From kooky entertainment to tasty treats, sprinkle your big day with the unexpected to keep your wedding guests guessing… And make it an event to remember, says Emily Berryman…

Throw a tea party

Afternoon tea canapés paired with Earl Grey martinis are great fun for an alternative reception menu,” says Nikki Paul at “Delight guests with indulgent tea stands laden with retro finger sandwiches, vegetable-filled choux puffs and sumptuous scotch eggs. Follow with miniature scones, yummy éclairs and intricately decorated artisan cupcakes. Delicious!”

Enjoy a DIY pud

“We invited our guests to make their own knickerbocker glory for pudding,” says newlywed Marina Griffiths. “It was amazingly pocket-friendly to do, we simply filled a long table with tubs of ice cream, wafers, pretty sundae dishes and countless toppings. Everyone – from my tiny nieces to my 90-year- old granny – loved getting creative!”

Embrace your heritage

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“I am Scottish and my husband is Spanish so we hired a bagpipe player and flamenco dancer to entertain guests during our drinks reception,” says real bride Martine Campos. “Picking out different elements of our backgrounds was a great way to blend two cultures – and after a few drinks who knew my mum could be so handy with a fan?!”

Introduce some X Factor

“If you’ve been unsuccessful tweeting Gary Barlow into singing at your nuptials, panic not, because hiring a celebrity entertainer doesn’t always need an A-list budget!” says wedding planner Liz Taylor a TLC Events. “Thankfully, there’s a wealth of X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent favourites available to perform at weddings, and it’s a great way to add the wow factor to your celebrations.”

Get a takeaway

“Trade the traditional evening buffet for cute food trucks and tricycles,” suggests wedding co-ordinator Holly Poulter at “Whether you love candyfloss, fish and chips, ice cream or gourmet waffles, providing something surprising to nibble on will be a welcome sight after dancing the night away, and it’s extremely Instagrammable!”

Choose a fancy fizz

“Add a personal touch to your toast by serving your own custom Champagne,” says wine buff Tony Stones. “At you can select your Champagne and design your own handmade labels to include anything from a childhood photo to a meaningful line of poetry. Save a bottle back for a lasting memory of your special day.”

Sweat the small stuff

“Use little, inexpensive details to make a big impact,” says real bride Victoria Lacey. “We left hat boxes full of flip flops on the dancefloor for guests’ partied-out feet, tied personal messages onto our favours and set up a kids’ craft table packed with pound shop goodies like crayons and colouring books. None of it cost much but all of it was greatly appreciated.”

Shake up bespoke cocktails

“Wildflower cocktails can be both delicious and beautiful. Consider using botanicals that match your colour scheme or even including edible flowers in your bouquet,” says Nikki Paul. “Our mixologists recommend pairing vodka with vibrant lemon verbena, delicately perfumed elderflowers with gin, or distinctive hibiscus flowers with Champagne for a striking blush colouring.”

Hire warbling waiters

“My husband surprised me – and our guests – by booking professional singers disguised as waiters who burst into song while they were serving our wedding breakfast,” says newlywed Sophie Martin. “I was so surprised I almost fainted into my cheese cake!”

Light up the sky

“Fireworks are the ultimate surprise,” says Holly Poulter from Pretty Please Events. “At the end of the night, invite your guests outside for your big send-off, and surprise them with a dramatic light and firework show. You’ll be sure to get some excited gasps!”

Get snap happy

“We pooled the last of our budget into hiring a photo booth,” says newlywed Laura Gordon. “Cramming a treasure chest with dressing up props, we asked everyone to add their snaps to a ‘hall of fame’ pin board outside the booth and the results were hysterical!”

Sign up a star

“As massive film buffs, we hired a couple of film icon lookalikes to circulate during our evening bash,” says real bride Caroline Duffy. “Nothing beats the double takes we got when friends and family clocked James Dean chatting to Marilyn Monroe in the corner – the photos were priceless!”

If you’re a fan of surprises, then you’ll love this story about the whole wedding being a total surprise for the guests! But for surprises that are slightly less extreme try these alternative options – we’ve got ideas for cakes, food and your honeymoon plans!