Having a small wedding and looking for entertainment for your big day, this blog you will discover 21 simple fun entertainment ideas.
The definition of a small wedding depends on where you live. In Ireland and the UK, weddings are considered ‘small’ when there are 50 guests or less. Hitched conducted a survey and found that the average attendance during the day is 80 and during the evening 100. So statistically, anything less than that is smaller than average.
With a smaller group, entertainment opportunities change. You get the chance to do more personal activities and it is easier to help everyone join in the fun.
Entertainment Planned by the Guests
These are ideas for guests (bridesmaid, family, close friends & so on) to organise. They are fun, easy to implement and will not break the flow of the evening.
1. Silly Speeches
Speeches are an unavoidable wedding classic. Though my advice is always to keep speeches short. Time limits prevent speakers from putting your guests to sleep while reassuring those who have stage fright. Pro-tip: If the speakers plan on using a mic, test it beforehand! You cannot enjoy great speeches without great audio.
PowerPoints and videos have become another wedding classic. Find a few fun or mildly embarrassing pictures, videos, and stories to share with your guests. Once again, we recommend keeping it short. Also do not succumb to the temptation of telling only, “inside jokes”. If you want it to be a success, make sure the presentation is relevant to everyone. You do not necessarily need to ‘present’ the PowerPoint. You can also just set it up to rotate through some pictures during the evening. Less entertainment and more decoration.
3. Comedy Sketches & Choreographed routines
You have probably seen these before. If not in person, at least online. Comedy sketches are well worth the practice! The only difficulty is getting the participants together the day before to rehearse a few times.
4. Sing-along Songs
Another wedding classic is to alter the lyrics of a famous song and get everyone to sing along. If possible, print out the lyrics and display them on the screen.
5. Open mic music
Get all the musically gifted guests to bring their instruments and perform on the day. Do not make (or let) the performers go on for too long. Instead, ask each person to prepare one or two songs to share with the guests.
Pro-tip: Even if you host this activity, you’ll still want to book a DJ or a band for the day.
6. Pass the parcel
Yes, we are talking about the same pass the parcel you played when you were a kid. It turns out adults find it fun too. Especially when you add a forfeit at each layer. It is easy to plan and ideal for a smaller wedding.
7. Live Guess Who
Play a live game of ‘guess who’ during or after dinner. This is ideal for smaller weddings where there is a closer bond between guests,
The rules are simple:
– Select a person at random (unknown to the bride and groom) then ask all the guests to stand up
– Get the newly married couple to guess who the person is by asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions (i.e., does the person have a beard?).
– Get the guests to sit down accordingly until the unknown person is found. To make it fun the questions should be personal.
A fun variation is to choose a “category” instead of a single person (once again unknown to the bride and groom). For example, all the people that the couple met in Spain. Get the entire category to stand-up. The bride and groom then need to guess the category just by looking at who is standing.
8. The Shoe Game
For some reason, I have always called this the “him or her” game…. but it turns out no one else does. The game is simple; in the middle of the room set two chairs back-to-back for the newly married couple to sit in. The bride and groom then exchange one of their shoes (or are given ‘answering signs’). During the game, they will be asked a series of “who” questions (who made the first move, who is the better shower singer, …) which they will answer by raising either shoe. You can find plenty of question ideas online. It is tempting to go overboard but, as always, keep it short and sweet.
Planned by the Wedding Organisers
These are activities planned by the “wedding organisers”. People who are in the know. It is often the couple, but it can also be the close family, parents or the wedding planner. These are activities that require a bit more planning (or require a booking) but help shape the atmosphere of the wedding.
Music is another pillar of wedding entertainment. Playlists work fine for dinner or receptions. However, once you open the dance floor, you will need someone to actively monitor the music. For small weddings, booking a DJ is perfect but you can opt for a live band or a singer.
Photobooths and polaroid corners have become wedding staples. And for a good reason; they make great souvenirs. They come in different shapes and sizes. For small weddings, keep in mind the space you have (both physically & visually). For example, a polaroid camera with a nice background might be all you need. You also want to make sure they can be brought in and out of the venue. If your venue only has stairs, it might not be possible. Regardless of the option you choose, do not forget the funny props to go with it.
