Welcome to our latest installment of "Ask the Experts," where our contributor team of wedding planners solves readers' most pressing wedding-planning dilemmas! This week, Tonia Adleta from Aribella Events and David Merrell from AOO Events give us the scoop on the hottest new ways to entertain wedding guests. Do you have a question that you'd like to submit? Email email@example.com and we'll do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.
Q. "What are some fun ways that I can entertain my guests besides using a photo booth? They just seem so overdone now." —BG reader Martha
"Hi, Martha. You’ve got a fair point — photo booths have become almost commonplace at weddings these days. However, I wouldn't be too surprised if they became a mainstay of reception entertainment rather than fading away.
If you love the experience that photo booths create for your guests, you might want to consider some new bells and whistles. For example, open-air booths are designed to capture the rest of the party as the backdrop, and they keep everyone in the same room. Another unique twist is a slow-mo photo/video booth; add confetti poppers or bubbles to make the most of the technology (you'll thank me later!).
Gif Credit: Slow Motion Photo Booth
Looking for something even juicier to add to your wedding? Just follow your taste buds! Interactive food stations are constantly evolving and they create a great experience for your guests. It used to be that a make-your-own-sundae station was about as adventurous as you could get with your wedding food. Though I would never turn down a hot fudge sundae, there are lots of exciting new options for stations. Two of my personal favorites: The Oyster Girls, a traveling oyster bar, and Pulp Pours, a made-to-order specialty smoothie and cocktail bar. And if you want to keep things local, ask your chef for suggestions.
Lastly, consider some of your personal interests and how you might incorporate them into your wedding weekend. At Aribella Events, we've entertained guests with cigar stations, fire pits, s'mores kits, amusement park-style basketball and skee ball games, mobile spa services by Pamper Perfect Mobile Spa and more.
And we haven't even touched on live entertainment yet! Hire an artist to draw caricatures of your guests or capture the scene. Or get the party started with a DJ and drum duo or dancers who can teach everyone a few fancy steps. No matter which option you choose, you will create special moments for your big day."
"I don't think photo booths will ever go away completely because they offer a distinct takeaway. However, there are some new concepts that are modernizing the traditional photo booth, including flip-book booths, 360-degree video booths, and even some higher-end options that look like a model shoot set with an entire crew. My personal favorite is The Bosco because their booths take both still pictures and animated video.
If you're looking for something completely different, add excitement and drama to your event with exhibition food displays. They are a great way to engage guests because they provide an immersive food experience, even if it's just for the cocktail hour or dessert portion of the evening. What about nitrogen ice cream or a moving chartered dessert table? Collaborate with your wedding planner, on-site coordinator or chef to come up with some appealing ideas."
Tonia Adleta, owner and creative director of the award-winning Aribella Events, has cultivated her passion for hospitality and design with over two decades of experience in the industry. Working with busy couples who have a desire to create a unique wedding experience for their guests, Tonia and her team make magic happen on a daily basis. Based in the Philadelphia area and serving clients the world over, Tonia paints the vista of special events with a fine detail brush, balancing intuition and knowledge, logistics and beauty.
Photo Credit: Sy Photography
David E. Merrell is the founder of AOO Events and an award-winning industry events expert. He cuts a wide and diverse swath of accolades outside of what’s considered an event planner’s “wheelhouse.” His citations of excellence include décor, wedding, entertainment, lighting design, and much more. From A – Z (well, “W”), clients have included Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to Wolfgang Puck.