In amongst the craziness of wedding planning, it’s all too easy to forget what your guests will be doing while you're off having your wedding photos taken or doing the rounds talking to everyone.
On your wedding day, your head is likely to be spinning at 100mph, with all the emotions and excitement, which means keeping the wedding party entertained throughout the day may slip down your list of priorities. If you plan ahead though, there are simple and fun ways to keep your guests entertained and stop anyone from throwing a strop.
You wedding day is all about celebrating you and your partner, but your guests are there to be a part of this special day too, so it’s important to keep them happy. It's inevitable that there will be moments throughout the day, such as moving between venues, or that awkward wait before dinner, when you or your partner aren’t around to keep the guests from getting bored. That’s where this list of fun and unique wedding guest activities will come in handy, so you can have a stock of games or a few hat tricks up your sleeve to pull out whenever there is a lull in the small talk.
When the big day finally arrives after all the wedding planning, you don’t want to have to worry about anything other than soaking it all in, and trying to not let the day go by too quickly. We’ve got you covered and have thought about every type of activity and occasion to keep your wedding guests entertained throughout the day.
Not all attendees will know each other, and often some ice breakers are needed to get the conversation going. By the end of the day, thanks to these fun and engaging ideas, your guests will all get along, and have some memories of their own to cherish.
Here are 18 brilliant wedding guest activities designed to leave the wedding party thinking this was the best day ever - just like you will.
Table games and props
No matter how many evenings you spend tearing your hair out over the seating chart, there’s always a table made up of people who don't know each other that well. The solution? Fun games and props that will get the conversation going. This is a pretty standard one as far as wedding entertainment is concerned, but also a great way to be creative. Outdoor wedding games or lawn games such as rounders, giant jenga or croquet are always solid winners, but if you don’t have a venue with an outside area (or if, god forbid, it rains), it’s a good idea to have some indoor games, too.
Setting up a ping pong table, a shuffle board or board games corner can really bring guests together, and help people who don't know each other to get talking. Fake moustaches, glasses, hat or wigs can make for funny table-side photos – especially if the items are old belongings of the bride and groom from less fashionable times. Little table quizzes, brain teaser games, playing cards, and puzzles will certainly entertain non-dancing guests throughout the evening.
Make it happen
What: Instantly bring out the kid in everyone with the Wooden Topple Blocks Game, which is sure to help stave off awkward small talk and keep the guests busy before dinner, or if the schedule is running over time.
How much: £10
Buy the Wooden Topple Blocks Game
Hire audience entertainers
Magicians are always a solid hit. A lot of people think that once guests are seated at their tables, there’s no need to entertain them anymore. Yes, usually food and drink will keep your guest well-oiled throughout the night, but an entertainer interacting with them will help create a more memorable evening. Hire a magician to do tricks, or what about a palm reader or fortune teller? A celebrity impersonator or look-alike could be a lot of fun, too, and create great photo opportunities. Live painters or caricature drawers are also great options, or if you really want to pull out all the stops, hire singing waiters and staff. Entertainers like this will liven up a drinks reception, too.
Make it happen
What: Why not get one of your guests to put on a show? Marvin's iMagic Box of Tricks is perfect for the amateur magician to learn a few tricks and wow the audience (or just the kids).
How much: £17.99
Buy Marvin's iMagic Box of Tricks
Photo booths and photo walls
The good old photo booth – its popularity never seems to cease, and with good reason. But why not step it up a few notches with personalised props that tell your guests the story of your life together? Use items of clothing, old hats or create a narrative backdrop – the opportunities are endless. Alternatively, you can build a photo wall where guests can pose for fun photos. Opt for a living flower wall for the Instagram factor, cover it with balloons or splash out on photo boards of each other for your guests to pose next to. Another top tip: have a Polaroid camera available for instant print-outs that guests can write a little message on and put in your guestbook. You could also set up a video area for guests to make their own mini videos of the action for a more informal take on wedding videography. Don't forget to make an Instagram hashtag for the big day!
Make it happen
What: The Polaroid has made a comeback in recent years, and this retro version has got all the nostalgic vibes, but with the power of modern technology. Why not let your guests snap each other, and create their own photo wall on the big day?
How much: £139.99
Buy the Polaroid Original
Pimp up the drinks
A Champagne reception, bottles of wine on the table followed by an open bar of G&Ts and beer seems a bit boring and predictable. Why not impress your guests by hiring a professional mixologist who can conjure up stand-out cocktails and put on a show. Or what about a drinks trolley or a ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ station where guest can do a bit of DIY with their drinks? Edible flowers, cotton candy, some fresh fruit and some marshmallows will go a long way. You could even add a carnival element to the day by handing out drinks tokens.
Make it happen
What: This chic art deco-inspired drinks trolley is perfect for keeping everyone topped up, and can be used to create a fun a cocktail station that doubles up as entertainment, as guests pimp up their booze and go crazy with the garnishes.
How much: £399
Buy the Terrace Bar Cart
Going down the untraditional route when it comes to food can actually serve as entertainment, not to mention a great way for your guests to interact with each other. Having street food stations will give your guests more options and can make navigating dietary requirements easier. Or what about tacos, ready to be assembled at the table, or a hot stone for people to cook their own meat on? Grazing tables are a great idea too, to keep guests from grumbling with hunger as the long stretch of waiting between the ceremony and dinner looms. You can create snack tables piled high with savoury and sugary treats such as towers of doughnuts, waffles, cheese fondues, and more. Go the extra mile with a fresh crepe station or an ice cream stall, replete with all the toppings!
