2024 wedding trend: Offer your guests an experience which entertains them! Here are 7 of our favorites!
Brent and I are so excited to be getting married in 2024 at Ainsworth House & Gardens! We can’t wait!!!We’ve discussed how to get our guests involved in our wedding but we’re not sure what to do. Could you point out the types of experiential entertainments we might have at our wedding?
Thanks!–Kaitlyn the Confused in Canby, Oregon
I am happy to help you
First, let me define what I’m going to share with you two.
“Experiential” means what is happening involves or is based on someone’s experience. Experiential entertainment is an entertaining event based on the guest’s experience.
In decades past, the guests were expected to be silent observers with their hands quietly folded in their laps to guests.
As time marched on, this relaxed a bit. Family members were invited to participate in the wedding—whether it was a beloved uncle who donned his Star Trek officer’s uniform to officiate at his niece’s sci fi wedding or a friend who sang a solo during the ceremony or a sibling who read a Bible passage of special meaning to the couple.
In the past, guests selected from beef, fish, or chicken on their response cards; now, they can create their own tacos or loaded mashed potatoes during the reception.
The goal of great experiential entertainment is to surprise your guests with the unexpected.
Let’s look at a few ways couples are providing experiential entertainment to their guests.
1. Letting Your Guests Bless You:
a. If you’ve been to a Jewish wedding, you might have heard the Seven Blessings read over the couple. It is absolutely beautiful!
While in the past, it was the rabbi who read the Seven Blessings, more recently, it the important people in couple’s lives who each read a blessing over the couple.
b. At other weddings, the couple may pass their wedding bands around so that each guest who wishes to do so can bless the rings either silently or aloud.
These heartfelt words grace the ceremony with your guests’ best wishes.
2. Parade from the Ceremony to the Reception
If you love jazz, this one is for you! In New Orleans, there is the Second Line tradition: The wedding guests follow the couple from the ceremony to the reception, dancing to music played by jazz musicians, waving handkerchiefs, and Mardi Gras buck stepping. You can add this to any wedding even if you aren’t in NOLA!
(Don’t hire this guy: He looks a little stoned. :-))
3. Curate Your Cocktails!
a. Yes, you can have signature cocktails during your Cocktail Hour. You can go a step further: If you and your partner are passionate about wine, craft beers, or whiskey, why not offer curated tastings to your guests?
b. Hire a mixologist to create cocktails for your guests.
4. Culinary Art for Your Guests
It may have started with omelets but we’re not sure. Caterers now offer more options than ever before to allow your guests to create their own food during your reception. For me, it started with an omelet station at a friend’s wedding at which I could ask the chef to add ingredients from a buffet to create my own special omelet after a morning wedding.
Now this trend has spread to serving mashed potatoes in a martini glass and then letting the guests top their taters with yummy ingredients.
(See the mashed potatoes to the left.)
Another option is a pasta and sauce station, a taco station, or a build your own burrito station.
Desserts can get in on the experiential entertainment fun via a candy bar at which guests can combine the candies they love, a mobile gelato carts, flaming desserts served tableside, and donut walls.
Shakespeare said it best, “If music be the food of love, play on.” While a DJ or a wedding band are often perform, we are now seeing vocalists performing and live percussionists taking center stage.
At weddings in which there are dancers (e.g., hula dancers), the performers often involve the guests in a quick lesson or invite specific guests up on stage to perform with the professionals. Sometimes, this is hilarious!
6. The Art of a Great Wedding
The first time I noticed this trend was in the late 1970s when a friend’s mother drew a beautiful charcoal sketch of the redwood forest in which her friends had married.
The couple joyfully displayed the framed drawing on the walls of their home to commemorate their fabulous day.
More of our couples in 2024 are hiring an oil painter and/or a sketch artist for their wedding day.
The oil painters are tasked with painting scenes from the wedding and reception which become keepsakes for the bride and groom.
A sketch artist has a different task: Sketch the guests in their “Sunday best” and present them with a 5” x 7” sketch at the end of the reception.
That’s a wedding favor/keepsake they will treasure!
7. Picture This!
Let’s not forget the photo booth! As technology changes, a photo booth now can create short video gifs and other images which can be uploaded easily to social media.
If you have any questions, let us know! We’re here to help you have an amazing wedding!
Your friend in the wedding business,
Images courtesy of Pexels.com, Pixabay.com, and Unsplash.com.
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