Alternative Ideas For Entertaining Wedding Guests

Choosing the right kind of entertainment for a wedding can be quite a task. Catering for different tastes in music and ensuring everyone, from young to old, is going to find the entertainment entertaining can be a tricky balancing act.

There is a debate over what form of wedding entertainment is better, the classic small band playing covers, or the DJ that can play more up to date music. However, why stick to the tried and tested classics when there are so many alternative entertainment options available that will help you make your wedding the most talked about event of the year.

Traditional Wedding Entertainment…With a Twist…

Add a touch of spice to your live music

One of the best things about having a band play at your wedding is that the personalities of each band member come out in the performance. This infectious energy extends to the wedding guests encouraging even those not prone to dancing to get up and join in the fun on the dance floor.

However, why stick to the the traditional choice of a covers band. If you want to add a bit of spice to your wedding, why not try a more exotic take on the live band? The drums of a salsa or samba band is sure to get everyone feeling the carnival spirit and grabbing a partner to get up and shake their stuff on the dance floor.

Samba Drums

Be your own DJ

Having a DJ play at your wedding is the perfect inexpensive way to ensure that there is something for everyone. DJs can work in small spaces, so there’s no need to sacrifice space that could be used for extra table places or a larger dance floor.

With a DJ you also have the opportunity to play a diverse range of music to suit all guests without the rest breaks that live musicians need.

If you don’t think a DJ could mix the right songs, why not try your own hand at it? The iPod changed the wedding DJ game allowing people to be a DJ without all the kit that goes with it. Creating your own wedding playlist could add that extra personal feeling to your wedding day.

Alternative Ways to Entertain Wedding Guests

Silent Disco

All the fun of a DJ without the noise! Issue those guests who want to dance with headphones where the DJ plays music directly into their ears. Entertaining not only for those dancing but for those guests sitting and watching as family and friends dance to tunes only they can hear. Perfect entertainment for venues where noise might be an issue, or when you wish to extend the party in the small hours without disturbing other guests.

Comedy Show

Create a wedding with a smile and hire an after-dinner comedian. This is a great way to allow guests to relax and digest their meal before hitting the dance floor later on in the evening.

Casino Night

The happy couple were lucky enough to meet the partner of their dreams so why not share some of that luck with the guests? Adding some ‘just for fun’ blackjack and roulette tables allows guests time away from the dance floor where they can try their luck. A nice twist on this theme might be to create some small gifts or prizes that the winners can take home at the end of the night.

Singing Waiters

A waiter’s main job is to ensure that all the guests are fed and watered, but some staff can offer so much more than simply re-filling drinks glasses. Catering by a company that offers singing waiters is a great idea, providing your guests with unexpected but very memorable moments of pure musical theatre.

Funny Photo Booth

Memories of your wedding are captured in the photos you and your guests take. That said, not every guest will have the honour of joining your wedding album. A photo booth allows your guests to get together, make some new friends, and take some silly pictures that they can laugh about together. Add a dressing up box to the mix to make for some extra special photos?

Bride and groom in photobooth. Wedding.

Living Hedges

Your guests will be in for a shock when the all too lifelike hedges in the Riverside Marquee’s garden suddenly begin to walk, talk, and serve drinks! The hedges are actually actors in costume and will add a shock factor to your wedding that you can be sure hasn’t been seen by your guests before.

Children’s Entertainment

One of the best ways to keep kids quiet is to keep them entertained. Thankfully, children are usually easy to engage when it comes to bouncy castles and soft play areas. The Riverside Marquee has access to over 16 acres of land for you to utilise, giving you space to include any additional extras such as bouncy castles or even ball pits! If you want your children to be part of your ceremony but don’t know how to include them, why not give our ‘Wedding Questions’ blog a read?

childen on bouncy castle

Garden Games

If the weather is good, then getting outside in the fresh air is something everyone will enjoy. Adding in some giant garden games adds a little light hearted sport to your wedding and gives everyone a reason to enjoy the scenery. Choose from larger versions of favourites such as jenga, chess, and connect 4,or quaint English classics such as quoits, cricket and croquet.

At The Riverside Marquee, we cater to whatever entertainment you decide is perfect for your wedding, we have a space specifically for a band to play, a huge manicured lawn, riverfront access and much more. To discuss wedding reception entertainment, please call us on 01628 762700 or use our enquiry form.

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Questions You Forgot To Ask Your Wedding Planner

When you are planning your wedding, you are likely to have thousands of questions running through your mind all at once. Unfortunately some of these questions can get lost during preparations because more pressing matters may be at hand. Here is our handy guide to questions that you may ask yourself when you are planning your wedding.

Why are weddings important?

You may be asking yourself why the whole day is even that important. We can wholeheartedly tell you that your wedding day is one of, if not the most, special days in your whole life. It’s one of those rare and precious occasions that brings so many people together for the sole purpose of celebrating two people’s love for each other. After all, what is a wedding without being able to share this love with your family and friends?

