When it comes to wedding entertainment, we're calling 2012 "The Year of Surprises." This year's brides and grooms don't want to just entertain their guests, or have a beautiful wedding, they want to create something new and unique. Here are ten ways that couples are doing that.
1. Playing DJ It used to be that the bride and groom chose their first dance and a few other numbers and left the rest up to the band or DJ. Today though, couples are creating extensive DO NOT PLAY and MUST PLAY lists and in some cases, putting together their own set lists for the band or DJ. While we applaud anyone who cares about music, we should caution that to get the most out of professionals, you have to let them do their job. You wouldn't stand over a chef and tell him what spices to use, so make sure to leave your DJ or band leader some wiggle room to get the party jumping.
2. REALLY Playing DJ Always wanted to play DJ? Now is your chance. Brides and grooms are both taking a turn with the two turntables and a microphone and learning how to spin a few numbers for their reception. The image is especially fabulous if the bride is wearing a traditional wedding dress. If you like this idea, talk to your DJ about it and see if he or she can give you some lessons first.
3. Living Guest Books Guest books are static and a little boring. New ideas in creating a guest book: hire a caricature artist to create caricatures of your guests, a silhouette artist to create silhouettes, or use a photo booth with props and let guests create their own entries. Or, provide a backdrop like you see at Red Carpet premiers and have someone take photos as people come in, using an onsite printer, the photos can be printed, pasted into the book and signed before the reception is over.
4. The After Party When Pippa Middleton hung a disco ball in Buckingham Palace she was solidifying a trend that's been building. The post-wedding reception party is a chance for you and your nearest and dearest to really cut loose and have a great time, without all the propriety of a wedding reception. This is a great idea for couples with a lot of out of town guests, or those who are letting Mom and Dad control most of the wedding arrangements. But, keep in mind that an after party requires more alcohol, more food, and more entertainment, all of which means more money. If you're on a budget, why not have one fantastic party that everyone can enjoy instead of two s0-so ones?
5. Thinking Beyond the Wedding Band Almost any band from the Rolling Stones on down is available to play a wedding, for the right price. Couples that can't afford the WOW factor the Stones would provide are looking to bands that play both clubs AND weddings to create a hipper, more modern wedding vibe. Don't forget, since your band leader acts as the unofficial leader of the reception, having wedding experience is important.
6. Losing the Set Break Musicians and DJs still need a break, but couples are making the most of this former down time to showcase other show-stopping entertainment from stilt walkers to belly dancers.
7. Adding a Multicultural Flare It used to be that when couples from two different cultures got married one culture took prominence in the wedding plans. Today though, couples are looking to incorporate traditions from all sides of the family resulting in weddings with mariachi bands AND bagpipers or requests for bands that can play Klezmer music as well as songs with an island beat.
8. Glamming it Up No, you don't have to have an all David Bowie play list, but this year's weddings definitely have a glitzy glam feel to them. Ask your band or DJ to put a little extra sparkle in to their outfits.
9. Smaller Is Better From bridal bouquets to guest lists, the trend this year is for smaller. Smaller guest lists save money and allow you to concentrate on the people and things you really want at your wedding, like great entertainment.
10. Being Yourself As weddings have become more individualized some of the traditional elements from wedding cakes to bouquet throws have become less and less "must do." There will always be people who like the garter toss, or the money dance, but this year more and more brides and grooms are picking and choosing the traditions that speak to them. If you don't like the garter toss, don't do it! Spend that time on an extra dance spotlighting your stepparents. Hate toasts? Don't allow them, keep your DJ in charge of the mic.