Adding the *Wow* to Your Wedding
I’ve been thinking about my wedding reception. I want something ‘wow’ to happen. I’ve got a wow venue, I’m hopefully going to have a wow dress (will be looking for it in Easter) now I want something to make my wedding reception stand out from the others. But what to do?
My wedding venue have recommended a DJ to create a party atmosphere and set the tone for the evening. I wanted a wow DJ and our venue recommended this DJ because he provides a screen to display pictures (we are fond of photos), he has various lighting options and is very experienced. I’ll write more about that later when I’ve actually spoken to him at the wedding fayre on Sunday.
But as well as a DJ, I wanted something else. Something really special. At my friends wedding recently, she had a video booth stand where guests could go to record a video message of 30 seconds. At a wedding which serves alcohol I’m sure you can imagine that was an interesting activity. I remember using the video booth 4 times, but apparently I left many more messages than that! I thought it was a good way of personalising your wedding. It gives a unique element to your wedding.
A number of companies offer the opportunity to record progressively drunken messages for your friends and family. It’s a touching way to share your love and best wishes with your loved ones – you could even record a message for each other to watch later at home. A lasting memory of how much your friends enjoyed your wedding reception!
Here are some suppliers that you can use in the West Midlands:
- The Dream Screen offers their standard price of £325 with optional extras ranging from £5 - £30. This was the company my friend used for her wedding and I thought they were pretty good. It’s a bit unfair to recommend this company but this is the only one I’ve experienced. It had a simple touch screen, a quick count down so you knew when to start speaking and a count down so that you knew how long you had left. Most companies probably offer a similar thing but this one was good, in my opinion. However, it is a substantial chunk of a wedding budget!
- Video Booth Systems offers a kiosk for £349. There is no limit on the number of messages your guests can record and you will then own an exclusive DVD containing personal greetings left for you on your wedding day. Services include:
- Delivery & Setup prior to your guests arrival and collection up to midnight.
- Personalised on-screen welcome message
- Table cards informing your guests of the video kiosk location.
- Professionally edited DVD of all your guests video messages within 10 working days.
- VidMe offers a similar service for £375 (plus delivery/collection depending on your area). The freestanding booth will be delivered to your venue and set up in good time, including personalised screens for your occasion. This can feature your chosen colours and themes to tie in with your wedding. They will also supply table cards for your guests to encourage them to leave their message.
To add a twist to your wedding, what about caricatures? Some artists can draw a very accurate drawings very quickly so your guests won’t have to sit too long, and they could have a memento to take home from your wedding. Some suppliers from the West Midlands include:
- Spitting Image, a man called Graham Davies. His pictures look fairly good, his drawings of Tiger Woods and Gordon Ramsey are very accurate.
- Magical Memories say ‘Not only will our wedding caricaturists leave your guests with the most unique gift that they will ever get, your wedding day will leave a long and lasting impression for everyone.’ You will need to email them for a quote but they look pretty good. They say that, ‘When your guests are waiting for their photographs to be taken, or after the speeches when things need livening up - a caricaturist can add the ideal entertainment.’
After checking Book-A-Caricaturist.co.uk, I have found…
- Steve Callaghan who charges £215 in Warwickshire, and helooks pretty good. I can’t draw so I really think it’s amazing that they can quickly sketch subjects on the spot! Steve’s website says ‘Caricatures are excellent wedding entertainment, filling those wedding reception lulls and providing wedding mementoes to help make your wedding day unique.’
I’ve also seen casino nights that brides and grooms have offered to their guests by way of entertainment. They have held a casino night at my wedding venue, Madeley Court Hotel, where they held the dancing reception upstairs and the casino in the bar downstairs. It looked fairly fab! It would certainly add an element of ‘wow’ to your wedding and give your guests something to remember.
Here are some suppliers who offer casino weddings in the West Midlands:
- Andy Smith Presents: On Andy’s website he says, ‘All of my Casino tables are full size and are professionally built from the leading supplier in the UK. The cloths are made by John Huxley one of the leading supplier in the world. All the chips, cards and accessories have all been used in actual play in top Las Vegas Casino’s and hotels. Blackjack and Roulette are the most popular and requested casino tables at every Wedding Reception. All tables come with intimate lighting and set up professionally barrier roped together with floral features to create the look and atmosphere of an authentic Casino.’ A casino night from Andy Smith will cost you between £400-500 for three hours.