Why Do The Bride & Groom Give Each Other Rings?

The idea behind the ring is that love has no beginning and it has no end. A wedding ring is to symbolise eternal love and is placed on the aptly named “ring finger” of the left hand. People used to believe that this finger was the only one that contained a direct vein to the heart.

Do I Have to Follow Wedding Traditions?

No, you do not have to follow wedding traditions if you do not want to. Traditions are usually followed because of religion or culture, but that does not mean you cannot have exactly what you want on your special day. An example of tradition that is not always followed is that you and your partner must read traditional vows. This does not have to be the case if you have thought up your own. Speak to your planner about how you can tailor traditions into your wedding, and maybe ways that you can tweak their ideas to make your wedding more unique and personal to you.

Do I Need a Wedding Rehearsal? And If So Who Should Attend?

Wedding rehearsals are not a fundamental part of planning a wedding and are only really necessary if your wedding involves a lot of moving around, or if the order of procession is slightly different because of your environment. That said, rehearsals are a great way of ensuring that everyone knows what they need to do when the special day comes around and ironing out any problems that might arise before your big day.  Wedding rehearsals usually involve the newlyweds, the parents, the officiant and the wedding party.

Group Of Bridesmaids Blowing Bubbles In Garden

I Want To Include My Children In My Wedding, What Wedding Roles Can They Fill?

Children have played a vital part in weddings for years and years, whether it be as a cute bridesmaid or the young boy who giggles when the happy couple share their first kiss.

There are a variety of roles that a child can fill and it never hurts to be creative. Children are usually just delighted to be involved! Roles such as table entertainer, or Flower-Hander-Outer can be made up especially for young ones and it will keep them occupied and out of trouble. If you have an older child, or you want them to play a more traditional part in your wedding, these are other more formal roles they can fill:

  • Ring Bearer
  • Flower Girl
  • Bridesmaid
  • Usher/Groomsman

What Do I Say In My Wedding Toast?

Wedding toasts can be tricky as you will have all eyes on you when you are telling the story of your love. Wedding toasts generally change depending on the person doing the speech, for example the best man’s speech is usually funny, lighthearted and intended to show their friendship with the groom.

If you are having trouble with your wedding toast, then try to remember why you love your partner so much and why everyone is here to see you get married. Maybe tell the story of how you met your partner? Where you first realised you were in love? Stories like these tend to get a good reaction. Above all remember that, no matter how nervous you are, everyone watching is behind you 100% and that the odd slip up is okay.

When planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget about the little things. These have been a few small answers to some of your unanswered wedding questions. If you would like some more information about the Riverside Marquee and how we can make sure your wedding is as special as possible, then please feel free to contact us on 01628 762700.

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Wedding Planning Checklist

Your big day is on it’s way, yet getting everything ready for your wedding celebrations is quite a task in itself. Make sure your day goes without a hitch (apart from yours) with our wedding planning checklist which runs through the logistics of creating the perfect wedding.

Find someone to marry.

We cannot help with that particular task, so we will assume that side of things is already sorted.

12 months to go

Set you budget (and try to keep to it!)

Set your budget and have discuss costs with relevant people. Get any awkward conversations about setting the budget out the way first and foremost and work out what you’re going to spend where spend where.

Choose a reception venue and book it.

Create a shortlist and view your preferred wedding reception venues. Make provisional bookings for the date you want with venues you can’t decide between. When your final decision is made cancel provisional bookings and confirm in writing to the venue of your choice.

Book the ceremony venue (and registrar).

This might be in a church, temple, synagogue, meeting house, approved venue or registry office.  In many cases the ceremony and reception venue are one in the same which can really help with logistics of the day.

Create your provisional guest list.

Make sure you don’t exceed the venue capacity (although some may not be able to attend so have a few guests on standby).

Send invites to let everyone know your wedding date and to get final numbers.

Get invites out early to make sure your guests can reserve the date in their diaries.  Include information on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. Chase up non-responders after a month to ensure there are no hiccups with too many attendees.

11 months to go

Create a revised guest list.

You can get seating plans sorted now if you like (these can always be revised nearer the date as needed).

Choose the bridesmaids and best man.

You know who they are. Don’t let anyone else have a say on this. Make sure you assign roles early as you’ll find their advice and support is vital throughout the planning process.

If you want fancy transport, book it now.

Hint, classic cars are beautiful but are temperamental – make sure there is a transport plan B just in case!

Book your musicians or DJ.

Live music is so much better than a disco but can cost considerably more. Think about when and how you want music played throughout the reception.

Choose and book a photographer/videographer

Check their online portfolios and make sure you meet them before making your final choice. It’s important they understand you, After all, they are responsible for capturing your memories of the day.  Look for someone whose portfolio matches the style of photo you want (traditional, contemporary, relaxed, reportage).

