and arrange a professional dance lesson for your guests. Salsa and samba classes are both great for getting the party started.
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6. Petting zoo
In the world of unusual wedding entertainment, anything is possible. If you're getting hitched on a country farm, head outside with little guests to visit the venue's resident animals. Mobile petting zoos are even available, so you can bring the farmyard to you!
7. Dance off
There comes a time when things can only be solved with a good old-fashioned dance off. You know the rules: men on one side, ladies on the other, and anything goes. Let the DJ decide the prizes for best and worst moves.
8. Photo scavenger hunt
Not just one for the children, create a photo scavenger hunt for your guests to compete throughout the course of the day. From snapping a pic of planting a kiss on the groom's cheek to selfies with the catering staff, it'll bring out the competitive nature in your friends. You can always take things on to Instagram with a hashtag.
Read more: How to make sure your guests don't get bored
9. Surprise first dance
We've all seen the YouTube videos: learning a secret dance routine with your partner to perform at your reception will affirm your eternal places in the wedding hall of fame. We've seen everything from Bollywood to Dirty Dancing-inspired routines, ideally set to an unusual first dance song.
Give your guests a seriously personalised favour in the form of a caricature. Even better, the doodle of you and your new hubby can claim a place on your kitchen wall.
11. Mrs and Mrs contest
How well do you really know your groom? Ask a series of Mr and Mrs quiz questions, from the easy ones like shoe size and how he likes his tea to the trickier topics of first pet and A level subjects - you might even learn something new... Rope in your best man to host this quiz that's guaranteed to go down a storm.
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12. RSVP a floorfiller
Simple but oh-so-effective, ask guests to jot down their must-have party song on their RSVP note, and hey presto, a ready-made playlist is yours.
13. Celebrity impersonator
If David Beckham didn't respond to your invitation (must have got lost in the post...) there is another way to have a star-studded wedding: hire a lookalike. Just imagine the photos... 14. Serenading band The best types of serenading bands are the ones who make up songs on the spot. Give them a couple of facts, and they'll make up a song within seconds. Genius! Or maybe you can persuade an actual celebrity to turn up - after all, this couple managed to get Craig David to sing their first dance song. Amazing.
14. Singing waiters
Take 'service with a smile' to a whole new level by hiring a brigade of singing waiters to liven up your dinner. For enhanced wow-factor, keep it a secret from your guests until they suddenly burst into song.
15. Pimp your drinks
Create a wedding drinks station where guests can customise their fizz with fruits and liqueurs. We've seen so many creative drinks stations that are beautifully decorated and are a real focal point at the reception.
16. Vodka luge
Sticking with the alcohol theme, an ice vodka luge will certainly spice up your night. If you want to really go all-out, stock up on flavoured spirits that reflect your theme or colour scheme.
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17. Street food
When you're a bottle of wine down and the damage has already been done, nothing is more appealing than the familiar sight of a takeaway van. Hiring a burger van for when you're the other side of midnight will make you one popular bride.
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18. Guest video box
Forget guest books – the hottest trend on the wedding scene is an X Factor-esque video box, where guests can record rather than write their messages. Expect them to deteriorate as the night goes on.
19. After party
If heading home at midnight is just too early, or your bridal party just love a good night out, arrange an after party. Book a minibus to transport your most hardcore guests to a bar or club – book a VIP area if you're feeling extra generous. There's no pressure for the bride and groom to attend though if you're dying to crash into bed.
Read more: Wedding entertainment for every budget