Wedding entertainment on a budget
First, shop around. Ask family, friends and friends of friends for recommendations, then spend time comparison shopping. Take a hard look at what each entertainer is offering for the price. While one might come in with a lower initial bid, another’s higher price may include more free extras that you really want. Don’t be afraid to tell a wedding entertainer you really want to match the price of another bid you’ve gotten from someone else for comparable services.
Tell your entertainers of choice what your budget is up front. While they might not be able to give you full service at that price, they may be able to offer you other options such as a shorter performance time or fewer performers. Have the same small band play at both your ceremony and reception - paying for extra hours is often less expensive than hiring a second band, and two of the performers can provide lovely acoustic music during your vows. Remember that everything is negotiable, so don’t be afraid to discuss the points of the contract that are unnecessary for your event but affect the cost.
Figure out your budget priorities. You can really wow your guests with a short but spectacular performance by a magician or fire eater, and find the money by providing music from a playlist you created on your iPod rather than hiring an expensive band or DJ. If you absolutely cannot live without the most popular (and expensive) wedding band in town but your budget is already stretched tight, find the money in other parts of your budget by switching to less expensive, in-season flowers or serving chicken instead of prime rib.
Save money by combining wedding entertainment with favors. Hire a caricature artist to draw your guests, or provide a photo booth with funny props. Guests get to bring their new portraits home as a remembrance of your special day.
Have a bunch of friends who love to perform? Rent a karaoke machine and let your guests provide the music! Fill in music with an iPod playlist made especially for your celebration. Use the money you saved by not hiring a band or DJ on something like, a spectacular fireworks display or a juggling team - something that will really wow your guests.
Always remember to check with your reception venue to make sure they have all the necessary requirements for your wedding entertainment, such as fire permits and audio equipment, before signing on the dotted line. Having to provide these yourself can quickly break your budget. In addition, make sure all your entertainers have liability insurance. If they don’t and the worst happens, you will be on the hook for any costs incurred. Of course, all of these things should be included in your wedding entertainers contract, which should be signed before any money changed hands.