When it comes to weddings, sometimes bigger isn’t necessarily better — but being unique always is. “As we head into the 2022 wedding season, now more than ever, couples are looking to celebrate with their loved ones in more unique and engaging ways,” says wedding and event planner Jessica Dawn, owner of Fear No More Events. “Now that we can truly celebrate with our loved ones, we are finding that the traditional classical music during cocktail hour and a reception could be a thing of the past, and incorporating elements such as dueling pianos or live painters are in. Whether it’s an intimate elopement or a black-tie affair, guests are looking for a more interactive experience that keeps them engaged and entertained throughout the evening, and we are here for it.”
And no type of affair is off limits. “New ideas and experiences go at any type of wedding,” says wedding and event planner Meeka Hughes of Leave It To Meeka. “Black-tie weddings can be just as repetitive as non-formal events. Wedding guests and couples alike are ready to be entertained in a unique way, especially after Covid restrictions and lifting mask mandates.” And no need to think small. “Some of the unique experiences I have seen at weddings were circus acts complete with fire dancing and aerial antics, tea parties, a live artist painting portraits and even an on-site tattoo artist,” Hughes says.
Here are some top unique entertainment options that will enliven any cocktail hour or reception and leave your guests fully wowed.
John Rios Facetime Caricatures
Treat guests to personalized caricatures while noshing on hors d’oeuvres and sipping on specialty cocktails. Artist John Rios draws his caricatures on custom printed-paper featuring the wedding couple’s names and wedding date as the ultimate keepsake for guests. “Caricatures spark conversation and make not only great entertainment but an amazing personalized gift from the bride and groom,” he says. Better yet, with a photographer on hand, guests are photographed photo booth-style with their caricatures so that the bride and groom can see them post-wedding day. “The bride and groom are always so busy at the event they don’t really get to see the caricatures,” he says of the offering. And for larger events, he has two artists on hand to draw as many caricatures as needed. Starting at $125 per hour. facebook.com/johnriosfacetime
Tuesday Productions, LLC
To keep guests entertained during cocktail hour and the reception (especially while eating), Misha Tuesday can work his magic — quite literally. The well-known magician oftentimes performs strolling magic, a type of magic in which the magician or mentalist mingles among guests performing short sets of 2-15 minutes, during cocktail hour (or table-to-table during dinner). “I also perform a mystic mind reading and hypnosis show, and can offer Tarot and palm readings into the evening,” Tuesday says. “I also do a brief magic piece for wedding couples that leaves them with a personalized impossible object representing their union that they can keep in their home forever.” Prices range from $650 to $1,000. mishatuesday.com/wedding
If you want stilt walkers, aerialists or contortionists at your wedding reception, GoVana Productions is the vendor to call. This entertainment group offers a little bit of everything, including fire performers, break dancers, belly dancers, jugglers, and balloon twisters. GoVana takes great pride in their theatrical costuming, so expect the best and most colorful and vibrant attire and performances from their entertainers, who most often perform during cocktail hour or throughout a reception. Inquire for pricing. facebook.com/GoVanaProductions
Blue Crow Entertainment
Blue Crow Entertainment offers a little bit of everything for your wedding reception. Want a Cirque du Soleil-like performer during cocktail hour? They have it. Want a flame throwing performance during dessert? Book it with them. From circus acts to acrobatics to classic clowns on unicycles, you can choose from a variety of entertainment tailored to your wedding day. Staring from $150. bluecrowtalent.us
If you’re an animal lover or simply want some unique keepsake photos with a monkey on your back, Animal Magic is right up your alley. Owner Mark Rosenthal entertains guests with animals, such sloths, giant Eurasian eagle owls, and even a turtle and tortoise display. He oftentimes performs during the reception just for the kid guests to keep them occupied while parents are off dancing. Prices start at $450. iwantanimalmagic.com