Event Planning: Insights on Cocktail and Reception Entertainment

Enchant you guests upon their arrival to your Reception Cocktail hour with entertainment that they will never forget. Live musicians often set the mood in the background, whether it’s a saxophone, mandolin player, a classical trio, or a guitarist and Event Planners love them because they are self-contained and often don’t need amplification from the DJ. They can also play some of your favorite songs, as their instrumentals will be the theme music for your cocktail hour.

Many clients elect to have a photo booth for their guests to be creative and take away tangible memories. Photo and video both that upload directly to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great ways to engage your guests through the evening, while having a nice record of the festivities on social media afterwards.

You want to make your guests experience an evening that doesn’t their social time with their friends and family, yet entertains them when they want to sit back and relax. So considering your entertainment program, not just fun distractions like the Photo booth are key. Your guests will always love to be entertained with non-intrusive yet engaging entertainment.

As the evening continues it’s important to remember to continue the thread of entertainment once you have Wowed your guests into your beautifully decorated reception room. Your guests have been asked to move from locale to another, so they can experience a new environment that will fill them with new forms of entertainment. So remember to engage your guests with a reception program that is right for the evening – and not to overextend the program as to exhaust your guests.

It’s always a great idea to break-up the speeches through performances, video presentations, unique personal stories, and live entertainment. If you have a guest or family member that is schedule to speak and is known to be verbose (or worse, boring) be sure to limit their speech from the get-go to two minutes. They will still go over, but it won’t turn into a 20 minute opus. That’s 20 minutes your guests have to sit and patiently wait for it to pass…

It’s also great to have your host or your DJ continually engage the audience so that they become involved and invested. There is a fine balance between bothering guests, and enticing them to participate and keeping things lively – and the best DJ’s / hosts carry a great personality that can sustain 2-3 hours before dancing can start.

Lastly, it’s best to let ALL of those who might be speaking to keep their speeches, short, sweet, funny and entertaining so that guests don’t lose interest. An ideal reception program is just under an hour so that guests can still continue to enjoy the food, music and friends and family. If it definitely going to go well over two hours, you may want to have a contingency plan to start dinner and continue the program after. (this is far from ideal)

Your Event Planner will be critical in helping you schedule your event so that it runs smoothly, with proper breaks between speeches and performances, and a contingency plan if things are running late. Please speak with her early on about your Cocktail and Reception entertainment so that she may plan a successful program for you!