Pro-tip: These are great fun and worth having. However, do not assume that these will replace a professional photographer.
You can host a raffle during your wedding to raise money for your honeymoon, a charity or anything else. Alternatively, you can hire a dancing troop to come and do a demonstration. For example, an Irish dance troupe. This is a great way to open the dance floor after dinner. You can also book a dance class. This works great for small weddings. These classes typically last an hour or two. Your guests can then dance away with what they have learned (or not).
12. Lawn Games
Giant chess sets, croquet sets… lawn games come in all shapes and sizes. They are ideal for outdoor weddings. Simply set them up ahead of time and leave them out for the guests to pick up and play with. For smaller weddings, we recommend that you do not set them up too centrally! You do not want to have 4 people playing and the rest watching.
Pro-tip: Depending on where you live, you might be able to rent the lawn games for the day, instead of having to buy them.
Booking a caricaturist for your wedding is a fun way to entertain your guests and to have them walk away with a fun souvenir of your wedding. Only those who are brave enough and ready for a laugh need to ask for a drawing. The others are free to remain in blissful ignorance. Most often caricaturists and cartoon artists are booked to entertain during the reception. Each drawing (usually) takes 5 minutes or less to complete.
They are the perfect opportunity for some extra fun. We recommend making the ticket price low so that everyone can play (encourage players to get multiple tickets) and find some fun & ludicrous prizes. The raffle announcer must be comfortable speaking in front of everyone.
15. Paper Airplane Launch
Get every guest to make a paper aeroplane and have everyone launch it at the same time. Do not miss the photo opportunity! The trick is to coordinate the launch properly so that the maximum number of planes are in the air at the same time. If you want you can have prizes for the furthest, highest plane, the plane that failed to take off and so on. Ideally, try to do it indoors. It will make cleaning up a lot quicker. But it does require having a high ceiling and a lot of space.
If you are looking for some truly memorable entertainment, you can hire a magician to entertain your guests. For small group sizes, booking them for 1 or 2 hours is usually enough. For small weddings, magicians are usually booked to perform “mix and mingle” magic. This is where the magician walks among your guests, entertaining them in small groups at a time. Typically, this happens during the reception, between courses at dinner and/or before the band after dinner.
A display of fireworks is the perfect romantic end to the dinner. But there are two catches:
· It needs to be legal in your area
· The weather needs to be adequate
If you are working with professionals (as you should!), they will know what is safe and what isn’t. Fireworks can be enjoyed even in sub-optimal conditions, but safety should always come first.
18. Comedy Show
If you have the required space, why not book a comedy show? It is the perfect after-dinner entertainment! All they need is a small stage and a mic. For a bit of variety, you can also book a comedy magician to entertain you for an hour.
19. Singing Waiters
Hire waiters to surprise your guests by spontaneously breaking into song during dinner! Singing waiters have been growing in popularity. They are fun regardless of the size of the event and can be booked to perform different styles of music depending on your tastes.
Karaoke is a great way to kick off the party after dinner before opening the dance floor. Of course, do not forget to do a bride and groom duo! A screen, a speaker and a microphone are all you need for this activity. Check with the venue to see if they have these. Otherwise, you may be able to rent the equipment for the evening. Once again, do not make this activity too long and don’t force everyone to do it… it may terrify some of your guests!
Pro-tip: Make sure you test the equipment beforehand. The lyrics and the microphone need to be fully functional for this game to work well.
21. Make your own cocktails
A DIY cocktail bar is always fun, and it is a lot easier to plan for smaller groups. Simply look up a few easy cocktail recipes you like and lay out the ingredients for your guests to assemble. If you want more professional results, we recommend hiring someone to man the stand.
Fun-tip: Have a picture contest for the best cocktail (bonus points if the can match their cocktail to their outfit).
And that is a wrap!!!
I hope you enjoy your time planning, and you have a great wedding.
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