24 Wedding Reception Entertainment Ideas That Have Nothing to Do with a Band or DJ

Discover awesome ideas for a wedding to entertain guests with servers, dancers, and more!

A wide range of performers are available for wedding events, and hiring them can take your wedding from exciting and beautiful to memorable and extraordinary.

Photo: Kent Drake Photography

When it comes to planning your wedding reception entertainment and selecting wedding entertainment ideas for your event, most brides and grooms simply decide between hiring a wedding band or a wedding DJ; however, additional forms of wedding entertainment that have absolutely nothing to do with musical instruments or singing can actually help your celebration last well into the early morning hours and keep your guests and loved ones engaged in the revelry for hours.

A wide range of performers are available for wedding events, and hiring them can take your wedding from exciting and beautiful to memorable and extraordinary. Think outside the box to really wow your guests and make your wedding ceremony, reception, or after-party one that they'll never ever forget.

How do you entertain wedding guests?

Wedding guests can even be entertained in fun ways throughout the event! If you'd rather keep your big day filled with more traditional elements, consider the below ideas for a welcome party or rehearsal dinner. However, if you want your friends and family to take part in unique entertainment throughout the celebration itself, we're sharing plenty of ways to do that! You can even start during the ceremony – for example, The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker even hired African dancers to perform during their "Coming to America" themed wedding ceremony.

Cocktail hour can be made even more fun by hiring servers to offer champagne from crinoline-style skirts or having cocktail napkins available from women wearing dresses made of beverage napkins. Give your guests the experience of a lifetime by having Champagne poured by aerialists over the dance floor, or partake in a dance routine after the first dance. Mix up the traditional reception dances with cabaret shows, Brazilian samba dancers, contortionists, acrobatic performers, and so much more for unique activities.

Some couples may even want to find alternatives to dancing at a wedding completely – and all of these wedding entertainment ideas can help fill the time if you don't want friends and family hitting the dance floor at your celebration. Instead, providing casino games, wedding-inspired games, as well as college favorites like beer pong, corn hole, and the traditional Limbo dance (which Eva Longoria enjoyed at Mario Lopez's wedding), will provide further amusement and delight attendees throughout the big day. To surprise your loved ones, end the day with a fireworks display that rivals their favorite show on the Fourth of July!

How can I make my wedding reception fun?

Take a look at the inspiring wedding entertainment below, and click on the link below each photo to learn more about the respective real wedding!

Aerialist Performers

One way to really wow your guests is to hire an aerialist – or multiple aerialists – to perform during the cocktail hour or reception. If you'd rather not have them perform a full in-the-air dance routine, you can have them casually floating above loved ones to give your guest a wow-factor experience. We've also seen couples have these performers pour Champagne throughout the day!

aerialist over wedding bar ribbon dancer performer at wedding

Photo by Liz Banfield; From Real Wedding: Sophisticated & Playful Southern Jewish Wedding in Charleston

Unique Drink Servers

Instead of having servers pass drinks on trays throughout the reception, unique wedding ideas include having cycling servers on old-fashioned bicycles or tricycles decorated with roses and cocktail glasses. There are many ideas for wedding drinks to be served in a unique fashion on the dance floor, and this is certainly one that will be different for your guests!

Dancers at the Ceremony

As we mentioned above, Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta had African dancers at her Coming to America-inspired ceremony, which added to the entertainment for the day as a whole. Whether you hire dancers for the ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, or after-party, your guests are sure to love the special touch that they've likely not seen at any other wedding.

Kandi Burruss wedding ceremony dancers

Photo by Robin Gaucher Photography; From Real Wedding: Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kandi Burruss' Movie-Inspired Wedding

Unique Wedding Champagne Skirts

Sure, your guests could grab a glass of Champagne from a silver tray as they enter the celebration, but a unique wedding idea is to have a strolling Champagne server with flutes displayed in a "skirt" – this would also be a great entertainment idea for a welcome party or even a themed engagement party!

French woman costume with champagne in skirt

Photo by Caroline Tran

A Wall of Champagne

You've likely been to a wedding where they've had flutes of Champagne displayed on a wall – perhaps with escort card drink stirrers inside – but what about a live wall of Champagne with servers handing chilled glasses of bubbly to the guests? What was once a drink display has now become an opportunity to give your guests a unique form of fun, all rolled into one!

