Category Archives: wedding reception entertainment tips

newlyweds celebrating and getting the perfect wedding memory

6 Ways to Make Your Chicago Wedding Reception Unforgettable

An awesome Chicago wedding reception is the goal, and these wedding planning hacks can get you there! We’ve been part of some fantastic Windy City wedding receptions, and every one was memorable in its own way; here’s how to use

Select the perfect Chicago wedding venue.

A breath-taking Chicago wedding venue or your own backyard—whatever wedding venue you choose, make sure it is (or can be) the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception that is completely you. Think of it as your chance to make a breath-taking first impression.

If you don’t have a favorite Chicago wedding venue, start the process by setting a budget and thinking about your style as a couple. Are you drawn to an elegant wedding venue? Would you prefer a venue with history and a story? Could you picture yourselves in a more natural outdoor setting? Or is a rustic venue more your style? Would you prefer a more casual setting that your guests can relax and enjoy? Whatever your style, Chicago is full of beautiful wedding venues perfect for your special day.

Plan a surprise—and keep it a secret!

A wedding reception surprise is a fun way to jazz up the reception—and another way to add a custom touch to your special day. This is your chance to add a special moment to all your other special moments. Plus, there are so many options: a surprise visit by a mascot or special family member of friend, an unexpected wedding first dance, a balloon or confetti drop, fireworks…the list of wedding surprise ideas are endless. Don’t forget to bring your wedding DJ, venue staff, or band in on the surprise so you can seamlessly build it into the reception order of events.

Have fun with the details.

There are no small details in a wedding reception (though there are low-priority items that shouldn’t require the majority of your budget.) Have fun with your wedding décor. This is your chance to coordinate all the details into a beautiful wedding atmosphere, with awesome signs and tons of opportunities for entertainment.

In addition to dancing, look for ways to entertain guests of all ages. Kids love bubbles, magicians, face painters and these other children wedding entertainment ideas. Your more experienced guests can enjoy tasting stations, local brews and wine samplers, photo booths, table games, and other ways to have fun off the dance floor.

Customize the wedding reception playlist.

One of the ways to make a wedding reception feel personal is to customize the play list. This can only be done with a band or wedding DJ that personalizes the play list, so make sure that question is on your list of questions to ask prospective Chicago wedding DJs.

In addition to a customized wedding play list, look for a wedding entertainment pro with experience that makes the night enjoyable for everyone. The best Chicago wedding DJs and bands have quality equipment, both primary and back-up, that ensures a smooth performance regardless of breakdowns.

Set a smooth wedding reception schedule (with minimal down time).

While we can’t promise that your wedding day goes off without any issues, the best Chicago DJs and bands make the wedding reception a smooth experience with minimal interruptions. This is especially true for wedding receptions where the ceremony and reception are in the same area. When planning the wedding day, try to make sure the transitions are smooth and seamless—without any interruptions in entertainment.

Find cool ways to capture the memories.

Every newlywed couple can attest to the fact that the wedding day goes by way too fast. As you plan, try to find ways to capture the memories. You can do this with social media hash tags, photo booths, and by hiring the best videographer and photographer (this guide to hiring wedding vendors can help). Be creative with your ideas, and prepare to enjoy the results!

10 (Other) Ways to Entertain Guests at a Wedding Reception

As wedding DJs, we love an awesome wedding dance, but we acknowledge there are other wedding entertainment ideas that put a reception over-the-top. This list of the best wedding reception entertainment ideas is the perfect complement to a good wedding dance—and give even your non-dancers options for fun.

Photobooth

Silly props and a chance to take the ultimate wedding photos—what about this wedding entertainment idea doesn’t sound like a good time? A photobooth is the ultimate draw for guests who want to take a break from the dance floor (especially when you use these tips for renting a quality photobooth). It’s also a great way to add more touches of your wedding theme with fun wedding props and frames.