10 months to go

Decide on a theme.

Check out Pinterest and magazines for inspiration. Also speak to the event planners at your venue. Having seen many weddings they’re likely to be able to throw a few more good ideas into the pot.

Start looking for a wedding dress.

Online shopping is OK, but nothing beats the bespoke service of a good local boutique. If you are going bespoke then you’ll need to give them at least 6 months for completion time and alterations. Don’t forget to buy any shoes and accessories to co-ordinate you overall look.

Book your caterers and decide on your menu.

Speak to your caterers about menu choices and book a tasting to help you decide on your final menu. Think about your guests dietary requirements and any allergies and make sure they are communicated to the caters well in advance.

9 months to go

Decide whether you want a Town Crier/Master of Ceremonies or not.

Having a master of ceremonies or can add a bit of traditional charm to your wedding day and help keep the day on track and on time.

If you haven’t already done it, buy/order your wedding dress.

Don’t forget to order shoes, tiara, veil and other accessories to co-ordinate your overall look.

Order your wedding cake.

Or what about a cup cake tower, or French croquembouche?

Choose and book your florist.

From the bridal bouquet, to table decorations, button holes and dressing the ceremony and reception venue, fresh flowers help create a mood and compliment your theme.

Wedding flowers

Book your honeymoon.

This is the fun bit. Plan for the best holiday of your life. Find somewhere you can relax, but that also offers activities that both you and your new spouse can enjoy together. Remember, this holiday is going to provide some of your most precious memories for life.

Choose the bridesmaids dresses and hire or buy suits for the groom, best man and ushers

Remember, bridesmaids should never outshine the bride.

6 months to go

Book in the brides hairdressing and make-up session.

Speak to a few stylists and give yourself time to try a few styles to make sure you’re happy with the final look. For many brides this is just as important as the dress. Don’t forget to take your tiara, veil or other hair accessories with you.

Bridal hairstyle with flowers

Buy your wedding rings.

You will be wearing them for a lifetime, so make sure they are a good fit.

Choose the readings, poems, hymns etc.

Let the readers know your choices and make sure they are happy with them.

Agree the order of service and vows with your vicar or registrar and your partner.

A surprisingly important part of the day.

3 months to go

Set up your gift list.

Or be daring and don’t bother with one (but you might end up with three toasters!)

Have your dress fittings/alterations.

Make sure this is done leaving plenty of time for final adjustments.

Buy gifts for your bridal party.

It is definitely the thought that counts and will be something they can remember your big day by for many years to come.

Write the speeches.

Make sure they are appropriate for the audience. Adjust accordingly.

Make arrangements for your hen and stag parties

Enlist the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid.

1 month to go

Chase any outstanding RSVP’s and finalise seating plans

Confirm final numbers and details with the catering company and the reception venue.
It’s worth worth having a face-to-face meeting a week or two before the big day to finalise arrangements and iron out any questions you might have.

Pay all final balances.

Make sure all your suppliers are happy.

1 week to go

Hand over contact details of your suppliers to a designated person

You’ve got other things to worry about on your big day than chasing late suppliers, or dealing with problems that crop up. Appoint a trusted member of the wedding party with details of your suppliers and brief them on your plans for the day so they can help out with chasing where necessary.

Collect the wedding dress and grooms outfit.

Don’t forget to arrange the return of hired items after the wedding.

Start wearing in your wedding shoes

There’s nothing worse then a pair of uncomfortable shoes.

Have any hair or beauty treatments

Tanning treatments, facials, hair colouring and cutting, waxing – get all these done a few days in advance of your wedding.

Start packing for your honeymoon

Make sure well in advance that you have everything you need for your holiday of a lifetime. Now is a good time to also make sure you also have all the currency you need for your time away.

bride and groom

1 day to go

Relax and don’t panic

With your careful planning and choice of suppliers everything should be well in hand for your special day. It’s important that you spend today relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends.

Have your last minute beauty preparations

Book a relaxing massage and have a manicure done last thing in the afternoon to avoid chip and breaks before tomorrow.

Get an early night

Because tomorrow is your big day and most importantly it’s time for you to ENJOY YOUR WEDDING

Have we missed something important off the list? Get in touch to share your thoughts and suggestions for planning the perfect wedding.

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Riverside Wedding Venue Open Day

The Riverside Marquee invites all brides to be to join us on Sunday 27th September for our wedding venue open day.

From 11.00 am to 4.00 pm we’d be delighted to show you around the stunning grounds of our beautiful Bray location.  We’ll be on hand to talk to you about how we can make your special day one to remember.  And share with you a selection of refreshments.

Based just minutes from the small village of Bray, you’ll find us at

Weir Bank, Monkey Island Lane

Please RSVP to:

Wedding Open Day 27th Septeber 2015

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