Wall of hands holding out champagne

Photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography; From Real Wedding: Glamorous Ivory & Blush Spring Wedding at a Private Club in Chicago

A Strolling Server

Another wedding entertainment idea that's similar to the Champagne skirt mentioned above is to have a server with a table skirt displaying hors d'oeuvres and bite-sized treats. It makes for a fun cocktail hour entertainment idea, and your guests will love sampling their favorite treat in such a unique way!

Woman with hors d'oeuvres on skirt table

Photo by KingenSmith; From Real Wedding: Opulent Chicago Wedding with Elaborate Décor & Entertainment

The Napkin Dress

There may be beverage napkins at the bar, but as your guests are enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres at cocktail hour while mingling, they'll be surprised to see servers wearing dresses made of napkins for a fun activity and convenience in one!

Weddings & Games

While weddings and games don't necessarily go hand in hand as much as some other wedding events, having games for additional wedding entertainment is a wonderful option. We've even seen couples have elevated beer pong games on their big day – the options are endless! As modern couples are personalizing their weddings more and more, the wedding entertainment ideas will continue to become more and more interesting as well!

Beer pong wedding game entertainment

Photo by Millie Holloman Photography; From Real Wedding: Navy Blue, Gold & Ivory Wedding at Duke University

Unique Hors d'Oeuvres Server

It may seem like most of these wedding entertainment ideas is food or drink related, but that's because your wedding fare offers such an incredible opportunity to be creative! If you don't want to hire dancers or acrobats, your guests will love seeing other fun options that don't even need to impact your wedding décor!

Traditional Dancers

Whether you want to honor your culture, the destination where you're saying "I do," or one of your family members or guests, a great way to do so is with dancing. Choosing a first dance song that you love and accomplishes this task is one way to do it, but hiring professional dancers – or performing the dance yourself – is a great way to make sure your guests have a great time with your unique entertainment ideas.

Traditional Mexican dancers at outdoor wedding

Photo by Christine Bentley Photography

Showgirl-Style Performances

You don't need to have a Las Vegas wedding to have a showgirl-style performance at your wedding events! Hire dancers to perform at your reception or after-party, or consider having the dancers stick around to take photos with your guests at the photo booth!

Wedding dancers in Brazilian costumes

Photo by Caroline Tran

Cabaret Dancers

If you want your guests to never forget your big day, hire dancers to perform at the reception. Either before your first dance or afterwards, invite dancers to start the party and get guests of all ages on their feet and ready to celebrate all night long!

Cabaret dancer entertainment at wedding

Photo by Caroline Tran

Ballroom Dancers

Even if you and your beloved have two left feet, you can take the pressure off of your first dance by hiring ballroom dancers to perform for your guests. Either let them choose the music, or incorporate some of your favorite songs that you would have selected for your first dance. This is also a great wedding entertainment idea for couples who always watch Dancing with the Stars together.

Ballroom dancer wedding reception entertainment

Photo by Yogi Patel - Global Photography; Floral Design by The Hidden Garden; From Real Wedding: Indian Wedding with Vibrant Colors and Gorgeous Red Roses

Mesmerizing Performers

This particular performance was for a fall-themed 50th anniversary party, which provided the perfect opportunity to wow guests with dancers twirling peacock skirts. Since most of the guest list was on the older end of the spectrum, mixing dancing and live performances helped to keep the fun going and love alive – without any guests getting too exhausted.

dancers with large peacock skirts at fall theme anniversary party

Photo by Jessica Claire Photography; From Real Event: 50th Anniversary Party with Fall Foliage and Unique Performances

Roaring Twenties-Themed Dancers

If you're having a Gatsby or 1920s-themed wedding, your guests will love watching dancers in flapper dresses perform at the reception! Even if you're having your DJ or live band play more modern hits, make sure this part of the evening highlights the music of the era to keep the celebration fun, unique, and on brand – at least until your wedding guests hit the dance floor!

Wedding dancers in flapper dresses, feather headdresses, and fishnet stockings

Photo by Handeland Tesoro Photography; From Real Wedding: Oceanfront Ceremony & Ballroom Reception in Southern California

Colorful Dancers

Whether they perform the samba or not, hiring dancers to perform with colorful skirts and costumes will be fun for guests of all ages. There are many dance-style wedding entertainment ideas, but if you and your beloved love color and fun, this is a great option!

