The entertainment a couple chooses for their wedding is one of the most important layers of the wedding planning process. Wedding entertainment is all-encompassing. It’s a string quartet that plays an original composition; a local guitarist who serenades guests during an outdoor cocktail hour on the Mayan Riviera; a surprise performance by John Legend for the couple’s first dance; or a celebrity DJ who travels to spin music during the afterparty, keeping the dance floor packed until the sun rises.

Drawing inspiration from our own couples, we have seen the most incredible array of wedding entertainment lineups, from aerial artists serving champagne to guests while dangling from the ceiling, to Ludacris showing up during an afterparty for a blowout performance and celebration.

For one particularly lavish 60th birthday party for a client, event designers and producers Marc Friedland and Matthew David Hopkins focused on using the night’s entertainment to create an immersive experience. Everything, from the waitstaff’s custom costumes to a group of nuns playing poker in the corner, served to make guests feel as if they were in a world of Dali-inspired surrealism – a theme that was successfully woven throughout the event. The famed Radio City Rockettes performed, and guests felt like characters rather than bystanders in a perfectly planned, over-the-top production.

When deciding upon a roster of wedding entertainment and performances, there’s no limit to what couples and planners may choose. The right wedding band and MC will be able to keep any dance floor full throughout the evening. A live wedding painter is perfect for preserving the celebration on canvas. Magicians, character actors, or a flash mob of professional dancers add an element of surprise. And a custom Cuban cigar roller is always a favorite for after parties – especially during destination weddings in places like Miami, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic.