22 Alternative Entertainment Ideas for a Unique Wedding Reception
Great entertainment is one of the key elements to any memorable wedding—traditionally, big-day entertainment consists of either a band or a DJ. And while hiring a musical headliner is important, it's not the only way to get guests off their feet during your celebration. Sure, a packed dance floor makes for a great party, but it hardly allows for your friends and families to converse and get to know one another. Offering entertainment alternatives is guaranteed to get guests mingling.
When considering alternative entertainment for your wedding, pick something that speaks to your event's theme. If you're celebrating a specific culture (or multiple cultures), hire dancers to perform a traditional number. A hula or Chinese dragon performance, for example, will add to the ambience of your wedding and teach guests about your heritage. Plus, it could be a first-time experience for so many, giving attendees plenty to bond over. If music is a shared interest between you and your fiancé—and one that you wish to highlight—think outside of the classic musical accompaniments. We still recommend hiring a DJ or band for the night, but consider featuring a saxophonist, harpist, or even a mariachi or marching band for other portions of the day. By switching up the tunes (and the vibe!), you'll guarantee that your reception stands out.
Although the night will fly by, there are plenty of moments to feature one of these alternative entertainment ideas throughout your celebration. Even if you wait until the very last minute to surprise guests with a fireworks display, your unexpected, one-of-a-kind party will be one they won't soon forget.
Take your cocktail hour to new heights by hiring trapeze artists to perform overhead. An acrobatic number is the perfect way to kick off your evening.
If you're marrying your high school or college sweetheart, enlist the help of your alma matter's marching band to pump up the crowd. This couple paid tribute to their grade school love story by doing just that, much to the delight of their guests.
If your summer wedding venue has a pool, consider hiring synchronized swimmers. It's an unexpected way to celebrate the season—and entertain your attendees.
After the sun sets, open up the dance floor to fire performers to liven the mood after dinner. This Cirque Indigo performer's dazzling routines did just that, thanks to sparkling batons.
Hiring a caricature artist to sketch cartoon drawings of your friends and family will bring people together to capture the moment while offering them a forever keepsake.
If you're hosting a destination event, look towards your big day's location for authentic entertainment. Take this Hawaiian wedding, for example. Guests were welcomed to the ceremony with a traditional hula dance performance.
A vintage carousel not only makes for a unique décor element, but it adds a nostalgic element to your event that guests of all ages can enjoy.
Musical entertainment can come in all different forms. A jazz band, like The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys, can rock the party with high-tempo songs or more relaxed renditions, accommodating all wedding moments.
Interactive activities, like a Ferris wheel, allows for the fun to last all night. Thrill-seeking attendees can take in your venue's view as much or as little as they'd like.
Keep your guests entertained during even the most unexpected big-day moments. At this event, friends and family danced in the streets as they followed the Neapolitan Claudio Band from the ceremony to the reception.
Photo booths are an easy way to gather attendees together for snapshots that will last a lifetime. For an elevated feel, work your theme into your prop selection, like this theater-loving couple did with stage masks.
If your big day's theme is nontraditional, then your entertainment can be, too. This circus wedding is the perfect example: The couple hired Cirque Indigo performers to interact with guests during the cocktail hour.
Another musical element that differs from your average band or DJ? A mariachi group. The group's lively music will elevate the ambience of any cocktail hour or reception.
Anyone would be mesmerized by a live painter working to translate a favorite wedding scene onto paper. Plus, the painting makes for a priceless keepsake.
Hiring a pianist is a more traditional means of entertainment that all attendees can appreciate. Find a way to make your musical moment unique, like this couple who staged the performance during their ceremony in the woods.
Get guests up and onto your venue's sprawling lawn by setting up a fun yard game. Bocce, for example, will keep friends and family relaxed and having fun.
A harpist brings a refined musical element to any ceremony or cocktail hour while still allowing guests to converse over the soft, sweet melodies.
End your big day on a high note with a firework display you'll never forget. It'll bring your whole evening full circle.
Just because the reception is over doesn't mean the celebration is. This couple hired EDM DJ and sax duo, Cafolla and Engel to play as guests danced their way to the after-party.
For a casino-themed soirée, allow guests to partake in an authentic poker game. This not only adds an upscale feel to your night, but your friends and family will have a blast testing their luck.
Hiring a mixologist to headline your cocktail will get the drinks flowing. Attendees can try out custom creations while learning how to put together the ultimate beverage.