- Royal Casino Promotions is another company providing casino nights to weddings. Their website says, ‘We've got full size luxury casino tables, Vegas Backdrop, slot machines, large flame lights to enhance your surroundings, Vegas Girls, as well as various other add-ons.’ They suggest that you look at their packages but I didn’t spot a package link so you may have to email for prices.
- Spin 2 Win Ltd offer a similar service for £150 per table including a Croupier and 3 hours of play. Their website says, ‘Here at www.spin2winltd.com we offer all kinds of Fun Casino services including Black Jack, Texas Holdem Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Roulette and many more coming throughout 2011. And what's best is that we bring the casino to you! … We can manufacture customised "Fun money" to your own design and also suggest themes for your event (additional cost may apply). Take a look through the site and see how you we can add a touch of magic to your event.’
A Cultural Twist
Along the theme of gambling, my Chinese relatives would quite like a mah-jong table at our wedding. I went to a colleagues wedding in Hong Kong and she had mah-jong tables to the side, so I thought, “what a good idea! Lets copy it.” The venue has room for about 3 mah-jong tables, which would provide gaming for 12 people. That is interesting and unique, and also adds a bit of h2b’s culture to our very British wedding. (That’s me there playing mah-jong with my colleagues and friends.)
Without meaning to stereotype, how about a steel drum performance if your h2b is from Jamaica, or descended from people from Jamaica. Or how about an Indian dance performance if you or h2b is Indian. Many of your guests may not be from the same culture as you or your h2b, so a little insight into something typical from your culture would not only entertain but inform! However, saying that, I definitely would not have a maypole dance at my wedding!
Also popular at weddings and with kids are the oversized games, such as chess and jenga. Jenga is fun at the best of times, but oversized jenga is hilarious! Big Fun UK offer oversized Connect 4, Jenga, Snakes & Ladders, Twister, Noughts & Crosses, Chess, Draughts, Limbo and much more! The possibilities for silliness and for entertaining and kids you have at your wedding are endless! But check with your venue first as many venues offer oversized games as part of their wedding package. I need to check if mine does too!
However, I would discourage against any games that can be played with just one person, such as arcade games, as social games would be better for a wedding, like Jenga! Have I mentioned Jenga?
Whoosh and Pow
The ever popular fireworks! Fireworks would definitely add a bit of wow to your wedding. It might be an idea to only have fireworks if you’re having a late spring or summer wedding as your guests dressed up in their finery won’t want to stand out in the cold. The only thing I would say about fireworks is to be aware that the weather can ruin your firework display. Rain or strong wind will make the fireworks less impressive.
Firework providers in the West Midlands:
- Jubilee Fireworks cost between £650 and £1250, depending on which type of display you go for. Jubilee Fireworks are one of the leading display companies operating in this market, staging well over 100 shows a year. They say, ‘our vast repertoire of pyrotechnic effects is such that you can select from a wide spectrum of colours to complement the theme of your wedding, or even 'press the button' to fire the opening volley of fireworks in the display.’ They are based in Kingswinford, just outside Dudley.
- Shockwave Pyrotechnics are based in Redditch. Their website says, ‘Shockwave Pyrotechnics can create a unique show for you and your guests for your Wedding or Civil Partnership. Imagine a Professionally fired Display to round of your special day. We can create Fireworks Displays for all budgets from £600 to £10,000, for you and your guests to enjoy.’
- Sirotechnics cater to the whole of the UK with a variety of wedding packages. Their website says, ‘we are constantly thinking of new and exciting ways to wow the bride and groom, their family and friends on this very special occasion........the first large shell timed to coincide with the cutting of the cake, a musical firework display to accompany the first dance, or a multitude of bright silver fountains lining the walkway as the happy couple exit the church. The options available from Sirotechnics are virtually limitless as every wedding firework display we create is designed in consultation with you.’ Personally I wouldn’t like to have fireworks go off when I leave the church but I do believe it’s important to have what you want for your wedding, and if that’s what you want, this company will offer it! Prices for packages range from £600 to £2500.
This blog post could go on forever! And it almost has! Personally I think that getting h2b to propose to me in the first place would be ‘wow’ enough for those that know him! I would like to add something special to my wedding. Something in addition to mah-jong, which is adding a cultural element to the wedding. I will continue to hunt for ‘wow’ wedding things and post more later!