Ultimate Wedding Entertainment Guide and Ideas

Looking for some top wedding entertainment ideas and recommendations to help you celebrate your big day? If so, you're in the right place. Over the years, I've attended over 600 weddings as a supplier, and organised one wedding in full (my own). In that time, I've got to know exactly what's important when it comes to sorting out entertainment for a wedding. So, whether it's a wedding magician like me, a five piece jazz band or some simple lawn games, here's the ultimate guide to wedding entertainment.

In this article I'll cover:

wedding entertainment ideas

When should I have entertainment during my wedding?

Have you been to a wedding before? It's a long day, isn't it? That's why my advice is to think about having entertainment throughout the day. Some couple choose only to have entertainment during the evening, such as a band or a DJ. This is a mistake. There are lots of times when guests are waiting around. The trick, I've found is that having entertainment during these moments means that guests don't feel like they are waiting around. Instead, the day runs seamlessly and the whole thing feels like a celebration, which is what many couples are trying to achieve.

What I suggest is entertainment during three main times:

  • During the drinks reception which takes place after the ceremony until the wedding breakfast.
  • During the turnover period, which is after the wedding breakfast, until the cutting of the cake or the first dance.
  • During the evening.

What are different types of entertainment are best for a wedding?

When looking to organise wedding entertainment, I suggest you split things up into the following categories.

Evening Main Event Entertainment

Examples: DJs, Bands, Singers, Ceilidh Dancing

This is the easiest to describe. It's most often a band or a DJ. Of course, it's worth thinking about the style of music you want. You could hire an "open format" DJ who plays a mix of genres, or someone who specialises in techno, house or a genre that you and your guests like. The same goes for a band. You could hire a covers band that plays a mix of hits or a big band or jazz band, or some other style. Another wedding entertainment idea that falls into this category is a ceilidh band. This is a popular choice that can be a lot of fun but it require a lot of space for the dancing. There isn't usually much room for those who don't want to be involved.

Passive Entertainment

Examples: Classic Musicians, Wedding Singers

This a nice thing to have in the background. The music just washes over you and people can talk or eat at the same time. This is good for during the drinks reception and sometimes for during the wedding breakfast too.

Static Entertainment

Examples: Casino Tables, Giant Scalextric Track, Crazy Golf Hire, Lawn Games Hire, Photobooth

With this type of entertainment your guests have to go up and interact with the thing, so be aware that a photobooth, or similar) is never going swing your party into action. It's totally reliant on how much your guests are into it. As such, I recommend that this wedding entertainment is hired alongside a walkaround performer.

Active Entertainment

Examples: Close up magician, Caricaturist, Palm Reader

These wedding entertainers go round and meet your guests. They start conversations, and because the entertainment is interactive, it's a personal thing that makes people feel valued. In my opinion is the best wedding entertainment idea.

I might be biased as I am a professional close up magician who performs at weddings. However, I've seen the impact that magic can have at the hundreds of weddings I've performed at. That's why I organised two close up magicians to perform for my wedding!

If you want to find out more about my close up magic then the best thing to do is to reach out to me for a quick chat.

Ready to find out more?

Get in touch today for an accurate quote or more information.

It's a good idea to try to have one type of entertainment from each category. I'll give you some more information about setting a budget for all of this in the next section, but it's worth bearing in mind that if you are on a restricted budget then you can make some savings by putting together some of the entertainment yourself.

Instead of a photobooth, how about buying some cardboard props from Etsy and setting up your own DIY photo table, where people can shoot with their mobile phones.

Instead of a wedding singer, why not play a playlist of some romantic music during the wedding breakfast, and then use the money you saved to hire something else fantastic.

How much should I budget for wedding entertainment?

Between 10% - 15% of your total budget should be spent on entertainment.

Budgeting for any event is a matter of priorities. What is most important to you? You could, for example, spend 50% of your budget on the cake, and if that's what will bring you the most joy on the day then who should stop you? However, I would suggest that for most couples the big costs will be the venue and the catering.