Green and purple dance costumes at wedding reception

Photo by KLK Photography; From Real Wedding: Greek Orthodox Church Ceremony & Glamorous Purple + Gold Reception

Circus Performers and Acrobats

If you both love Cirque du Soleil, hiring an acrobat or aerialist for your reception will be a wedding entertainment idea much appreciated by your guests. Who doesn't love watching performers twirl overhead? Give your guests a true show and make sure they'll never forget one minute of your wedding day!

Cirque du Soleil style wedding performance in hoop

Photo by Justin Marantz; From Real Wedding: Unforgettable Miami Wedding with Acrobats, Tiger Cubs & Fireworks

Guests-Focused Limbo Game

The wedding is a time to honor your love, but also honor your guests and make sure they're having the time of their life. If you know your guests will enjoy a fun game of limbo, just do it! Even Eva Longoria did the limbo with Mario Lopez at his wedding – it will also give some of your guests something to do while everyone else is at the photo booth or somewhere else on the dance floor!

Mario Lopez and Eva Longoria doing limbo at wedding

Photo by Kevin Weinstein Photography; From Real Wedding: Mario Lopez & Courtney Mazza's Destination Wedding in Mexico

Brazilian Dancers

You don't have to have your wedding in Rio de Janeiro to have Brazilian dancers perform at your celebration! Whether you've been to the carnival festival in Brazil or you've always wanted to go, bring the festivities to your guests! Similar to the other dancers above, you can also have a few stick around for the photo booth later in the evening, or have props inspired by their costumes for guests to continue the fun!

Brazilian dancers at wedding reception

Photo by Kristen Weaver Photography; From Real Wedding: Gold & White Wedding with Brazilian + Indian Flair in Orlando, Florida

Flash Mob Performance

While the trend isn't quite as popular as it once was years ago, one of the most surprising wedding entertainment ideas is a flash mob. Either have some of your guests in on the surprise, or choose to surprise them completely! Since flash mobs are just a style of group dance and activity, you can personalize it to suit your style and your wedding theme as well!

Contortionists & Cirque du Soleil-Style Performers

We love entertainment ideas that really wow guests, and hiring circus-style performers to keep your guests entertained during the cocktail hour or reception is a wonderful way to ensure no one forgets your big day. This is another one of the great wedding entertainment ideas that's perfect for couples who don't necessarily want to spend a lot of time dancing at their wedding. Instead, fill the time with unique options that may be even more enjoyable for guests than cutting a rug.

Cirque du Soleil style contortionist men at wedding

Photo by Brian Tropiano Photography; From Real Wedding: Chic Moroccan-Inspired Engagement Party with Exciting Entertainment

Confetti Cannons

We love confetti explosions during ceremonies, but they're also a great wedding entertainment option for your reception or after-party! Bonus points for having the confetti cannon set off by a performer in a costume that reflects your wedding theme or vibe!

Casino Games

Another great way to keep guests entertained if you don't want to spend a lot of time dancing at your wedding is to have casino games! Craps (as shown below) is a great group game that can keep multiple attendees involved at one time – just make sure you're not actually having your guests bet any money at your wedding! Wedding entertainment ideas that could upset your guests are a no-no, but a little fun competition is almost always a good time! Like anything, make sure you keep your guests in mind. You want your wedding entertainment ideas to enhance their experience, not deter it.

Bride playing casino game at wedding reception

Photo by Handeland Tesoro Photography; From Real Wedding: Snowy Outdoor Winter Ceremony & Cozy Lodge Reception

Fire Performers

We mostly see fire performers at beach weddings, and it's a great way to wow your friends and family once the sun goes down. You can also surprise loved ones with a fireworks display if you'd rather – both are excellent options individually and turn into an extraordinary experience when paired together!

Fire dancers on beach at destination wedding

Photo by Karlisch Photography; From Real Wedding: Elegant Beachside Destination Wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

For more wedding entertainment ideas, discover how to keep guests dancing all night long, visit our wedding photo galleries for more inspiration, and follow Inside Weddings on Pinterest!

Opening photo by Kent Drake Photography; From Real Wedding: Greek Orthodox Ceremony + Romantic Ballroom Reception in Chicago