I've had my share of clients who go the extra mile for their guests. They are the ones who give their weddings their best shot... and I'm not talking about expenses. I'm talking about how they go to great lengths to personalize and make the travel to their venues worth the guests' time and effort. Brides usually go for DIYs, little things that guests can take home, creative stuff that guests like to take pictures of, prizes for games, etc. Grooms, on the otherhand, usually go for program changes, program add-ons, etc. Some even volunteer to perform! :)
Let me talk about what I've witnessed so far:
1) The Medley Dance
This happens right after the entrance. Prior to the big day, the bride and groom choose around 3 to 5 songs for the medley. The songs chosen usually represent different generations, that way everyone gets to relate to the dance at a certain point.
Some brides and grooms even involve me by giving me the songs they like so I can combine all mp3s for them. Sometimes, they tell me where to cut, but sometimes, I determine how many seconds per song would be performed. Either way, we ensure a lot of applause... :)
2) Dancing down the aisle
One of my couples really did this! They launched into the dance while walking to the real dance area in front of the guests. They really surprised their guests, who, in turn, cheered them on... :)
Tip: You can do this, too, if you have a long aisle.
3) The Romantic Duet
This one entails that one enter before the other depending on the lyrics. Usually though, it's the groom who enters first. My husband and I did this for our wedding. We asked Sound Salad to sing while my students did their ballet number at the center. As the voice changed, the guests realized my husband was coming in singing. After he sang, I came in and sang as well, then we gave Sound Salad the floor to finish the song. My students also finished their choreographed number.
a) print the lyrics so the parts are clear -- who sings what part (bride, groom, professional singer)
b) have the musicians play the song, that way, they can adjust the tempo a bit or sing for the bride/groom in case something unexpected happens
c) have the coord check the path of the bride and groom (if in case there are obstacles along the way) -- in my case, as I sang, I could not find a clear path to the center since I had tables of guests as well as the cake table in front of me.
d) remember that you (as bride/groom) are holding the mic for a reason, i.e. upon being called, you are supposed to sing (not enter and wave to the crowd while your song is playing in the background... hehe!)
4) Romantic Duet and Dance
Sometimes, brides and grooms opt to do a dance using the same song as their duet, because when they get to the center, they can give their mics to the coordinator or the emcee, and do the waltz as the singer of the band/quartet takes over.
5) Dancing with the Entourage
This one has to have the "connivance" of the entourage. And contrary to what most people think, it consists of simple steps; thus, it doesn't require a lot of rehearsal hours. All they really need is this immense love for the bride and groom... wink!
At a certain part of the song, the bride and groom can come in and join the entourage. Some even choose to "run in"... but that depends on the weight of the gown and the shoes the bride is wearing, also the layout of the venue.
Prior to the start of the program, we collaborate with the entourage regarding where they can stay while waiting for their cue. We also talk about where the couple will come from and what they need to do after their final pose, i.e. to walk down the side aisles so that they don't block the camera as the bride and groom begin their romantic waltz.
Yes, usually, the dance with the entourage is followed by the more traditional waltz. :)
Other ways by which the couple can surprise the guests are as follows:
a) a choreographed dance of the bride with her father (and/or the groom with his mother)
b) a choreographed family dance
c) a flash mob type of dance to end the program with the couple
d) joining the couples' game
e) having a raffle
f) preparing AVPs that have actual stories and/or messages
The list goes on. I'm sure there are more and more creative couples out there who have surprises up their sleeves... :)