The budget for entertainment is usually between 10 - 15% of the total wedding spend, but I would recommend that this is closer to 15% or more. In a recent survey, 1,000 couples were asked what they would change about their wedding and guess what 78% of couples wished they had spent more on the entertainment.

After all, long after the final champagne flute has been sunk, what will you want remember most about your day? Will it be where you were (the venue), what it looked like (the decorations), what you were wearing (the outfits) - yes, probably all of those things! But also, the memories you made while celebrating with your friends and family. That's what entertainment brings to your day. The chance to relax, celebrate and enjoy spending time with those closest to you.

In short, I can't give you a figure for how much you should spend on entertainment, but what I can say is that I strongly recommend you consider spending a little more in order to get exactly what you want, rather than spending less and it not meeting your expectations.

A quick side note on agencies. While they can be a benefit in that they will have access to many wedding entertainers. As they charge a commission fee, you are most likely paying more if you book through an entertainment agency, rather than going direct.

How do I hire wedding entertainers?

1. Read through this article and decide on what type of entertainment you are looking for and where you see it fitting in. What are your priorities? When do you want to add in entertainment to your day (where are the quiet periods)? If you're still not sure, that's OK. An experienced entertainer will be able to guide you with just a few quick questions.

Need even more suggestions? Why not have a look at this article with 110 wedding entertainment ideas.

2. Find your wedding entertainment. If you have a recommendation for supplier, then that's a good place to start. If not, then search for wedding entertainment online and look for a few suppliers that appeal to you. The secret is to look for evidence of their experience. Are there photos and videos from previous weddings? Not just pictures shot in a studio. Do they have any reviews?

3. Get in touch. I would suggest choosing two or three from each type that you like the look of rather than trying to message ten or more. It's also a great idea to speak on the phone. The best wedding suppliers are the ones that feel like your friends, so speaking to them on the phone, or via a video call is a great way to get an instant idea about the personality of the person you are considering hiring.

5. Don't just choose your suppliers by who is cheapest. A professional wedding supplier brings a wealth of experience to your event. In contrast, a cheaper supplier is often just starting out (or cutting corners). That's probably not what you want for your big day. Of course, weddings can be expensive, and you want to get great value, but just remember that paying a little more to get someone who can do the job is better than paying less for someone who can't.

6. Organise the final details. The supplier you choose will tell you the details they need in order to book you in. After that, it's simply a case of paying the deposit and waiting for the big day.

birmingham magician ed sumner performing close up magic at a wedding
Fantastic reactions to my close up magic at a wedding.

What entertainment did I have for my wedding?

Unsurprisingly, I followed my own advice when planning entertainment for my wedding. Here's what we laid on for our guests:

Drinks reception - a classic flauntist playing in the background while drinks and canapes were served.

Turnover period - two close up magicians meeting guests and entertaining them with incredible magic, plus some garden lawn games open at the same time (to save some money, we borrowed / made these ourselves, rather than hire them out).

Evening entertainment - an open format DJ playing all night, plus a wedding quiz (again, to save money we wrote and printed this ourselves), plus a wedding tombola (which fit in with our village fête theme).

Ready to find out more?

Get in touch today for an accurate quote or more information.



It's easy to get in touch with me, either:


During a short phone or video call, we'll talk about your event and your initial ideas. Don't worry, if you're not sure. I've helped to plan many events so I can advise on the best use of magic and other events entertainment.


Once all the details are agreed, I'll send you a booking confirmation and ask you to make the first payment which confirms your date in my calendar. Then it's time to start looking forward to your big event.


I'll check in with you in the week before your event, and on the day of the event. All you need to do now is enjoy the magic, mind reading and conversational comedy.

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  1. […] I talk more about setting your budget for entertainment in my ultimate wedding entertainment guide. […]