published April 20th, 2014
You’ve just exchanged vows in front of your family and friends. Your mother wept, your father beamed with pride, and the children ran amok in the aisles. Some guests may now join you for a sit down meal, while others may disappear for several hours and rejoin you for the dancing and cake-cutting shenanigans later in the evening.
The question is how do you plan on keeping these guests entertained? Notably the children, who aren’t so great at just “chilling” for several hours while the adults make idle small talk.
It may be that your family is entertaining enough without any other form of entertainment. Although some weddings have been known to get a bit ugly and descend into arguments and fist fights. While that’s a form of entertainment, it’s probably not the sort of entertainment you’re looking for. So what’s it to be? A clown? Magician? Fun party games?
Wedding entertainment is a metaphorical minefield. There are thousands of DJ’s, bands, singers, and fire-eaters all vying for your attention who would walk over their own mothers to get a gig at your wedding. Just tap “wedding entertainers” into Google (other search engines are available) and you’ll instantly be swamped with about 8 million search results. This is where you obviously need to narrow things down a bit.
The key thing here is to research your subject thoroughly, and refine your results by doing searches in your area. It’s all well and good if you’re found the brass band of your dreams, but if they’re based ten thousand miles away this might throw up a few problems. Unless they’re so great you want to pay for the travel and insurance expenses of the band and all their kit. Well that’s your prerogative, if you have the budget.
Realistically, you should be looking for entertainment services in your city, state, or ideally the same country. In this age of the Internet that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, it’s just finding someone or something that suits your requirements.
When doing a search be sure to pay close attention to the sponsored ads that highlight your chosen phrases. These individuals or organisations have paid for their advertisement so they’re not in this for a laugh. If they’re generating enough revenue to pay for advertising then that could mean they’re well established and good at what they do.
Once you’ve found your chosen entertainer (or entertainers if you have a shortlist) then you’ll want the lowdown on them. Who are they? What exactly do they do? Can they be trusted? Do they have client testimonials with lots of people singing their praises?
Dig deep. Do they have personal Twitter accounts where they vent about their dreadful clients? You need to know if they can be trusted. You’ll need to know that these people are professionals or if they’re amateurs who’ve done very well so far but could pull a dead rabbit out of the hat at any given moment. Maybe they’re on the brink of going bust so you can wave goodbye to your deposit.
Some of this may sound a bit negative, but you should approach with caution and investigate your subjects thoroughly. Sadly there’s a lot of cowboys out there who just want to make a quick buck, while doing as little work as they possibly can - and at your expense. Literally.
You need to be extra vigilant if you’re hiring a children’s entertainer. Have they been vetted for any criminal records? This may sound obvious but you don’t want to hire a clown who’s just served time for attacking audience members. It’s always a good idea to meet these people and brief them before they show up on the day. Some of the children may have deep rooted fears that need to be addressed. Like a fear of clowns or balloons shaped like giraffes.
Obtaining a quote is also important, and once you’ve agreed a price make sure there are no hidden extras. You don’t want to be stung with an extra bill for $500 that you weren’t expecting. Also, it may be a good idea to e-mail the entertainer with the relevant date and times. You can book over the phone initially but it won’t harm to have things in writing. Verbal agreements don’t carry much weight. The last thing you want to do is make an urgent phone call on the day asking why your entertainer is late, only for them to reply… “Oh. I wrote down the 27th, not the 22nd! I’ll have a job getting there today, I’m in the Costa Del Sol!”
Organising wedding entertainment can be a stressful experience, but it really doesn’t need to be. If you invest enough time in your research and can book far enough in advance then you’ll be laughing.