Wedding entertainment doesn’t need to cost the earth – with a bit of organisation, you can have loads of fun at your reception on a tiny budget. There’s a lot of free stuff out there you can organise – you just need to give yourself time to get it sorted! Here are 10 freebies to get you started.

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1. Facepainting for the kids

Little ones just love having their faces painted and will queue up for ages to be transformed into a tiger or a mouse. Ask around your friends with kids and one is certain to be a dab hand at facepainting – and may have the kit to go with it. It’s a free and effective way to keep the kids happy for a long while and their parents will love you for giving them a bit of time out to gossip with their friends and have a bit of peace and quiet – even if they do have to wash off the face painter’s handiwork afterwards!

2. Get quizzical

In our experience people love quizzes, and there are plenty of opportunities to make use of them to entertain your guests on your wedding day. Announce a quiz as your guests are on the bus between the ceremony and the reception venue and whilst they are waiting for other guests to come on board. Quizzes are also a great icebreaker to have on the tables – have a quizmaster and a quiz sheet and pencil on every table. Questions might relate to the couple getting married, the year, the wedding itself (for example, who’s wearing the most spectacular hat) or a whole host of subjects. As a prize you could give an extra bottle of wine or sparkling stuff to the winning team, which you can take from your catering allowance. Just watch everybody’s competitive instincts soar!

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3. Go on a treasure hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to entertain kids whilst the photographs are being taken. Put a list of things on the kids table that they have to find or answer questions about (for example, how many tiers does the wedding cake have? What flowers are in the bride’s bouquet?). You could give sweets to the winning kids or premade party bags.

4. Put on a slideshow

Have a slideshow running in the background. Scan in images of your guests at different stages in their lives – you could have pictures of your grandparents on their wedding days, the bride and groom’s first day at school, the best man and the bridegroom on the football team – and have them running on a white wall during the reception. You should be able to rig up a laptop to do a slideshow and your venue should have the connecting cable and equipment to do a slideshow presentation.

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5. Have a dance-off

Ask your DJ to put together five or six tunes that people can dance to and then have five knockout rounds, leaving five pairs in the competition, then four, then three and two until you have the winning couple. It won’t cost you anything and it will provide a lot of entertainment for all the spectators – and the winners may surprise you! To choose the winners, have a judging panel made up of oldies and people who can’t (or won’t!) dance, and let them put up their marks on a piece of paper Strictly-style.

6. Give the guests a puzzle

Have a crossword puzzle on each table for the guests to complete. They can pass it around to one another, which makes a great ice breaker, and then hand in their offering to see who is the winner.

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7. Heads and tails

Play heads and tails with a pound coin – bear with us, this is more fun than it sounds! First appoint a caller who holds the pound coin. Everyone stands up and the caller says “Hands up if you think it’s a head.” Everyone who guesses right sits down. Continue the process until just one person is left – and they have to do a forfeit – maybe sing a song or dance with the bride. It’s more fun if you announce what the forfeit will be before the game starts! This is a great one to play directly after the speeches when there is often a bit of a lull.

8. Have a lucky dip

Instead of having wedding favours, why not have a lucky dip box? You could have separate ones for the kids and the adults. Instead of just being presented with a favour at their place setting, it adds an air of excitement and anticipation – let your favours entertain your wedding guests.

9. Break out the karaoke

How about having a karaoke session? One of your friends is certain to have some karaoke equipment you can borrow for the evening and you can wire it up to the sound system the DJ or band are using.

10. Call in a musical favour

Ask your musical friends to provide some music. If you have friends who are professional musicians or gifted amateurs, why not ask them to play as your guests enter the reception venue or as the photographs are being taken? They could offer their services in lieu of a wedding gift!

Looking for more clever ways to save on your wedding day budget? Check out the Budget Wedding section of our website for loads more tips and tricks!

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