Article: Entertainment Types

Popular Types of Live Entertainment for Weddings and Party Events

types of entertainment

Entertainment for special events can be broadly categorised into three different types, namely ambient background, interactive and the main entertainment which normally constitutes a big spectacle, show, dj or live band to close the evening.

Whether it be an informative corporate presentation, wedding, relaxed function or a highly charged social celebration, the nature of an event and the degree of formality involved will be determining factors when considering the type of entertainment to hire to complement the occasion and help to make it memorable and successful.

The most popular types of live bands and entertainers are described below to help you decide what entertainment may be most appropriate for your special party.

Ambient Background Entertainment

If a function requires an air of sophistication or is to be held in a relaxed setting ambient background music from a cocktail pianist or string quartet could positively set the desired tone. Light jazz from a trio, classical music or a low key acoustic performance from a singer or duo is also a great way to present an atmosphere of elegance without the entertainment being distracting to guests or imposing on the occasion especially at the times during an event when guests are being received, meals are being served or as a stylish accompaniment to a cocktail reception.

Interactive and Circulating Entertainment

Often guests not acquainted with each other will be expected to mingle together, prior to an event, in a bar, reception foyer or will be seated together on communal tables while eating having never met their fellow diners. Situations such as these can be enhanced by the hiring of an interactive or circulating entertainer who mixes with guests and creates a talking point that immediately puts everyone at ease for the duration of the event.

The scale of interactive entertainment can range from a one-to-one personal style utilised by close-up magicians who inject an element of comedy and thought provoking illusion amongst the gathering right up to full scale shows that give a major focus to the room with scenarios featuring surprise singing waiters, police officers and firemen.

Another invaluable addition to the formalities would be a professional toastmaster. Toastmasters can take significant pressure away from the event host with their honed organisational skills and provide a point of contact for both guests and other entertainers. With the toastmaster acting as a liaison and taking care of the important announcements and other duties associated with the event, the party host can relax and enjoy the company of friends, colleagues or family while only having to relay requests to one central figure if the need arises.

Specialist Function Bands

Function Bands are an excellent choice to hire for the main entertainment at wedding receptions, special occasions and formal events and can also be the perfect spectacle to attract custom to a hotel, casino, pub or club venue.

Live music at functions is almost an expected formality these days and the right group can really lift a party and create the perfect atmosphere to ensure you and your guests have a night to remember. Often experienced in playing to audiences of diverse age groups and musical tastes, these bands usually have a repertoire of popular songs that cover most genres and musical eras with a mixture of party tunes and ballads to suit various moods.

Specialist wedding and party bands also add a distinctive personal touch to the proceedings. A charismatic lead singer or front person will have the skill to communicate with the audience and be able to make announcements, provide special dedications or assist in taking song requests from guests during the performance. With notice, most function bands today will learn a particular song as a first dance for the bride and groom or other dignitary too.

Many also offer the option of recorded music (some even provide a full disco and dj service) played through their PA system before, during breaks and after the live performance. Without the worry of keeping your friends and family occupied, this leaves you to dance and enjoy the occasion while the rest is taken care of by the professionals.

Tribute Bands and Artiste Impersonators

Tribute Bands and Solo Artiste Impersonators are popular as live entertainment at many events including nostalgia theme nights, birthday parties, corporate functions and, over the last few years, at weekend outdoor festivals.

What brings most musicians together to form a tribute act is a collective love of one popular artiste, era or band's music and the most professional and experienced will have studied the musical and physical presentation of the original in great detail. Compared to covers bands who tend to perform a varied repertoire of songs, tribute acts specialise and this has the benefit of adding a social element for guests as they can dress up for the coordinated theme and dance along to the live performer providing the appropriate soundtrack to complement the occasion.

Of course, hiring a tribute is not limited to theme events. These acts are also excellent for pubs, sports and cabaret clubs and, where a bride and groom have a shared admiration for one particular band in common or have precious memories recalled by the music of one artiste, can add the finishing touch to a wedding ceremony or reception.

Solo Vocalists, Live Music Duos and Speciality Entertainers

Where venue size, budget or volume restrictions have to be considered there are some great alternatives to a full live band. Instrumental and Vocal Harmony Duos and Solo Vocalists using quality backing tracks can emulate the sound of a large band in the form of a compact set up and often at a fraction of the price. Many self contained duos and singers are very adaptable and offer packages that fulfil the entertainment needs of every stage of an event.

For example, during a wedding day a versatile vocalist or live music duo may be mobile enough to perform at the breakfast, subtlely move on to performing a couple of romantic songs during the ceremony and be set up and ready to perform for the reception by the time guests and the newlyweds are arriving for the evening celebration. The element of familiarity this introduces can have a positive effect and minimises organisational duties for the host.

It is also common, particularly at corporate functions, to engage the audience with a variety of different types of entertainment. This has the benefit of holding the attention of a crowd and can also give a welcome break from dancing or calm the dynamic of the room prior to a presentation requiring the full concentration of those present. Acts suitable for providing this variety include stand-up comedians, comedy magicians or solo cabaret entertainers.

Mobile Disco and Karaoke

Mobile Disco Services and Wedding DJ's have become sought-after for providing musical entertainment at a range of events in the last few years. This is in part due to the fact that, like solo acts and duos, disc jockeys offer excellent value for money and often occupy less space in the venue. However, aside from size and budget constraints, there are also a few notable advantages these entertainers have over a full live band set up.

The most significant is the sheer depth of material available at the fingertips of an experienced DJ. A live band may only be able to play a limited number of requests made impulsively by guests on the night depending on their repertoire whereas professional discos offer hundreds or thousands of song choices queued for instant playback.

DJ's adept at making clear announcements, adding a personal touch with special dedications and adhering to the client's playlist requirements are the one's to seek out. The best DJ's will have an extensive catalogue, a range of brilliant FX lighting and the versatility to ensure all guests are catered for and the dance floor remains inviting.

Many mobile disco providers also incorporate karaoke into the mix for a designated time over the course of the night and this often proves popular towards the end of an event when the spirits of guests are at their most uninhibited!

Share Your Knowledge and Experience

This article describes some of the main types of entertainment traditionally hired for weddings and special events. If you have any other tips, experiences or recommendations feel free to share them using the comment form below.