We have come a long way in terms of wedding day entertainment in New Zealand and now the range of entertainment options to keep you and your guests wowed is almost endless. Just ask a local wedding forum for advice on the best band, DJ or entertainer in your area and you will be inundated with recommendations, ideas and price points.
There are a few things you will want to consider when selecting the best entertainment for your big day including your budget, venue and the time of day. Here are my tips to get you started.
Before you start researching entertainment and get your heart set on the city’s top band make sure you have a budget in mind of what you are willing to spend on entertainment for the duration of your wedding. Seek advice from friends or a wedding planner on what you might expect to pay for different styles of entertainment so you are not shocked when you realise your five hundred dollar budget doesn’t stretch to a live band for four hours.
What you spend on entertainment will vary on a number of things including band vs DJ or other style of entertainment, length of time you want your entertainment for, their experience, the time of year, travel considerations and equipment they are expected to provide just to name a few.
When it comes to music your venue may dictate the best option for you. An intimate wedding venue may not be suited to a full band; instead a soloist or duo if you are wanting live entertainment. Space restrictions for live entertainers may also sway you towards a DJ that takes up less room in the venue.
Many venues have entertainment cut off times you will need to be aware of along with lists of preferred entertainers who have played at the venue previously. Generally these entertainers will have been inducted into the venue, hold liability insurance and adhere to required health and safety standards to keep them, you and your guests, and your venue safe.
The entertainment you select for before, during and after the ceremony can really set the tone of the rest of the day. As guests arrive it is nice to have light background music or an acoustic musician playing so they feel instantly welcomed to your nuptials. Those that have a musician may also use this artist to play the Bride’s entrance, signing of the register and walking back down the aisle married songs, along with post ceremony entertainment. Should the budget not allow for a live entertainment option a good sound system from the venue or hired will allow your wedding songs to be played via iPod.
As guests are mingling and you are having your photos taken between the ceremony and reception you can really get creative with your entertainment. The many beautiful outdoor locations we have for our ceremonies in Canterbury allow the use for lawn games ranging from Giant Jenga to Connect Four right through to the more traditional petanque or croquet.
Add a touch of magic with a roving magician or caricature artist to provide light and engaging entertainment that is sure to have your guests talking long after your wedding day has passed. These options with a little light background music can be cost effective, fun for your guests and give them the chance to mingle with those they have not yet met.
Check if your reception venue provides background music for when guests arrive and during dinner. If they don’t and you are having a DJ or a band they may let you use their sound system to plug in an iPod for background music during these times.
Along with music for entertainment you may like to consider a photo booth in your venue as they are relatively inexpensive and can be set up in small places. The photo strips that print out can often be personalised to you wedding day and act as a wedding favour or memento of the day for your guests. Ask your booth provider if the strips can print in duplicate and have your guests stick one copy in a guest book with a personal message for you both.
Do think about your timeline of the day when considering your entertainment and be realistic about how long certain aspects of the day will take. If your ceremony or meal run over time and the entertainer you have chosen starts late you will end up paying for a portion of the entertainment that you haven’t used. Entertainers will generally not refund any part of their fee if you run late nor will they add the time on to the end their booked time slot.
Regardless of your budget or preference of entertainment make sure you do your research and find an option that you really enjoy. Watch your entertainer perform in advance if you can, look for recommendations or seek references and be sure you understand what their fee includes before you sign on the dotted line – length of entertainment, equipment provided or not, provision for breaks, set up times, travel costs etc.
Last but not least, kick off your heels and enjoy the celebration. After all, it is likely to be the most important party you ever plan!