It seems that we’re getting more and more adventurous with our wedding entertainment – with more and more exciting options available, you might be dreaming of jugglers, fire eaters and trapeze artists lining up to entertain your guests while fireworks light up the sky.
BUT, before you start booking, it’s definitely worth running anything by your wedding venue first – due to strict health and safety restrictions, a lot of venues these days have rules on what’s okay and what’s a no-go. We’re not saying that all venues will put a stop to these entertainment ideas, but consider this a warning that it’s always worth checking!
Sandy Moretta of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners knows what she’s talking about when it comes to entertainment disliked by wedding venues.
“Bouncy castles and other inflatables which are not properly manned can be dangerous and an insurance risk, albeit fine if handled well,” she says. “Also, anything which involves a huge mess on their floors or carpets, such as plate smashing, party poppers, table confetti and all things sticky!”
Sky Diving and Helicopters
We all loved it at the Olympics when ‘Her Majesty’ parachuted into the Opening Ceremony, and a lot of brides these days dream of the A-list treatment and would love to arrive at their venue in their very own helicopter. Not only do activities like sky-diving create even more amazing memories on your big day, but they also double up as entertainment as your guests watch with baited breath.
Your venue might have other ideas when it comes to sky-high activities, though. Many rented helicopters are banned from flying directly over car parks or building as they approach landing sites, which might make your journey more complicated – plus, any venue that hasn’t already been cleared for helicopters previously will have to be checked out by the company and approved.
Similarly, if you’re considering sky-diving, you’ll need to clear it with the Civil Aviation Authority – this goes for anything dropping from the sky or being sent skyward (like a huge helium balloon release). All of this means more paperwork for your venue, so definitely let them know as soon as possible if you’re thinking of either of these.
Sky lanterns – if you’re not already familiar with them – are large paper lanterns into which you put a lighted taper. This illuminates the lantern and the heat makes it soar up and away into the sky. Fine if you’re on a beach at night in Thailand – not so much if you’re at a venue in a residential area, with locals waiting to complain about fire hazards. Farmers aren’t too keen either, particularly in dry weather as the lanterns can easily ignite parched fields and woods and scare cattle.
The lanterns look incredible in photographs, and will definitely entertain your guests, but we’d advise that you think carefully before buying them.
There are a couple of reasons why your venue may be unwilling to let you have fireworks if you request them, but the main one is – you guessed it – health and safety issues.
Whilst we think a carefully thought out firework display can bring a party to a fabulous close, a disorganised display can be dangerous and bring drama for all the wrong reasons. In addition, if you’re marrying at a hotel where other non-wedding guests are in residence, your venue may not like them being disturbed late at night.
We’d say that if you’re really set on having a firework display, check that your venue will allow it. See if they’ll set it up for you and failing that, go to a firework display professional. The Professional Firework Display Company’s prices start at £595.
A petting zoo for young children
So you’d like some fluffy bunnies for the little ones to cuddle at the reception? Maybe some guinea pigs? Pony rides on cute Shetland ponies? Well hold your horses!
If your reception venue has a pristine lawn then they aren’t going to like the prospect of it being spoiled by hooves or chomped on by rabbits. Even if you’d love a petting zoo, your venue may want to put the brakes on it. It’s extra work for them and they’ll have to set up hygienic hand-washing or hand gel stations for children and anybody touching the animals to use afterwards.
Again, best to call in the professionals here. There are plenty of mobile petting zoos around – just make sure yours is registered and the animals are properly cared for. We like Meet The Animals and Animal Experience.
An all-night rave
Everyone loves a good party, and there’s nothing like cutting a rug with all your friends and family at the wedding reception – especially if the drinks keep flowing!
Keep in mind, though, that many venues have limitations on noise – even if it’s not their choice. Some venues, particularly those in residential areas, are required to have a noise limiter in place in order to keep their entertainment license. This means that if your band or DJ gets too loud and exceeds a certain level, the power to that area will automatically be cut – which, we’re sure you’ll agree, may put a dampener on the party!
Hopefully, if you’ve chosen a venue that’s exclusively yours and far away from any residential areas, you may not face this problem – just think about live music and your venue before you make any firm decisions.
We’d say it’s all about communication. Have your wild and wacky ideas by all means, but choose your venue carefully and run anything past those in charge before you make any firm decisions! For more advice on finding the venue of your dreams, take a look at the Wedding Venue section of the website!