Table Games

Table games are a great way to entertain guests during dinner—and keep them guessing throughout the night. Our favorite table games are personalized, like trivia and crosswords about the couple. If you want to make the game a group event, have the DJ make announcements about the table game periodically during the dance.

Coloring Table

This wedding entertainment idea is a hit with your youngest wedding guests—and might even be a draw for older guests. Even if your older guests don’t pick up a crayon, every parent at your wedding reception appreciates free entertainment for their kids.

Flash Mob

A flash mob is a fun surprise guests’ll be talking about long after the wedding reception is over. If you decide to include a flash mob in the night’s events, make sure you talk to your wedding DJ about recommendations for taking the surprise to the next level.

Interactive Food Station

An interactive food station is a great way for guests to mingle and enjoy. When adding an interactive station to your wedding reception entertainment line-up, make sure you strategically position the table (or tables) in an area where guests can enjoy—without getting too far from the dance floor.

Tasting Stations

A tasting station is the perfect choice for a couple who loves local flavors—and wants to bring it into their wedding reception. Your guests’ll love to enjoy local ales or wines at this unique wedding reception entertainment idea (and you’ll love to select the ales and wines for the occasion!)

Yard Games

Yard games are a guest favorite—and not always just an outdoor one. If your indoor venue allows an indoor set-up, your guests’ll love to play ring toss, corn hold, or bowling in between rounds on the dance floor.

Fireworks

Fireworks are an unexpected surprise that guests’ll love! If your venue allows you to include a firework show, make sure you ask your wedding DJ for a big announcement that draws guests out to watch.

Advice Table

An advice table brings out the serious and unexpected from guests. You truly never know what you’re going to get, but it’s always interesting!

Dance Floor Games

Even if guests don’t love to dance, they’ll love dance floor games! If dance floor games are one of your top choices, choose a wedding DJ who can take the fun and games to a whole new level.

Tips from the Pros: Planning the Ultimate Wedding Reception

wedding where they take requestsWe’ve been to a lot of wedding receptions (6,000+). Needless to say, we’ve been part of some fantastic wedding receptions over the years. Our experience is your gain; we’ve compiled a list of some wedding planning tips that you can use to plan a wonderful wedding reception.

Be picky (and be careful!).

There are (literally) thousands of options for every part of your wedding in Chicago: wedding venues, djs, photographers, videographers, florists, bakers…the list could go on and on. As you research and hire the people that make your dream wedding a reality, be selective and wary of every vendor. Look for vendors that have plenty of experience, back-up plans for those “just in case” situations, and good reviews. Be careful of the low-cost options; you don’t want to scramble on your special day because you hired a sub-standard vendor (use this list of specific red flags to look for when hiring a wedding DJ).

Don’t underestimate the value of a “Cadillac.”

We’ve been around many couples and we know how important it is to stick to a wedding budget. However, don’t get so stuck on numbers that you focus only on hiring the lowest cost option. Vendors that are considered the “Cadillac” of their profession can provide valuable services that are worth a few extra dollars (and don’t automatically assume those vendors are not affordable!). Ask your vendors questions specifically about what they provide to make sure you are hiring the best option for your big day.

Lean on their experience.

Assuming that you hire experienced wedding vendors who have more than a few weddings under their belt (like us with our 6,000+), don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and suggestions as you plan. Their suggestion may have been done at another wedding, but you can still customize the recommendation into an idea that feels very uniquely you (especially when part of a wedding reception that screams you at every turn!). Put simply, your wedding vendors have been there, done that. Use it. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a plan B.

Anything can happen on your big day. As much as you plan out every detail and minute, emergencies can still arise that can alter your original wedding plan (and we won’t even mention the weather, this is Chicago after all!). Be open to the idea that “just in case” situations do happen, and plan accordingly. Pack an emergency wedding kit. Plan for an alternate venue for your big day or photos if bad weather comes up. Find vendors that can still provide service even if equipment breaks or someone gets sick.

Two-way communication is vital for fantastic results.