Make it happen
What: Seriously level up the food table with this red beauty of a cast-iron cheese fondue maker by Staub. Everyone will be queuing up to get in on the melted cheese action - a sure winner!
How much: £199
Buy the Cheese Fondue
Hire a stage performer
Constant interactive entertainment is not for everyone. Sometimes, your guests just want to eat, drink, talk and sit back passively while they enjoy some performances from entertainers on a stage. This can also help set the mood of your wedding (overall or for certain periods of the evening). Hire a comedian for a bit of belly-aching laughter or get an acoustic singer to play your favourite song for a more teary-eyed romantic feel. Splash out on an impressive acrobatic performance or a fire eater for that serious wow-factor or for a more personal touch, have your friends perform something!
Have a toast master
This is not only a fantastic way to help organise the proceedings of the wedding breakfast and to make sure all the speeches are run smoothly, but a great way to sneak in a bit of fun and entertainment into the meal. Have a particularly funny friend? Give them the honour (they will undoubtedly see it as a huge compliment to be asked) of doing it – they will also know humorous, and potentially embarrassing, anecdotes from your lives that will add a personal touch.
Funny name badges
Drinks receptions and idle moments can often be a bit awkward and cliquey. A way to spice things up a bit and encourage strangers to strike up a conversation is funny name badges. Give your guest a tongue-in-cheek nickname that says something about your relationship with this person (a shared story, a childhood memory), which will equip everyone with something to say and something to ask. You could even hand the badges out as part of a fun awards ceremony.
Go crazy for karaoke
By the end of the night, everyone is singing the words to all the bangers the wedding DJ is blaring out anyway, so why not give them the chance to do it properly? Hire or buy a karaoke machine with multiple microphones – complete it with inflatable instruments, wigs and musically-themed props for the ultimate party effect.
Make it happen
What: Keep the crowd entertained with this cool idea, which is ideal for getting everyone buzzing - especially guests who don't know each other, as there is no better way to start the party than with a karaoke set?
How much: £70
Buy the Lucky Voice Karaoke Kit
Host a pub quiz
Now it’s time to test how well your friends and family really know you! Elevate the standard pub quiz with a section about you and your lives for some fun stories in-between the history and geography section. Add a prize to give away to the winning table – this will evoke a sense of competition among guests and help create a nice team spirit among the people sharing a table.
Have a prize draw
Have your guests put their name in a bowl for the chance to win some great prizes that will be drawn throughout the day. This will create a sense of excitement, especially for younger guests (so remember to have prizes that are suitable for all ages).
Don’t underestimate the power of a bouncy castle! During the day, this can be the perfect way to keep kids entertained, but once the adults have warmed up (read: had a couple of glasses of Champagne), they’ll be ready to let their inner child out. Just remind the ladies to take their stilettos off…
If you’ve got children on your guest list, make sure both parents and kids are able to enjoy the wedding. Hire a nanny for the day to look after the kids, allowing parents to relax. Organising a treasure hunt or hiring someone to do face painting will also keep the little ones occupied, while having a play room or area kitted out with basic toys and colouring books is a more effortless solution. You could even create a glitter bar for the kids while you’re in hair and makeup – some adults might want to get in on the action too.
Create a slideshow or a video
Gather images or videos from your lives together and have them rolling on a screen throughout the day. This will mean there’s constantly something to look at and your guests can get a glimpse of what your life is like on a day-to-day basis. Remember to include footage of family and friends (especially the cringe-y photos) to remind them that they are a part of your lives. They will appreciate the gesture on a day like this.
This one will take some extra preparation before, but is well worth the entertainment factor. Get friends and family to choreograph some dances, or even do a flash mob with the entire crew for some serious fun times. If you mean business, you could even arrange special outfits and hire a professional choreographer. Ceilidh dancing is another cool option; you don’t have to be Scottish either to enjoy it. You could also do a surprise first dance with your partner, bust out some moves with a cool routine and wow your guests!
Alternative guest books have really taken off and there is no limit to your creativity here. You can set up puzzle versions, yearbook-style ones, storybook guest books, framed ones, even a wine bottle! It’s a cool way to remember the day and have your guests create a memento for you to look at years down the line with fond memories.
Make it happen
What: Get creative with your guestbook and create a momento that will last forever, as a lovely memory of all of your loved ones coming together, to celebrate you and your partner with this cool frame one.
How much: £19.95
Buy the Drop Top Wood Frame
Boogie the night away
Music is so important for setting the right mood, and keep your guests buzzing – although, the alcohol will help with that too. Hire a live band or get a DJ to get the good vibes flowing. For a classier take, why not hire a string quartet to provide some classical tunes? You could also arrange for a dancefloor and some speakers to be set up in the evening, to dance the night away and create the perfect segue into the after party.
Collective end-of-evening activity
Why not finish the evening off with a wonderful fireworks display? Or what about sending Chinese lanterns up into the sky or floating onto a lake, enclosed with well-wishing notes from your guests? Not only will this form a conclusive ending to the evening, it will gather all your guests for a wonderful shared moment.
Looking for more wedding inspo? Why not consider a destination wedding in Marbella?