This is a tale of the couple who said “Must we hire a caricaturist?” when they should’ve said “We must hire a caricaturist!”
Recently I attended a wedding, where the parents had hired my services and the happy couple simply said “Must we…?” which meant that they did not follow my simple suggestions or prepare in any way for my performance. The evening kicked off with speeches starting late, despite keeping the guests waiting for 30 minutes after their meal, which is not great etiquette. This in turn made me 30 minutes late.
- I was not greeted, by my client, Bride & Groom or any staff member and so left waiting without cue, feeling unwelcome.
- I was un-anounced and un-expected, so people ignored me and even avoided me as I wandered in.
- I was not paid on arrival and so had to search for my fee later in the already late evening.
- I started at the head table to find my first (important) subjects, but had no guidance and had to pick on a random guest, as the table dispersed.
- I was working in the main ballroom, with the Disco, which was noisy with bad lighting, so banter was not an option.
- I was forced into a corner near the bar, where I was monopolised by one table for upto an hour, producing their family portraits, due to it being the only lit area.
- The Bride & Groom avoided me until 10 minutes before I finished my stint, when they sat for their drawing, only to find all the lights went out for the Disco.
- There were 100 day guests, plus evening extras and so I had to turn away at least 60+ people who I didn’t have time to draw. Two hours is not enought to keep 100 guests happy.
I did my best as a professional entertainer, I do love entertaining and making new friends, but as the evening descended into darkness, I went largely un-noticed until I finished my stint and had to leave, with a feeling of under-performing, due to circumstances. If only they had followed my simple tips which I give every Bride & Groom upon booking;
- Please greet me and help me become acquainted with the venue and guests.
- Tell everyone I am coming; it will generate excitement and a buzz of anticipation!
- Please pay me on arrival, so we don’t play ‘hunt the wallet’ when everyone is drunk or absent later.
- Offer guidance as to who I am to draw, so not to miss the important people.
- Disco are dark and noisy so unsuitable for me to draw close-up caricatures in.
- Please find a well lit area for me to perform or instruct the venue to keep lights on until I am finished.
- Bride & Groom, step up as soon as possible so you don’t miss out (drawings done after the event are chargeable).
- I recommend that Weddings with 70+ guests should always choose a 3 or 4 hour package, to make sure I maximise the numbers drawn.
Follow these steps and I can develop a rapport with your guests and maximise their entertainment value, helping make me one of the most memorable investments on your big day! Just say “We MUST hire a caricaturist… The Wedding Artist!”
At a recent wedding fayre I found myself competing against the latest fad; PHOTO BOOTHS! This is in no way a fair comparison as I shall explain:
Mobile Photo Booths are primarily to intended entertain drunk punters, originally popular at Student Balls, these monstrosities have broadened their customer base to include Weddings, where they are monopolised by the intoxicated evening guests. Could you imagine Great Aunt Maude or Grandpa Joe queuing for hours to climb inside one, late at night? Booths are hastily erected, often cheaply produced and operated largely by unskilled, part time staff, who are no more qualified to entertain your guests than they are to slice meat at a butcher’s. Wouldn’t you rather pay good money to have a trained, qualified, recognized professional entertainer at your wedding?
Quality of entertainment aside, logistically speaking they are at best a late night, static attraction, for those happy to encourage a queue at their evening celebrations. But would you hire a Photo Booth to keep your guests laughing during the professional photographs in the afternoon? What of your immediate family and head table, will they be guaranteed laughter or will they have to queue all evening just for a silly snap? Will you just end up with snaps of your work colleagues in a drunk state? These points should be considered.
Hiring a professional caricaturist, especially The Wedding Artist, guarantees you are paying for a professional entertainer, to mix with your guests and lift their spirits during the quiet periods, as needed. Never shabby or disappointing, The Wedding Artist will leave your guests smiling and talking about the drawings for weeks and months afterwards.
When did you last hear wedding guests singing the praises of the Photo Booth for weeks after a wedding??
Just a quick note regarding my evening performance times – if in doubt of when your proceedings will start and finish, take a look at when your first dance is scheduled. By the time the first dance is announced and your guests all disappear towards the dance floor, that is probably the best time for me to finish, as I will often be left without an audience, so work my timings back from this point.
First dance often leaves me with an empty rom – time to go?
An empty room is often an indication that my services are no longer needed and that your guests are happily dancing away in the darkness. Even if I am left with a small queue, the chances are my well-lit venue will then become a dimly lit dining area or lounge, so less suitable for drawing. Just something to bare in mind when booking me for your evening lull.
