Planning a wedding can be both the most joyous and overwhelming time in our lives. Yes, many of us have planned this day since we were back watching The Little Mermaid on VHS, but when it comes down to the actual nitty gritty of deciding what we want, making decisions can be stressful. Booking entertainment for a wedding can be even more stressful! Afterall, our entertainment choices will be one of the most powerful ingredients that determine the energy and vibe of the whole day. 

With this in mind, below we've put together the 7 Secrets To Planning an Unforgettable Day of Wedding Entertainment. 

1. Set the tone

We meant what we said when we mentioned earlier that your entertainment choices will be one of the most powerful ingredients that determine the energy and vibe of the whole event, so before you decide on any entertainment for your big day, lets try this...

Close your eyes. Imagine your most perfect wedding day playing out right in front of you. What does it feel like? Are people laughing, drinking, celebrating? Or crying, touched, enthralled by the beauty of it? A mix of all of that? Is it a classy, sophisticated affair? Or perhaps a more light hearted, good old knees up? 

And what about you and your partner? What are YOU like as people? Are you big party animals? Do you prefer a more intimate setting? 

Having performed at and helped organise thousands of weddings, we find that the weddings that everyone seems to rave about, are the ones that have the personalities of the couple injected into every single part of the day. So, write down a few key words about what it is you envision, and what elements of your personalities you'd like to bring into your entertainment. Once you have this clear, it will be a lot easier to narrow down what style of entertainment you should be considering.    

2. Figure out where to spend your budget

Once you've figured out step 1, think about what part of the day is the most important for live entertainment. The answer might well be, ALL OF IT, and we don't blame you - we've worked with many couples who spent a good part of their budget arranging live entertainment for every part of their day, and its always an unforgettable experience for everyone.

However many people have a set budget, and if thats you, think about where to put it. For example, if in step 1, you've discovered that you and your other half are die hard party animals, and giving your friends the night of their lives is your biggest wish, you will want to be saving the majority of your budget for the evening reception, rather than spending too much on live music over dinner. (Sounds crazy but you wouldn't believe how many times we've seen people book a large band to play too early and wasted half the budget when people are really just eating and drinking). Similarily, if for you, its all about creating the most unforgettable, beautiful ceremony, then investing money into a string quartet or a vocalist might be more appropriate. 

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3. Find the right entertainment acts

This could be an article in itself! Here's a few tips:

- Always book an act with a video so you can see and hear what they will be doing. If possible, you want to book an act with a LIVE video. You'd be surprised how many videos are mimed because its easier to record a video that way. If you're unsure, ask the act if the audio is live.

- Check out the acts marketing. Chances are if they've put the effort into their marketing, website, and video, they'll be putting the effort into making your wedding a screaming success. If their marketing is a basic Facebook page, or a one page website without much information, they probably aren't a professional level and won't have the level of experience that you need them to have. 

- Ask your friends for recommendations - we all know someone who's gotten married recently. What were their band like? Who was that amazing magician they hired? Word of mouth is such a powerful way to find quality entertainment acts.

- Its not always possible to see bands or singers live before you book. The reason for this is that they are always performing at other weddings and its not appropriate to invite you along. Its always worth an ask, as they may organise public showcases, but most professional bands don't have opportunities to see them live. However give them a call and have a good chat about what you want - you'll get a good feel for them once you've had a conversation about what they do.

- Always make sure the act gives you a contract so that all expectations are laid out in writing and you are assured that your entertainment will show up on the day.

4. Don't schedule your 'main event' too early

When you're booking a band for your evening reception, one of the biggest mistakes we've seen people make is to schedule the band to start too early. 

The truth of it is, once you've finished your meal & speeches and the evening reception starts, you will be pretty exhausted. To go straight into a first dance and a full dance-floor is just too much. We find that couples tend to, whether they've scheduled it or not, need to take a little breather. The guests do too. The best advice we can give is to schedule a good 30-45mins at the start of the evening reception just to warm up. That might mean having a DJ get things started, or your band putting on a playlist, and it gives people the chance to have a few drinks, chat to people they haven't spoken to yet, and get ready for the full on evening of dancing thats coming up!

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5. Organise your timings well

6. Find a balance between your tastes and what your guests will enjoy

One of the most heart breaking moments we've seen all too many times, is when a couple has spent thousands on a rockin' band for their evening reception, the dance floor is full, everyone is having the time of their lives, until... the buffet comes out mid way through the set. Cue empty dance-floor. It doesn't matter how great your band is - if there's a big table full of food set out, people will be sat eating it and your band's live set will be wasted. Its amazing how very often venues don't think about this, so its worth making sure its discussed beforehand.

Same goes for things like fireworks and other attractions. Organise them around your band's breaks so everything can run like clockwork!

Here's the thing - its your big day and when it comes to things like music tastes, or tastes of anything for that matter, its completely up to you what you choose. However, in our experience, balance is key. Yes, you may love heavy metal, but if you hire a band to pay Metallica all evening, will it ensure the best night for all? (Hey, it might - you know your family and friends, and we don't - it may do. But its important to ask the question).

If you're booking a professional entertainment act, they will be able to recommend tried and tested music choices that they know go down well with most crowds. In the interests of everyone having a great time, work some of these in. However, its also important that you inject your personalities into the whole wedding, so find a band or act that can personalise their act to you. Balance is key! A good professional act will be able to help you with that balance. 

7. Enjoy yourselves!

We said it before and we said it again - getting married can be overwhelming. The whole day can go by in a flash and before you know it, its over. So, our advice is to enjoy every single second. Take a moment to stop at each part of the day, and say to yourself, 'wow, I'm at my wedding ceremony', 'oh my goodness, our drinks reception area looks so cute', 'Wow this chicken is delicious'. When it comes to the evening - DANCE! Its so easy to get caught up trying to talk to everyone so make sure you take a second to drag yourself onto that dance floor and enjoy it! Once your band or DJ starts to play, its time to let it all go and dance the night away. 

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