How to entertain wedding guests

There are lots of ways to keep your guests entertained and amused at your civil partnership. Possibilities include magicians, casinos, roving artists, look-alikes, tribute singers, bands, discos, cabaret or drag artist, circus acts and fireworks.

Magicians

Booking a close-up magician for a wedding reception can have real benefits - as well as acting as the perfect ice-breaker, guests will be kept entertained during that awkward period while the wedding photos are being taken.

The magician will normally meet and greet guests during the drinks reception, performing while moving from group to group, and then from table to table during the meal (between courses). Magician, David Hawkins, says: 'The magical entertainment becomes a real talking point. Close-up magic is the ultimate in interactive entertainment - guests get to experience magical effects occurring just inches in front of them, or even happening in their own hands'.

magician

Some magicians will also offer souvenirs that guests can take home, for example, balloon models. Others can also do cabaret magic if your venue has a stage or other workable area.

Top tips
Magical entertainment is better at the earlier part of the event and before any loud music starts.
A magician can entertain around 120 people over three hours. If you have more guests, perhaps hire two magicians.
A magician works best between courses rather than while guests are eating.

Roving artists
Charles Burns, a roving artist, who does silhouettes of guests, says it is often a novel experience for people and they end up keeping their silhouettes and framing them. 'It creates a good memory of their day.' It can also save on providing favours for your guests.

Rick Coleman of On The Spot Caricatures, says: 'Don't chose your artist on the basis of how many they can draw in an hour. Accept that you're not going to get everybody drawn, no matter how many hours you've got or how fast your artist is, so chose an artist for their experience, style and personality.'

Any entertainer is going to be like a guest at your wedding, so spend some time talking with them before the event to make sure you are comfortable with them.

Rick suggests agreeing the fee, start and finish times, any pay for overtime, if necessary and whether food and breaks are available. 'This way the artist will be relaxed and happy and will do the best job they can for you.'

He also recommends not wasting time inventing schemes involving ticketing, or lists of people to draw as it does lead to confusion and disappointment. 'If you chose your artist well they should have the experience to include VIPs, draw as many people as they can, take reasonable breaks at the right times, and know when to 'take the Mickey' and when not,' says Rick.

Look-alikes
This is very popular at weddings that have a particular theme such as James Bond or rock theme, when an Elvis look-alike is de rigour. Actors roam around the room and cause quite a stir, kissing babies and flirting with Auntie Flo. If you want to be particularly camp, you could have Shirley Bassey or Dame Edna look-alikes.

If you want to trick your guests into thinking you have high flying friends, there is a wide range of look-alikes Tony Blair to Elizabeth Taylor. If you pick one who is a singer, they will double as a cabaret act. Try to see them in action before you book them or at least see a demo DVD.

Tribute bands and singers
It is good fun to have a tribute band or singer at your gay marriage celebrations. Those with an iconic gay status such as Madonna or Abba could keep a wide range of guests entertained.

Belle Voix Songs from the Shows perform songs from your favourite West End musicals, operatta and the classics. It is a good idea to hire a professional DJ such as Smile Events to entertain guests into the night.

Casino
These are a great idea, especially if you want a Vegas-style wedding. You can hire companies that supply roulette wheels, poker tables and gaming machines. They will also supply lighting and music to create the right atmosphere, provide a casino manager and croupiers. The betting money can be also personalised to mark your civil partnership.

casino

Caberet and Drag artists
If you want some cheeky repartee with a gay twist, why not hire a drag artist to roam among your guests or do an after dinner act? They will usually tell saucy jokes, sometimes pose as a guest, sing a few songs, change into several outrageous outfits and perform some tricks.

Circus acts
If you want to really entertain your guests, you can put on a circus show and provide jugglers, acrobats, fireeaters, human sculptures. There is an endless choice. You need to allow plenty of space and rely on good weather or have a marquee.

Fireworks
Fireworks can make a spectacular end to your special day and fit in with your theme or colour scheme. You can either get a friend to set them off or hire in a company. You need to allow plenty of space, 150 square metres, for safety reasons. You also need to check that the venue allows fireworks.

A reputable fireworks company will visit the site and do a risk assessment. You should be able to specify the type of fireworks you require or ask the company to design the display, for example, you could have a rainbow theme.

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