Thinking of treating your wedding guests to something different for your wedding breakfast? Looking at budget friendly catering options perhaps? The latest trend seems to be Afternoon Tea; consisting of a selection of crustless sandwiches, followed by a trolley of fairy cakes or scones and cream, all tastefully presented mid afternoon then washed down with lashings of bubbly or perhaps a pot of tea? How delightful and how quaint, not to mention informal and novel. This option may suit those on a tighter budget or with a late wedding slot, too close to the evening’s buffet to justify a full meal for their day guests.
But remember; traditionally the wedding meal or ‘Breakfast’ was just that, because wedding ceremonies were only allowed in the mornings and so the meal became a feast which would gorge the daytime guests and leave them well fed for what was a long day of celebrations ahead, long into the evening. A plate of sandwiches may not go down so well as a feast…
As a walkabout entertainer I get to hear the guest’s comments and opinions, up close and believe me I have rarely heard a good thing uttered around a plate of sandwiches or a cake stand! I have attended many a well presented tea party (and some not so well presented), all of which bore the brunt of the guests grumbles, as their tummies rumbled away through what is a rather long day for most daytime wedding guests.
My advice is to take good care of your guests; book a fabulous entertainer and even better caterers, as rumbling tummies make for grumpy guests and if your venue suggest either Afternoon Tea or a cold finger buffet, then you may want to question why they are not keen to offer their kicthen? Just saying…
What a great idea to hire a caricaturist for your wedding guests. But what happens when they whisk the drawings away to their rooms or cars? Why not spread the smiles by hanging your drawings on a Laughter Line – simply peg the drawings (in sleeves) along a length of twine, to display the great characters and get everyone laughing. Keep the smiles going all night long!
*Please note that I cannot supply line or pegs as I have no idea of your wedding’s theme, the venue’s available space or their hanging policies. Always best to ask the venue to supply line and pegs, which you can personalise to fit your theme, be it gold pegs or twine and shabby chic pegs. Remember that once sleeved the drawings can be heavy, so sticky tape or blu-tac are not suitable anchors.
Another great idea from The Wedding Artist
One piece of invaluable advice when it comes to your day’s proceedings is to keep your guests informed. Please be sure to tell them the order of the day’s events, especially when it comes to entertainment. Be sure to advertise the Band, Singer or Caricaturist, so everyone knows what to expect and when they are due to finish.
I love attending weddings and always leave a happy crowd, wanting more. However, sometimes they can be a little too disappointed when I have to leave at the end of my set and this can be an awkward time, so please make sure your guests know when I’m coming and when I’ll be going. I hate looking like the villain after a happy day of scribbling.
We all hate to see the end of a good thing, but spare a thought for your hard working caricaturists at the end of a booking.
Following a spate of horror stories forwarded to me by colleagues (and having had to deal with similar situations myself), I thought it was time to hi-light the problem of drunk punters at the end of the night. I recently had a colleague close to tears, after a drunk punter confronted him at the end of a good performance, demanding to be drawn, then later complained to the Bride. This lead to the Bride filing a complaint and making libellous accusations on public forums, which all could have been avoided if all parties concerned had simply observed the following points:
- Every performance must finish at some (agreed) point and many artists adhere to the timetable in order to make a second booking in good time. Caricaturists will usually shorten the queue in the last 30 minutes, so not to disappoint later arrivals or those who may miss out.
- Your artist will aim to please the client and often offer flexibility on the day in order to keep people smiling. The last thing they want is a confrontation or complaint, it is their living after all.
- Your caricaturist will remain professional, polite and sober at all times (unless you have hired a low budget option of course), though some of your guests may not.
- The later the performance, the more chance there is that some of the wedding guests will become drunk and less patient, especially when having to queue to be drawn or fed. These guests may take their rejection from a queue as rudeness and react with aggression.
- Remember, any punter who claims they have been “waiting all night” can not possibly have been there longer than the caricaturist. In 3 hours a good caricaturist will draw through a queue of 40+ people, so most people waiting from the moment of the artist’s arrival will be drawn.
- It is the client’s responsibility to put forward those who MUST be drawn, otherwise your caricaturist will do their best to draw all in the queue, no matter who.
- Not everyone will be drawn, no caricaturist will promise this and in a group of 100 people, maybe 45 will be lucky in an average evening performance. This may lead to a few disgruntled punters, but a lot more happy ones.
As a caricaturist and entertainer I have to regularly deal with drunk, aggressive and violent punters at the end of every performance, despite my having been a roaring success all night and finishing at an agreed time. I always deal with such confrontations in a polite and professional manner, usually leaving smiles behind me. However I should have the right to finish my work in safety and without fear of reprisal or complaint. With this in mind, I ask all those hiring a caricaturist for their event to spare a thought for the hard working artist, as they pack their pens away at the end of a night and perhaps give them a hand diffusing the punters who missed out on a free drawing that night. Maybe give them the benefit of the doubt when a guest moans about having not been drawn, while all your other guests are smiling.
