Although any wedding is primarily about the bride and groom, it is becoming an accepted practice to see a complete entertainments package being organised to entertain the guests before and after the reception.
This entertainment can range from a magician for the children to a rodeo bull for the more adventurous ‘big kids’. A number of people are booking fairground rides and games, along with fun items like candy floss barrows and popcorn stands. Like any other service industry, funfair operators came in many guises, ‘the good the bad and the ugly.’ So how should you go about ensuring the attractions you book will be suitable for what is one of the biggest days of your life?
The fairground industry is broadly divided into two parts, members of the Showman’s Guild Of Great Britain (the main trade organisation of professional funfair operators), and independent operators. Being a member of ‘The Guild’, is no guarantee of the quality of an operator, indeed many non members set standards far in excess of some of the professionals, however choosing a member of the Guild does offer you some benefits. Each and every item of equipment owned by members of the Showmen’s Guild must carry electrical and mechanical safety certificates prepared by an independent engineer and updated annually. Additionally each attraction must carry a total of £10 million worth of public liability insurance. Proof of both the safety certificates and the insurance must be filed with one of the Guilds regional offices, without doing this an operator cannot renew his annual membership. When booking any attractions for your big day, ask for a copy of these certificates along with risk assessments etc. Any reputable operator would be happy to supply you with copies well in advance. Don’t be fobbed off with promises to send them on, if the operator can’t produce them find another one who can.
Ask to see images of the actual rides or games that are being supplied. Many operators act as agencies for other suppliers, and will use photos of attractions they cannot supply. The good ones will be happy to email or post you details of the equipment they intend to bring along. Again if there are excuses as to why they cannot supply photos, shop around.
If you are going to have one of the major rides such as dodgems, or a Victorian Carousel attend your wedding, you must ensure there is adequate access for the transport vehicles. A typical dodgem track will take a five man crew around six hours to erect and safety check. If when they arrive, the transport vehicle needs to be left 500 metres from where the ride is to be erected, the chances are it will not be ready in time. Difficult jobs like this can be catered for, but the operator will need to know in advance to arrange extra staff for carrying. Ideally a large ride would need to be set up the day before the event. If you have any doubts about the access, check with the venue to see if they have had large transport vehicles on site in the past, or ask the operator to perform a site visit to ensure there are no problems.
The best of the fairground operators will be more than happy to supply you with references from clients who have used their services. The really good ones not only provide the attractions, they supply their staff in uniform, trained to be more polite and discreet then those you may have encountered at a local fairground., and will even supply a clean up service to pick up and dispose of the litter once they have dismantled the ride. A little bit of homework at the planning stage can save you a lot of disappointment in the long run. Well specified and professionally operated funfair attractions can add a magical edge to a wedding, not only entertaining the children, but leaving the grown ups with a smile on their faces.
Article kind courtesy of:
Jason A.R. Moody Amusements