5 Offbeat Vendors Your Event Planning Courses Prepare You For
For the couples who don’t want the traditional church and reception wedding, there are options! More people are looking outside the box when it comes to personalizing their big day. If you’ve only planned traditional weddings thus far, you might be at a loss when you meet your first offbeat clients. From Star Wars themed weddings to humanist officiants, you must cater to their needs!
Besides weddings, the same applies to out-of-the-box events. Carnival performers for music festivals… a host for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony… you won’t always have a vendor in your back pocket who can fulfill these requests. If you’re pressed to find non-traditional vendors, don’t feel like you’re doing the impossible! Your event planning courses have taught you how to secure and deal with offbeat vendors! Not convinced? Keep reading!
Taken from your course…
After earning your event planning certification, you’ll know how to research vendors. A good event planner knows that just finding vendors who are technically good at their craft isn’t enough. Every event and wedding has its own overarching theme or style made up of all the individual event components! To ensure a thematically cohesive event, know that most vendors have their own niche and style.
If your usual caterer specializes in farm-to-table hors d’oeuvres, does it make sense to hire them to cater Comic-con? Not only does it not play to their strengths, but it doesn’t go with the style of the event. Guests aren’t likely to warm up to the food either. In fact, it’s probably more expensive to hire this caterer than to go with a vendor with simpler, convention-friendly fare!
On the other hand, imagine you’re planning a country wedding and the choice caterer is out of your clients’ budget. Settling for burgers and fries might be cheaper, but it would create a jarring experience. Spend more time researching your options or work with your client to adjust the budget. You’ll learn these negotiation and communication strategies in your course.
Finding vendors who focus on outside-the-box niches isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible! Your best asset is your eye to detail. Be patient when researching, and keep your clients’ needs at the forefront. Secure vendors who go in line with your clients’ vision. When they cater to the same niche, they’ll likely be excited to work with you and your client. Their enthusiasm will carry over to their products and services. They also won’t be judgmental about your clients’ requests. All the attention instead focuses directly on your client and their needs!
Your offbeat vendors
When we say “offbeat” vendors, we aren’t talking exclusively of those who specialize in the weird and the strange. This is in no way an exhaustive list! The best part about a non-traditional event is the large variety of different event elements. Here are just some offbeat vendors you might encounter… and some strategies in dealing with them learned in your professional event planning course!
Alternative Wedding Attire
Planning a wedding? Is your bridal client tired of seeing the same white tulle dresses at her local bridal boutiques and wants a dress that reflects her interests and/or personality?
Look for vendors with wedding dressmaking experience. They’ll know how to capture the milestone occasion in the elements of the dress. Or, secure a tailor who has wedding attire experience. A regular tailor may not be aware of the nuances and trends of modern nuptial attire. This way, when the bride suits up for the big day, her ensemble screams “alternative elegance” instead of “enthusiastic-costuming”!
Animal welfare workers and trainers include professional falconers and pigeon fanciers. Another popular request? Horse-drawn carriage rides! Sometimes you may need to have just one horse-drawn carriage. Other times, it could be a community event offering rides all night to the public,
It could be as public as a rehabilitation clinic’s pop-up event at a school or community center. Or it can be an extravagant private wedding. In all cases, the animals’ and audiences’ safety is your top priority.
To ensure that everyone (including the animals) has the best experience, don’t try to force an animal past its limits. Some animals are well-trained and may be trained specifically for attending events. That being said, some facilities treat their animals inhumanely. Do your research before booking!
Depending on where the event will occur, certain caterers might not be available. If you’re in the city, you shouldn’t have problems finding niche caterers. But when you’re out in rural areas, you may find it difficult.
This goes beyond cultural foods. As vegetarian and vegan diets become more mainstream, providing these options is necessary. Your job is to negotiate deals for your client while customizing a venue that suits attendees. Listening to your clients and getting suggestions and referrals is a good place to start.
There might be a number of reasons your clients want to shy away from paper printing. They may have an eco-friendly personal ethos or they need to meet certain special needs.
If your clients are anticipating guests who say are blind or sight-impaired, using digital invites could work in your favor. Vendors specializing in E-vites or online wedding registries are an asset. Not only is it super convenient for your clients and guests, but it’s an additional contribution to the event’s accessibility!
You may be asked to hire cultural experts for the event. An obvious example would be the religious officiant for a wedding. It could also include cultural tea ceremony hosts and Henna application professionals. And for really esoteric Sci-Fi events, a Klingon-language master counts, too!
This section is broad. Although it can certainly be outside-the-box depending on the specific event needs. It’s no different than securing a master chef for a cook-off event or a scientist for a TedTalk. The biggest challenge is to find reputable experts from a field unfamiliar to you. After all, how can you determine if they’re actually as great as they say? Luckily, those who readily advertise themselves for large events have had experience. Researching their resumes as well as reviews from the public is how you weed out the less-than-exceptional vendors!
What other offbeat vendors can you think of? Let us know!