In our new series of blogs, we’ll be sharing the very best ideas, advice and inspiration from different wedding industry experts. This week we’ve been speaking to two of the UK’s top wedding entertainers. Read on for their thoughts on the results of our latest wedding survey, as well as the best way to throw the perfect party.

  Meet the suppliers: The wedding entertainers - Photobooth  

Let them entertain you

Wedding entertainers come in all shapes and sizes, from opera singers and jazz bands to gospel choirs and trapeze artists. Our recent WED2B survey found that 16% of you will be hiring a magician, for example. And, when it comes to music, 57% of brides will book a DJ while 38% will go for a live band. A whopping 57% of you will also be hiring a photo booth while 10% will be adding party games into the mix. Only 17% of our brides said they would be having no entertainment at all. And, it was a very close call, but just over half of the brides who completed the WED2B wedding survey will be having a big day hashtag, too.

So, before you sign on the dotted line, read on for our wedding entertainers' top tips for creating the perfect party atmosphere…

Owen Strickland from Owen Strickland Magic

“I’m a close up magician and perform at around 70 weddings a year,” says Owen.“I can perform at any time on the big day but I’m most often booked to perform ‘mix and mingle’ magic after the ceremony, followed by table magic at the wedding breakfast. Magic is the perfect way to break the ice when your guests are standing around during the photographs. Similarly, at the wedding breakfast, I perform a mini show at each table that’s a real conversation starter. Some couples like to book me for the ‘lull’ between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception. Others book me for the evening and I move around performing to small groups or tables, one at a time.”

Why are wedding entertainers important?

“As you can see from your latest wedding survey, most couples think that wedding entertainers are important, whatever style you go for,” says Owen.“If you look at the reaction photos from weddings I’ve performed at, you can see that a magician really makes a difference. I’ll also look after your guests while you’re busy doing other things, such as the photos.”

Why magic?

“The beauty of magic is there’s no age barrier,” says Owen.“Young children love it, teens love it, adults love it and so do more elderly guests. While a 20-year-old might not like the same music as a 60-year-old, for example, magic transcends the ages. I have some great photos of me performing to both young and old.”

What’s the most extravagant wedding you’ve been to?

“In terms of extravagance, Indian weddings are difficult to beat,” says Owen.“I did one in Wolverhampton recently and it was incredible. There were around 80 tables and a huge screen playing a film of the happy couple that was the standard of a Hollywood blockbuster. There were also a number of film crews and photographers with a TV-studio-level of equipment. Alongside this were drummers, photo booths and endless food courses too. I also worked at a similar wedding last year in Birmingham. A series of supercars turned up, there was a free bar and there were literally mountains of fruit for guests to snack on.”

And the most budget savvy?

“I worked at an amazing wedding in the most exclusive road in Sutton Coldfield,” says Owen.“The owners of the house had rented out a wing of their property for a flat fee. The couple then arranged everything else. There was a huge tepee in the garden and food provided by a pizza van and fish and chip van. There was also a free bar that worked out at only around £25 a head. So, on a relatively small budget, this wedding was held at a £7-million house with delicious but good value food, a free bar and great entertainment.”

Tell us your top tips…

  • I’m biased, but don’t scrimp on entertainment. Guests really can get bored at a wedding and this can easily dampen the mood.
  • My other big tip is don’t be driven by price. Get a good professional supplier who’s known and respected through the industry. Whether that’s a singer, band, magician, DJ or whatever. Your wedding day is the most important day of your life. Why risk it to save a couple of hundred quid?
  Meet the suppliers: The wedding entertainers - DJ  

Darren Harris and Maurice Day from The Sing Along Waiters

“We provide a surprise singing show during the wedding breakfast,” says Darren of The Sing-Along Waiters. “We take on the guise of waiters and blend in with the venue staff, serving food, drinks and canapés. Then, around dessert time, we get guests’ attention and start the show! It’s a fantastic way to get everyone celebrating and happens at a time when there’s often a natural lull in the proceedings. We can cater for any audience too, there’s no age limit on having a good time!”

What’s the secret to creating a great atmosphere?

“So many weddings are really beautiful affairs but lack atmosphere, and guests often wait until the reception for something to happen,” says Darren. “Modern couples won’t settle for the local DJ from the pub playing songs they’ve never heard before. We’re experts in celebration and can conduct the audience at the only time when everyone is sat together. It’s perfect for your photographer and videographer too, as they get the kind of shots and footage that they won’t get at any other part of the day. Most couples want to create special memories and actually celebrate, which is exactly what we can help with.”

How do you pick the right supplier?

“Everybody’s idea of their big day is very personal, so find wedding entertainers you trust and that really care about the biggest day of your life,” says Darren. “Due to the proximity of what we do, there’s a real emotional connection from our performance. We get up close and personal with the entire wedding. It’s more than just music. Unlike a singer, band or other musician, we’re literally stood in the middle of the wedding breakfast. We have the audience’s complete attention for the length of the performance, so it’s not a ‘background’ performance.”

What do couples spend on entertainment?

“It varies, as people’s price points are relative,” says Darren. “The trend for longer engagements does allow couples to really plan and budget specifically for what they’ve dreamed of, rather than just what they can afford at the time. Making smart budget choices is essential too. Ask yourself if you’re spending money on the things that are important to you. For example, six months after the wedding, your friends and family aren’t going to ask to see pictures of the sprinkles on the tables, even though you spent days agonising over them!”

When should you book?

“We find that couples either book very early, say two years in advance, or very last minute,” says Darren. “We understand everything is budget-led but after that it comes down to personal preference and priorities.”

What’s the most extravagant wedding you’ve been to?

“We’ve entertained at many extravagant weddings but one that stands out was a Disney-themed wedding. It included a huge Disney castle cake with waterfalls and the bride arrived in a horse-drawn princess carriage. There was also an ice cream van, magician and, of course, The Sing Along Waiters too. Sometimes having a theme to base everything around makes it easier to plan. If it doesn’t fit in with the theme, it doesn’t get included!”

And the most budget savvy?

“We played at a renewal of vows recently where the couple had stripped everything back to just the essentials,” says Darren. “They made the day all about the guests and about having a good time. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetic of the day and forget that you’re there to celebrate too!”

Tell us your top tips…

  • Book as early as you can if you want specific entertainment. The top performers will get booked up in advance.
  • Create a joint wedding email. This keeps everything in one place and allows you to plan more easily and efficiently. It also means that your primary email address is not clogged up with wedding-themed emails years after your day.
  • Get a hashtag for your day. Put it on each table and even write it on the table plan! It allows people to upload pictures to one place on Instagram and Facebook, so there's no more chasing around for that great picture. You can even add it to your invitations, so people know in advance!
  Meet the suppliers: The wedding entertainers - hashtag  

Click here for a full list of wedding entertainers near you or visit our Wedding Suppliers page to find the very best wedding suppliers in your area. Finally, for more big day inspiration and to find your dream dress, head over to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter