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The annual dinner and dance is the time for you to come together as a company, to celebrate the year’s achievers and achievements. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to show appreciation to your employees and keep them engaged in your company culture. 

An exciting and memorable gala dinner can become a talking point for weeks to come. Unfortunately, the same goes for a poorly organised one. No pressure!

Why You Need Activities and Games

Your guests will start arriving an hour (or more) before your dinner starts. So, you will need to plan activities and games to keep them entertained while they wait. This can make or break your whole event, by setting the mood for the rest of the night.

You want your activities to be fun, entertaining, and encourage social mingling among your guests. You want to hear excited chatter and laughter as you build up towards your dinner.

Kick off a memorable party with these 15 proven ideas.

Idea #1: Photo Booth

Women dressed up in costumes at a GIF photo booth

First idea on the list is the most tried and tested, surefire way to excite your guests—the photo booth. It’s now so common that it’s almost required; your guests will certainly expect to see one. 

Go with the traditional photo booth, or work with the new and innovative experiences. You can choose from the GIF booth, slow motion booth, green screen booth, 180° booth and more.

The photo booth is the perfect social entertainment—it brings you and your friends together and gives you a safe space to goof around. You also get to bring home a meaningful gift, in the form of physical photo prints.

At Ubersnap, we were the first in the world to introduce instant holographic prints. We’ve been at over 1,500 events and guests still never fail to go crazy over it. 

Idea #2: Virtual Reality

Men in blue crew neck T-shirt wearing a VR headset

Virtual reality has been touted as the next big thing for events for the last few years. It’s certainly a transformational experience that can elicit gasps of excitement.

Over the years, more games have become available off-the-shelf. You can choose from classics like Fruit Ninja to new hits like Beat Saber. Most companies will provide a screen so that other guests can see the game in progress.

You can also create your own customised experiences. Ignite VR is one company in Singapore with experience in creating bespoke, branded games.

Idea #3: Carnival Games

Children participating in basketball carnival game

Carnival games are an affordable way to bring multiple entertainment points to your event. They also add a festive vibe with their signature tents (with red and white strips).

Popular games include the bottles ring toss, balloon darts, can toss and bowling. 

You can win prizes too, just like an actual carnival! We all know how expensive real carnivals are in Singapore, so many of your guests will be bringing a prize home for the first time.

Idea #4: Claw Machine

Claw machine with Minion soft toys as prizes

Claw machines are seeing a sudden resurgence in popularity. Bring the craze to your event by renting these addictive, can’t-stop-playing machines.

Customise your machines by branding the exterior with your logo, make them free-to-play, and offer attractive prizes. Just like that, you have a winner.

Idea #5: Traditional Snacks

Popcorn station at dinner and dance

If you’re old enough to remember, cinemas in Singapore used to serve traditional snacks like kacang puteh and cup corn. Bring back the nostalgia with these cute snack stalls.

Most companies provide a wide variety of snacks that you can choose from. You can opt for the carnival-style popcorn and candy floss, or old-school favourites like muah chee and tutu kueh.

Idea #6: Caricature

Caricature artist drawing couple at dinner and dance

Photos are great, but perhaps you want something more artistic or humorous? Bring in a caricature artist to make drawings of your guests. Different artists have different drawing styles, so make sure you ask for samples from previous events. 

Keep in mind that each drawing will take several minutes. If you’re expecting a large crowd, hire more than one artist or combine it with other activities. 

Idea #7: Handmade Leather Goods

Craftsman customising leather goods at dinner and dance

If you’re looking for an artisanal experience, support your local leather craftsmen by hiring them for your event. 

First, choose the item to give away. Luggage tags, passport holders and cardholders are safe and affordable ideas, because anyone can use them.

Next, decide on the degree of customisation. The easiest and quickest way is to allow embossing of initials. 

The more customisation options, the longer the wait. Hence, it’s a good idea to combine this with other activities to keep your guests entertained.

