Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wedding Entertainment Tips

It's your Wedding Day and you want everyone to have a great time, so where do you start with your entertainment?

You have probably taken ages to plan your wedding day and you want everyone to have a great time but how much entertainment do you need to put on for your Guests.

Well first things first, keep within your budget. It would be great to have the same entertainment as our favourite celebrities but not if its going to swallow up most of your wedding budget.

So be practical and plan out your day.

If your wedding is an all day affair there are going to be times during the day than you might need want to think about having some entertainment through out the day especially if you are having an early ceremony but dinner is not served until much later in the day.

You will be spending time with your photographer after the ceremony for those all important photographs and some of your Guests may not know anyone other than the person they came with as with most weddings our Guests are made up with friends and family that we have been close to over the years as well as good friends that you have made recently together.

Putting on entertainment creates a talking point and helps to get the day to flow. But remember its does not have to be expensive.

So what is the best time to lay on Entertainment?

One of the biggest ‘lull’ times is the time between Ceremony and the Wedding Breakfast.

This is a great time for a magician to mingle with the Guests or you could surprise them with a ‘singing waiter’ act which is great fun.

If you are having your wedding and/or reception at a historical venue you could organise a guided tour for your Guests as a surprise.

Remember one thing you are never going to please everyone – most weddings are made up of Guests of diverse ages and even more diverse tastes. So whilst keeping your Guests in mind do chose a form of entertainment that you like as well or that is relevant to you wedding.
We recently had a wedding were the bride was Chinese and during the drinks reception we surprised the Guests with a Chinese Lion Dance Act and it was fantastic.

Another couple were Elvis fans and had an Elvis impersonator walked through the grounds singing love songs whilst the couple went off to have their photographs taken whilst another had a Frank Sinatra tribute singer do the same thing.

Don't forget there is nothing lovelier than a string quartet or jazz trio on a summers afternoon playing during the drinks reception.

What are the more cost effective forms of entertainment?

I would definitely say that for the evening entertainment a good DJ is the most cost effective form of entertainment.

Although I am finding more and more that couples are bringing their own IPod and Bose speakers and playing their own evening entertainment which is obviously a good way to save money on your entertainment budget. We had one couple that created their own party games that everyone had to take part in they went to a lot of trouble to create a Mr & Mrs Quiz and then had a PiƱata challenge.

A casino is also a good form of entertainment and not over pricey you can hire a couple of tables with croupiers for less than £500.00.

Fantastic Magicians are great and can be hired for a couple of hours for around £400.00, great for a drinks reception and during dinner between serving of courses.

If you have a little more in your budget for entertainment, then perhaps you could go for a live band or a good tribute band, which can make the party swing, if they have a great reputation and well known they will be more expensive so make sure you have the budget.

Lots of Children coming to the wedding

Five ways to Entertain Children

1. Help the parents out and always do a goody bag at the dinner table – this gives the child something new to play with and will hopefully keep them entertained during dinner.

2. You could hire some over sized games such as Jenga or Connect for the children to play with.

3. A magic show is great and you could combine this with a magician working the drinks reception area.

4. Set up a Kids Korner - Purchase some Puzzle Books, storybooks, crayons etc and put these into a gift bag, or the Disney Store for the latest action figure. Most children love making things so Hobbycraft is great for kits to make jewellery and badges and much more.

5. Children’s Party Company! If you have more than 2 or 3 children and your budget can afford it look at a getting in a children’s entertainer such as http://www.tttsparties.co.uk/ & http://www.southeastchildcare.co.uk/ are both a god send!

Want to finish the evening with a bang!

Fireworks are always popular with everyone and are not as expensive as you might think. Always check with your venue first before booking them as some venues have strict policies.

But remember whatever the entertainment you choose, just enjoy the day and all the memories that it brings.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Do you really need a professional photographer?

Do you really need a professional photographer?

Do you really need a professional? After all your friend, cousin, brother, neighbour has a great camera. Couldn’t they do just as good a job and save you a whole pile of money? Maybe. But then, I have a pretty nice pair of scissors. Trust me, you don’t want me to make your wedding dress.
I’ve been photographing weddings professionally for nearly 5 years now so I may be a little biased, but here are some reasons why I think this is one job where a professional is actually worth the money.

Every shot counts
Cameras are pretty good now. Lots of your friends might be very keen on their photography and able to produce a stunning picture every weekend. Ask them to show you their 10th best picture from a photo shoot and they may be able to show you something rather nice. How about shot 20? 50? A professional wedding photographer might deliver 300 shots from your day.

Some of these will be formal portraits, some grabbed candids and some of them will be groups. And some of them will be better than others. But you’ll want them all to be good. Because if shot 300 is of your long lost cousin Sylvia whom you haven’t seen for 20 years dancing playing Air Guitar on the dance floor you’re going to want it for blackmail purposes if nothing else.

Herding cats
There’s a big trend at the moment for photojournalism, reportage, call it what you will. Often the pictures you love the most are the ones that look like they are “just” candids – taken without the subject being aware. But even the most relaxed day isn’t going to be all like that.

Are you absolutely sure you don’t want just one group picture? The professional you choose should have the skills and experience to gather your guests together quickly and efficiently to allow for all the pictures you want. Or to advise you in advance when your shot list is just a little ambitious.

There may also be rules on photography during the ceremony. Trust me, nobody ever won an argument with a registrar about whether they could use flash while hanging from a chandelier to get that special shot. Your photographer will need to work within any fixed rules and to anticipate all the key points of the day. There’s no real way you can ask them to back the ceremony up and start again because you missed something.

When they take your portrait, your professional should be able to give any guidance you need to look your absolute best in the pictures. Formal posing is rather out of fashion at the moment but it’s amazing what a difference you can make to pictures by tiny changes to the angle and composition.

Things go wrong
Here’s something the bridal magazines (and maybe even your wedding coordinator!) won’t tell you. Things go wrong on wedding days. This can be anything from the wrong shade of buttonhole to a last minute seating plan change to major equipment failure and horrendous weather.

But none of that matters because (1) at the end of the day you’ll still be married and (2) the professionals you chose for the job will smooth the way. It’s unlikely you’ll even notice that anything has gone wrong (well, you may just spot 4 inches of rain….)

Your professional photographer should (of course) carry backups of all essential equipment such as cameras, flash guns etc and know that equipment well enough to get the best of them in all circumstances.

The shot at the top of this article was taken very late in the day but there was still plenty of light around I had an assistant on the left hand side performing two very vital jobs

1. Holding about £5,000 worth of studio level mobile flash to light the bride and groom and cast their reflection into the water.
2. To hide the sign that says “danger! do not walk out onto this path”….

About the author

Jonathan Ryan is a professional wedding and children photographer working from his gallery in Canterbury throughout Kent and the South East of England. When he’s not writing about himself in the third person, he regularly contributes images to bridal magazines. When asked to sum up his pictures he chose “fun, relaxed and, erm, fun.” You can see some of his work online at
www.MyWeddingStory.co.uk where you can also contact him. But the best bet to see his work is to make an appointment at his gallery – loads of pictures, amazing albums and really nice