There is some give and take when planning a wedding. As much as you need answers from your wedding vendor, be aware that you’ll need to give too (in fact two-way communication while planning leads to fantastic, custom results!). At every meeting, ask your wedding vendor what they need from you and when they need it by. As DJs, we can tell you that we need feedback on songs you want played (and not played), pronunciation help for your family and attendants, vendor information, venue limitations information (possibly not if we’ve worked there before), and any special requests that you may have (more information on what your DJ needs here). Keep track of deadlines, and respond as needed (you’ll be thankful you did!).

Focus on your guests.

Your wedding day is your special day, but make sure you keep your guests in mind as you plan. We’ll give you a few examples. Not every wedding guest wants to dance, so don’t plan on just one form of wedding entertainment. Give your guests choices, such as table games, photo booths, yard (or hall) games, and dance floor games (your DJ can give you ideas) that’ll make every guest enjoy the reception (and talk about it for days or years after-ideas for wedding entertainment here). For guests that are enjoying themselves all night (like those dance floor regulars), plan a late night course that fuels your guests and keeps them going.

Plan surprises!

This phrase sounds like an oxymoron; at a wedding reception it’s a really cool way to make your special day more memorable—and a lot more fun! Plan a surprise at your wedding reception that no one sees coming (and make sure you keep it a secret) for an over-the-top wedding reception (here’s a few fun surprise ideas you can use at your wedding reception). If you’re completely lost, don’t hesitate to ask your wedding vendors for ideas (we can help!) that’ll make your wedding reception feel like a night to remember.

8 Tips for an Awesomely Fun Wedding Reception

guests dancing to wedding reception entertainmentTrying to plan a memorable wedding reception? We’ve been privileged to be part of a few wedding receptions (or 10 or 1,000 or so…) Though each wedding reception is uniquely different, there are some steps you can take when planning to make your wedding reception an incredible and unforgettable night of fun.

Don’t put off hiring the best wedding reception entertainment (you want the best!).

The saying “if you snooze you lose” is very, VERY relevant to wedding reception entertainment. To get the best, and have a GREAT time, make sure to book your wedding entertainment early—as soon as you have a date, time, and confirmed wedding venue.

Set up kid fun zones.

Hire a babysitter to watch kids in another room, or set up tables with coloring books, crayons, and paper table cloths specifically for your youngest guests. If the weather is nice, you can also keep them entertained with bubbles and fun yard games.

Limit the time of wedding toasts, and photo slideshows, and videos, and…

There is such thing as too much (really!). To keep your wedding reception running smoothly, and your guests in a good mood, keep your dinner slideshows, toasts, and other dinner entertainment to a minimum. Finally, don’t get so caught up in your dinner program that you don’t allow time for your guests to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

Plan more food than just a dinner.

If you want your guests to have a good time and stay on the dance floor, plan on fueling their dancing moves with refreshments throughout the evening. Ask your caterer to set out finger foods periodically, or order a pizza (if your wedding venue allows) late in the evening.

Hire a GOOD DJ for the perks.

A good DJ is worth their weight in gold (read how you can tell the difference between amateurs and good DJs here). In addition to keeping your dance floor going, a DJ can also offer ceremony music, an emcee for the dinner and dance, a coordinator with your photographer and videographer (so they get the good shots), lighting, and an awesome sound system.

Give your guests more to do than just dance.

Since you’re providing your little ones coloring tables and fun time, do the same for the adults (minus the coloring books). Rent a photo booth (or contact a company that includes photo booths as part of their entertainment package) for a documented night of fun.

Surprise!

Give your guests a pleasant surprise at your reception: something unique that fits you and your fiancé and no one else knows about. It could be a choreographed first dance, a memory-filled table, video full of thank you’s, or a surprise ride for your first wedding night.

Enjoy yourself.

Relax. Have fun! Your awesome wedding reception is the culmination of all your hard work. Dance the night away with your friends and family and enjoy every second.