Unusual Vendors for Events and Weddings
As an event planner, you will get all kinds of ‘unusual’ requests from clients wanting something exotic or unique to make their event memorable. The more prepared you can be for strange requests, the better!
Sourcing unusual vendors ahead of time will put you at an advantage since you’ll be able to accommodate most odd requests. You’ll also have a better idea of what’s available that’s considered ‘outside the box’ and can make suggestions based on your client’s goals and interests.
Here are a few vendors and suggestions to help you get started on your ‘unusual vendor list’!
Gigmasters is an invaluable resource for sourcing unique local vendors for parties and weddings.
Here’s an example of what you can find:
- Fire dancers/eaters
- Sword swallowers
- Belly dancers
- Cultural dance troupes
- Circus performers
- Animals for rent
- Performing animals
- and more!
A great feature of Gigmasters is that clients are able to rate and review the performers or vendors they’ve hired. You can then use these ratings to carefully evaluate each performer or vendor prior to reaching out to them!
Imagine having a Ferris wheel at your wedding or event! Renting amusement rides is possible and would be a fun, whimsical touch for a playful couple, children’s party or a corporate event. Keep in mind that this can be expensive since rentals typically start at $3,500 US and go up from there. A quick Google search for “renting amusement rides” yielded a ton of results so you’ll want to source a vendor local to you and get in touch to determine pricing and rental options. I’ve started you off with a few companies to consider:
- Carnival Ride Rentals
- Dreamland Amusements
- Yesterdayland Farm
- Rental World
- Burgess Amusement
- NCA Entertainment
- Jubilee Amusements Australia
- Rides for Hire UK
- Fun Fair Rides UK
- Amusement Hire New Zealand (more inflatables than rides)
Some clients really want to make a splash at their event and one way to do this is by having exotic animals in attendance such as lions, tigers, giraffes or chimpanzees!
You will want to find a local vendor who rents out animals for the day for these types of clients. Exotic animals can also be used to create an exciting and unforgettable entrance for a bride and groom. It’s actually not that unusual for a groom to want to arrive by elephant and imagine the impact of a couple pulling up to the venue on a camel!
Horse & Carriage
You can rent a horse and carriage service in most cities. This service is in high-demand for weddings or luxury events. You’ll definitely want to check out your local options for this service ahead of time. It’s a good idea to see each vendor’s carriages to ensure they meet your standards prior to booking or making a recommendation to your client (i.e. to ensure the carriages are not in a state of ill-repair!) Check your local listings or Google to find your city’s Horse & Carriage operators!
Having your own personal petting zoo can be a fun, interactive feature for animal-lovers or children’s parties. Of course, renting a petting zoo hinges on the type of venue you’ve booked. If you’re venue isn’t a backyard or outdoor location you’d have to get permission if you want to set-up a petting zoo in your venue’s parking lot! You can easily source petting zoo vendors with a quick Google search!
Many couples want a cake-topper that is meaningful to them so what better way to represent their relationship than a figurine customized to the couple’s likeness!
Cake toppers are kept after the wedding as mementos so although a custom piece will be a tad expensive, for some couples, it’ll be worth it. You can get wedding bobble heads made in the couple’s likeness and even choose a meaningful backdrop from those on offer (ie. castles, garden, altar, picture frame, cabin).
If your couple is a bit geeky, Cubify offers Star Trek figurines that are 3D printed. You can choose from a variety of poses, uniforms and series (ie. Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine) but then the face and hair of the figurine will be made using the submitted photos of the couple. The base is stable enough that you could use the figurines as a cake topper; however, there is currently no option to have two individuals on the same base.
You’ll want to check out what Etsy.com has for customizable gifts, invitations and cake toppers. There are a ton of shops on Etsy that offer these services so you’ll have lots of options. One bonus with Etsy is that most of the shops are smaller-scale which means they are more eager for business and open to creating mutually beneficial relationships with clients.
Bulk or Wholesale Flip Flops
A great party favor for weddings or events with a dance floor is to provide your guests with flip-flops so they can dance all night without worrying about blisters from their ‘dress shoes’ or dirty feet because they had to take them off!
You may be able to source a good deal on flip flops locally. For example, Dollar Stores often have flip flops during the summer months and if you purchase a bulk amount they are often willing to provide a small discount if you talk to the manager. Amazon.com sells flip flops in bulk for approximately $2.75 per pair ($99 for 36 pairs); however, it would be worthwhile to source companies that sell flip-flops wholesale so you can order online or keep an inventory on hand. Wholesale pricing will most likely be the best possible pricing available to you.
Custom T-Shirt Shops
Custom t-shirts are becoming very popular for weddings! Some common design themes for apparel include: Bride & Groom, Mr. & Mrs, Mother of the Bride/Groom, bridal party signifiers, Just Married, bachelor/bachelorette party, engagement themes (I love my fiancé!) and so on. Corporate clients will also often want shirts or gifts with their company logo on it.
You’ll find a range of custom printing shops local to you. Try to source a shop that offers design services for a reasonable price and can print on clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, hats), mugs, cards and other customizable gifts (calendars, aprons, etc). That way, you can build a relationship with a shop that can meet most of your customizable needs, allowing you to create a mutually beneficial relationship where you bring the shop sales and the shop provides you with discounted pricing!