Idea #8: Street Magician

Street magician entertaining guests at dinner and dance

Nothing is more impressive than watching a street magician up close. These magicians will mingle with your guests and perform their illusions in small groups, giving an intimate and interactive experience. 

In keeping up with the times, some magicians focus their acts around modern devices like the iPad. Others work with classic sleight of hand and card tricks.

Many magicians have their own websites, so you can reach out to them personally. Or work with an agency and leave the work to them.

Idea #9: Dance Performance

Dancers wearing LED costumes performing at a dinner and dance

Energise your audience with dance performances, whether on stage or up close and personal. Wildfire Entertainment is an agency with multiple acts, ranging from playful to downright breathtaking. 

Personally, we love their LED dancers. As you can guess, these are dancers with full-body LED costumes. It’s funky and visually striking.

If you truly want your event to stand out, you can even work with Wildfire to create a bespoke performance. 

Idea #10: Temporary Tattoos

Getting a temporary tattoo at a dinner and dance

One of the more unique activities is getting a temporary tattoo and there is never a short queue for them. 

Most events work with airbrush tattoos. These are simply sprayed on with the help of stencils, so they can be done in just minutes.

If you’re looking for something more personalised, Out & Ink is a team of artists in Singapore that specialises in creating temporary ink tattoos. Their tattoos are done with jagua ink, which is safe and organic while looking like an actual tattoo. The result can even last up to 2 weeks!

Idea #11: Screen Printing

Screen printing activity at a dinner and dance

Live screen printing involves your guests in creating custom printed apparel. Studies have shown that you greatly value the items that you create yourself, so this is an authentic way to ensure that your guests will treasure their gifts. 

With Partyinkers, you can create designs from scratch or work with pre-designed brand assets. The designs are printed on merchandise like t-shirts, tote bags and posters.

Idea #12: Handmade Ice Cream

Woman serving handmade ice cream at a dinner and dance

Ice cream is the closest thing to a universally loved food. Merely Ice Cream is one of the most highly rated ice cream shops in Singapore, with two shop locations. Work with them to serve up some delectable handmade flavours.

Get the lusciously smooth Salted Butterscotch, the creamy Gula Pandan or choose from alcohol-infused favourites like Bailey’s Coffee. They will serve up their ice cream from a delightfully rustic wooden counter, made just for events.

Idea #13: Mobile Bar

Man taking drinks from mobile bar at a dinner and dance

Most dinner and dance venues will serve alcohol. However, you might want to go beyond the standard beer and house wine. 

Mixes From Mars can help you craft bespoke cocktails and customised drink menus. With their beautifully designed cocktails and friendly bartenders, you can transform alcohol from a simple drink into a full sensory experience.

Take it up a notch with their molecular cocktails, which is what happens when a bartender conducts science experiments. With nitro cocktails and plenty of foam and bubbles, it’s an exciting visual performance.

Idea #14: Coffee Cart

Female barista serving coffee at a coffee cart

Do you love coffee more than alcohol? Hire a mobile coffee cart instead!

You get way better tasting coffee compared to the standard coffee-machine fare, as well as a nice coffee cart with an artisanal vibe. Every event can be better with a barista around!

There are many companies that you can choose from in Singapore. Some of them operate well-established cafes, so you know they are the real deal.

Idea #15: Perfume Bar

Perfume bar at dinner and dance

With a perfume bar, you can make your own personalised perfume in a fun and interactive way. You will take a perfume personality test and create your formula on-the-spot. 

Who doesn’t want to smell nice?

It’s an unusual experience and you get to bring home gorgeous perfume bottles, which can be engraved with your company logo, name or message. 

Conclusion

The right activities and games can make your dinner and dance a success. You want to choose a good mixture of perennial favourites and new experiences.

Before you book a venue, consider how much space you have for all the activities. Look for a large reception area in the hotel.

What ideas do you have for your next gala dinner?

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