How to guarantee your guests will be talking about your Big Day for years to come

No one wants a boring wedding. But if you haven’t got a Kim and Kanye budget, how do you wow your guests and keep them entertained?

Julia Dowling, Managing Director and Rebecca Menzies, Creative Director for luxury wedding planners Snapdragon reveal their top tips for throwing a reception to remember…

1. Bring live music to your DJ set

‘If you haven’t the budget to book a live band, there are great alternatives out there. We often suggest getting a DJ that works really well with percussionists and saxophonists, which really gives that live feel to your music. The musicians tend to be really interactive and come onto the dance floor with your guests, taking your party to another level.’

2. Book a band that can blend old and new tunes

‘You like strutting your stuff to a bit of Usher, but your mum and dad want to groove to Marvin Gaye. But you can keep everyone happy… There are a raft of great bands out there, like professional wedding and party giggers like The White Keys, who can switch between soul, funk and chart and can even sing your chosen first dance for you too.

‘At least if you’ve got two left feet, people will be too blown away by the vocals to notice you standing on your groom’s toes. Always ask to see your band’s set list and, if you want them to perform your first dance, give them plenty of notice to learn it!’

3. Put on your own Strictly Show

‘You’ve got your vows out of the way, so the rest of the wedding day should be plain sailing from now on, right? But wait! There’s the dreaded First Dance to contend with… However, it needn’t be murder on the dancefloor.

‘Be inspired by Strictly Come Dancing contestant Mark Wright and book in some pre-wedding dance classes with your beloved for some much-needed light-relief away from the wed min.

‘Try have helped transform thousands of left-footed bride and groom-to-bes into waltzing wonders. They are nationwide and offer packages that can cater for all budgets – and timetables!’

4. Have a wine or whisky tasting bar

‘Avoid the traditional dip in wedding reception proceedings by putting on a wine-tasting or (later on, to avoid dinner drunkenness!) a whisky tasting table. If your venue has a resident wine expert, they can provide your nearest and dearest with wine notes and tasting tips for an interactive and educational drinking session!’

5. Sprinkle stardust with some famous faces

‘If you love your celebrities, and want to pretend you had the most A-list wedding ever, a growing number of bride and grooms are surprising their guests with lookalikes for great photo opportunities. Have a search around for local lookalike agencies and then watch your guests jaws hit the floor…’

6. Give your guests some magic moments

‘Go along to any wedding fair and you will now see magicians aplenty offering to bring some actual magic to your big day. Having a would-be Dynamo pulling out cards from between the hair in Uncle Bob’s ears is sure to rock the relatives. But why stop there?

‘Why not hire cartoonists to give each guest a caricature to take away? Some couples are even setting up Tarot and palm reading booths so guests can hear about their futures as well as celebrating yours.’

7. Let’s play dress up!

‘Why play air guitar on the dance floor, when you can make like Slash from Guns N’ Roses with a blow-up Fender Stratocaster? Bring along a fancy dress box of wigs, hats and blow up instruments for some seriously silly photo opportunities to get your party in full swing.’

8. Hire a quirky photo or video booth

‘Photographers and videographers capture the official and, shall we say, respectable side of the wedding. But you want to see your friends and relatives when they let their guards down. Enter the wedding video booth.

‘Once the curtains are pulled closed and the cameras start rolling, you often get to see a completely different side to your guests. Prepare for emotional messages, impromptu singing – and lots of laughter! New trends on the scene are the slo-mo video cameras and also your very own Big Brother video diary room. Benchmark Productions offer a fantastic diary room, complete with Big Brother red chair!’

9. And finally…make sure your guests get home!

You’ve gone to all the trouble of throwing the most a-mazing party ever and now you want your guests to leave on a high. There’s just one problem: you suddenly realise that idyllic country location which ticked all of your romantic boxes has only a horse and cart for transport and there’s not a sniff of a black cab in sight. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, booking a minibus or coach through a nationwide company like can work out cheaper than a taxi for your guests, and will mean you don’t have to stress about any one being stranded at the end of the night. Phew!


Visit Snapdragon’s luxury weddings website for more information on their premier planning service

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