Its just a bit of fun after all….
I am an artist but also a professional entertainer and I take a lot of joy from interacting with guests and subjects while drawing and showing off my skills. Indeed I pride myself on being witty and charming, thus adding an extra dimension to the performance and creating a buzz. I offer an entertainment SERVICE, not just a PRODUCT as you might find at a Them Park or Pier, which is why you pay a premium for me, so please let me entertain you to the best of my ability, which can be done by following these points:
- Introduce me as the UK’s celebrity caricaturist, GQ illustrator and professional entertainer and help build up a buzz. Perhaps mention my many TV appearances?
- Do not whisk the drawings away, put them in your room, collect them in a pile for later use or otherwise hide them. Please allow the guests to show them off, create a buzz and raise some laughter!
- Do not ask me to work in the same room as the Disco, as it will kill all chances of banter or laughter and make me appear like an automaton.
- Do not allow a queue of children to form, as these will undoubtedly kill the buzz and render my performance mute, as they shout, cry and show no reaction to what they are shown.
- Please chat and interact with me, as I am not a drawing machine and love nothing better than a good banter!
It breaks my heart when I leave a venue after an evening of battling against a Disco, not having chatted with any guests, with no drawings floating around, while wondering if I wowed them. This may be good enough for some amateures, many of whom even CHARGE guests at weddings, but its not good enough for me. So please let me show off my stuff and I’ll make your day one to remember!
First wedding you’ve had to organise? Not sure about how to choose the best suppliers for your day? On a tight budget and shopping round? Well there are a few handy hints which I would advise you to read before you hit the Wedding Shows this season:
- Budget – never simply book the cheapest, as you’ll risk disappointment on the biggest day of your life and your guests WILL notice the difference.
- Location – booking local suppliers can promote your local community, but local is not always the best and its worth looking further afield, if only to compare all services available. You may find a fantastic florist two counties away who is flexible with travel costs.
- Recommendation – venues will often recommend suppliers for you, which can be very useful, as their reputations become intertwined and so both are less likely to let you down. Other wedding professionals will often make suggestions, which should be heeded, as they too work within the industry and know their onions.
- Venues – you may have found a sublime location for your reception, but check the management and staff training before booking, as you may suffer slow table service or chaotic dining room scenes if staff are not capable of coping on the day.
- Make friends – a handy way to choose your supplier is by simply meeting them, although some may not operate this way, you can still have a good chat with them and get to know them. It is essentail that you get along with your suppliers, they will share your biggest day after all.
Simply ask yourself; would I want this Caricaturist/Photographer/Toast Master/Musician at my wedding as a guest and friend? Will they fit in and gel with my day and my friends? If the answer is NO, then find a supplier who would. There’s nothing worse than spending the day with a bossy or miserable Photographer, Toast Master or Maitre D, no matter what the cost. Professional, well trained, friendly staff and suppliers can make your day that bit easier, choose well and you should have nothing more to do on your biggest day other than enjoy it!
Have fun shopping round and enjoy the Wedding Show season which is upon us. See you at a show maybe 😉
I am not a children’s entertainer
Most weddings will involve children to some degree which can add that extra dimension to your proceedings and everyone loves a cute Flower Girl or Page Boy. Alternatively you may decide that children are not for your wedding.
If you are inviting children along, maybe hire a children’s entertainer or sitter so your children are properly supervised throughout the day. That way the parents are free to enjoy themselves without the worry of misbehaving infants. Please note that a Caricaturist is NOT a children’s entertainer.
Of course we all adore the cute wedding outfits on the younger ones and they make for adorable photos, but they don’t necessarily make for great caricatures. In fact children and babies in particular make the worst models for a caricaturist, so maybe think twice before making your child queue up to be drawn.
- Do they actually WANT to be drawn or are you forcing them?
- Do they have any idea what a CARICATURE is?
- Will they like being stared at by a strange man with a pen or will they cry?
- Will they stand still and pose for 4-5 minutes or fall asleep… or cry?
- Do you want your adorable baby or child to be ridiculed?
- Will they misbehave and distract the artist while waiting?
Most children have no concept of what a caricature is and do not care to be drawn, let alone stared at by a strange man with a pad and pen, which often ends in tears! From a caricaturist’s viewpoint, children do not have any features to exaggerate and so the task is an impossible one from the start. Coupled with their lack of reaction, the whole experience can be a real crowd buzz-kill.
However if you do insist on having your child drawn, could you please not treat the artist like a Creche and simply leave your child queuing alone, make sure you accompany them and help them pose, for best possible results. Children above all act as a distraction for any Entertainer or Artist and can spoil the overall performance if left unattended, so please keep an eye on the little darlings 😉