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Beyond the Photo Booth

An old-timey phonograph, a teepee, and other out-of-the-box bonus entertainment for your guests.


Illustrations by Rose Blake  

The Masked Entertainers
The Bumbys
Disguised in wigs and sunglasses, anonymous performance-art duo the Bumbys type up “fair and honest first impressions” of wedding attendees. “Our guests loved interacting with the Bumbys at our wedding,” says Allison Pearl, who hired the twosome for her reception at The Four Seasons Restaurant. “Their commentary made for amazing conversation-starters.” Expect clever descriptions and a rating between one and ten. Not to worry: No one usually scores under an eight. Rates upon request; email thebumbys@thebumbys.com.

The Antique Attraction
Michael Cumella, Phonograph D.J.
Decked out in a bow tie and windowpane suit, Michael Cumella could easily be mistaken for a Brooklyn barkeep. But the host of WFMU’s Antique Phonograph Music Program takes his music history seriously. Under the pseudonym Phonograph D.J. Mac, Cumella sets up two vintage gramophones at reception cocktail hours, mixing pre-thirties standards like “The Charleston” with lesser-known jazz tunes like “Kitten on the Keys.” His crew of dancers is happy to show amateurs basic period moves, too. Rates start at $750; michaelcumella.com.

The Walking Guest Book
Carte Blanche Performance
Performance artists Carte Blanche have jazzed up a reception staple with their interactive guest book. During the party, a woman wearing an elaborate, eighteenth-century-style paper dress walks around inviting guests to write notes on her costume. Wedding planner and designer Jove Meyer, who met founder and choreographer Shandoah Goldman at a wedding, says, “The ‘sign-my-dress’ idea is perfect for a fun, artistic couple.” Rates start at $1,000; carteblancheperfor­mance.com.

The Action Painter
Captured on Canvas
Live event painter Dan Angeli will turn your wedding reception into a Montmartre street corner. Hire him for Impressionist renderings of the first dance or the cutting of the cake. Newlyweds can hang up his masterpieces in their homes the following week, and guests will get a kick out of being privy to the creative process. Oil paintings on canvas are available in sizes ranging from 20-by-25 inches to 30-by-40 inches. Rates from $1,100 to $2,000; capturedoncanvas.us.

The GIF-Maker
Khaki Bedford Photography
Adding a social-media twist to the overdone photo booth, Greenpoint-based photographer Khaki Bedford offers a GIF station complete with all the requisite meme-making software. Twerk with your bridesmaids or simulate the bouquet toss, then a cameraman will upload the animated files to a Tumblr created for the occasion—to remind those who couldn’t make it what they’re missing. Photo-booth setup starts at $1,300; khakibedfordweddings.com.

The Pop-Up Chill-Out Spot
Patina Rentals
Corrin Arasa of Bushwick’s vintage-furniture haven Patina Rentals sets up stylish sitting areas with themes like “boho glam” and “taxidermy library,” where wedding guests can relax on French armchairs amid brass bar carts far from the dance floor. Her new line of indoor tents and teepees (a collaboration with design studio Domestic Construction) will offer cozy hiding places away from the Cuban Shuffle. Basic lounge setups start at $1,200; rentpatina.com.

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