Wedding entertainment has evolved greatly from when your mother planned her special day. Couples have unlimited options when it comes to keeping those smiles on the faces of their guests. How do you decide what to choose? It depends on what type of wedding you have.

Some brides give their wedding a theme, such as "Hollywood glamour" or "garden party." Having a theme makes selecting wedding entertainment easier as you can group by type. For example, for a Hollywood theme have "paparazzi" photographers snap pics of guests as they enter the reception on a red carpet, set up an old-fashioned popcorn machine or hire Big Band-style musicians. Keep guests entertained at an outdoor garden wedding with lawn games like croquet and horse shoes. A carnival theme comes to life with the addition of a cotton candy machine and fire jugglers and magicians.

If you don't have a theme, match your wedding entertainment to your location or family tastes. For example a hawaiian hula and fire show are a perfect match for a beach wedding. If your family heritage is Mexican, consider a mexican mariachi band. Scottish brides and grooms often have a bagpiper, while leaving the ceremony.

Remember your goal is to keep guests engaged while still allowing them to enjoy each other’s company. Many couples have slideshows at their receptions but make the mistake of running too long. Your guests will quickly tire of hundreds of photos of you and your beloved, so keep it to no longer than ten minutes. Wedding entertainment should be fun for others, not just the happy couple and their parents.

Your focus when it comes to wedding entertainment should be the music. Whether it is just for background noise or you’re planning a wild dance party, your music is going to be heard by your guests for hours. Plan your other live entertainment around the band’s breaks, or make arrangements with the DJ to step aside in order to feature any special entertainment.

Knock two items off your wedding checklist and save a few dollars by combining wedding entertainment with favors. A photo booth with funny props like hats and stick-on moustaches allows guests to goof around and gives them a fun token of your special day. A caricaturist is fascinating to watch and provides guests with a beautiful piece of art.

Save your “big bang” for about an hour before the end of the reception, just as things start to wind down but before your guests begin to leave. A dramatic fire show is an exciting and moving way to entertain wedding guests and give the happy couple a grand send-off.

No matter what you choose, remember to always sign a contract that protects your interests and spells out any and all charges, as well as verifying that the company you are hiring has all proper permits and insurance. The peace of mind you’ll get will allow you to fully enjoy your wedding entertainment!