What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
Hiring John Mellencamp for a fortieth birthday.
Hiring John Mellencamp for a fortieth birthday. This was twenty years ago and I was so new to the industry. No idea of how to do it but I said: “Of Course!” Luckily this client had the budget to go with such a request but when it came down to all the pieces – stage, sound, lighting, equipment, transportation, on and on and on. On top of that, comes the rider! The rider is the list of items that the celebrity insists on having as part of their contract… like oranges and bottled water. But it can get as crazy as a specific sized suite with very specific art/furniture. Luckily his was only a page but I have seen MUCH worse since then. 🙂
On the day of the traditional American ceremony, she said she wanted to feel like royalty, so we pulled off a scene from Coming to America for their grand entrance into the reception.
We had a Bride whose family was from Nigeria and so there was a 3-day wedding celebration. And on the day of the traditional American ceremony, she said she wanted to feel like royalty, so we pulled off a scene from Coming to America for their grand entrance into the reception. We hired a traditional African Dance troop and had them perform before opening the doors for the couple to enter to rose petals being tossed at their feet. It was the most crowd-pleasing surprise we have pulled off to date. And I did it all with a 103-degree fever that day!
Essentially, we built an indoor apple orchard a block off Venice Beach and brought the season of fall to a city that never really gets to experience it!
Most recently, we designed and produced a pop-up for Bare Snacks called the Bare Beachside Orchard. Essentially, we built an indoor apple orchard a block off Venice Beach and brought the season of fall to a city that never really gets to experience it! We had an apple blossom installation, apple picking, and huge leaf pit, among many other experiences that brought autumn to life in Los Angeles.
I had a client once ask if I could fit in a country band the day before the event... and I made it happen!
I had a client once ask if I could fit in a country band the day before the event… and I made it happen! It was a bit bizarre, but it turned out well. As usual, we do our best to make sure our clients are happy – no matter the logistics and timing involved!
The llama surprised the couple during their first look, and the groom's face was absolutely priceless!
I worked with a couple who shared their first date at the Texas State Fair. They came upon the petting zoo, only for the groom to find out that the bride was absolutely terrified of most animals! He quipped, “If you can’t make friends with that cute llama, I’ll never marry you.” The bride found a way to buddy up with the llama. During the planning process, I did a bit of investigation and found that there was a baby llama available for event appearances. With the bride’s permission, I hired in the llama and decorated him with a wreath of flowers and greenery. The llama surprised the couple during their first look, and the groom’s face was absolutely priceless! Guests got to take photos with the llama as they arrived for the ceremony.
When I worked at the Johns Hopkins University in Neurology Development, they wanted an enormous brain-shaped cake with sailboats under it for the honoree.
When I worked at the Johns Hopkins University in Neurology Development, they wanted an enormous brain-shaped cake with sailboats under it for the honoree. This thing had to be easily 200lbs and was multicolored. We then had several neurosurgeons cut into it at the event.
Not only was the venue an exciting aspect of the event, but the host also wanted to hire an Elvis impersonator to come out of a tank at the beginning of the party and perform a couple of songs.
We have had plenty of requests from our clients that we say to ourselves “well that’s a first!” We love getting these challenges though because it puts us on the hunt to make their event dreams come true!
This past spring we worked on a large personal celebration for a client at the American Heritage Museum. The Museum is a beautiful open warehouse packed with planes, cars, and tanks. Yes, tanks! Not only was the venue an exciting aspect of the event, but the host also wanted to hire an Elvis impersonator to come out of a tank at the beginning of the party and perform a couple of songs. While we’ve had requests for impersonators before, asking them to pop out of the tank was definitely a new request not only for us but for them as well!
Kelly Elizabeth Events, Boston, MA
The most unusual request we have had to deal with lately involved securing several Scottish Terrier puppies for an event that took place simultaneously at 2 conference rooms in NYC.
The most unusual request we have had to deal with lately involved securing several Scottish Terrier puppies for an event that took place simultaneously at 2 conference rooms in NYC. Both conference rooms were in buildings that housed only media and publishing companies. While not extreme by most standards, having conversations with other adults about the pee schedule of puppies certainly wasn’t our usual. And for those of you wondering, no we didn’t end up moving forward with the puppies…. For the past 5 years, Joe Moller Events, Inc (JME) has worked exclusively with members of the Skid Row Community, to create over 500 job hours for those currently experiencing homelessness. We have no barriers to entry, pay a fair market wage & have collaborated with this community repeatedly on a variety of events outside of Skid Row. Many of our corporate clients are pleasantly surprised to learn the team that kept their event immaculate is comprised of individuals from that community.
I worked with a client whose rider specifically requested a giant pickle — you know the type you get at the state fair.
I’ve had many unusual requests, so I’ll tell you about the first one that caught me off guard. I worked with a client whose rider specifically requested a giant pickle — you know the type you get at the state fair. It was unusual in itself, but the client’s reaction was the most memorable part. When shown his dressing room and food area, he burst out laughing at the sight of the pickle. Apparently, it was an inside joke and his agent had added it to the rider without his knowledge. Since then I’ve provided everything from a unicorn petter zoo (aka miniature horses wearing tutus and horns) to pumpkin trebuchets. Most requests seem tame in comparison to those.
How about a surprise pop-up vow renewal?
Not really a request, but more of a suggestion; this is still my all-time favorite event, and will probably always be. We love the challenge of unusual requests!
I was hired by a “bride” to plan her 50th wedding anniversary celebration at a country club. What was meant to be a formal seated dinner with a string quartet for 125 guests turned into something else entirely. During our initial meeting, she asked me to come up with a fun idea to wow her guests who were used to these types of events. I tested her limits for “wow” by starting with proposing a vow renewal. That was an easy yes. OK– how about a surprise pop-up vow renewal? She had no idea what a pop-up was but loved the idea.
After ensuring their rabbi was available to perform the ceremony, their children would be able to keep a secret (we’d need to enlist their help) from other guests, and the string quartet could play some Jewish songs, we were on our way. The florist we were working with created a beautiful bridal bouquet and a Chuppah that could be carried via 4 poles to be held by each of the couple’s children. These things were hidden away during cocktail hour and the appetizer course. After pulling the four children from the room while guests were still enjoying their salads, the band was instructed to begin playing the traditional Jewish songs they learned just for the occasion, and the Rabbi changed into his robes.
The music got louder as the Chuppah was moved into the room, and guests began to realize what was happening. As applause and cheers rang out, the flower girl (a young granddaughter) handed the “bride” her bouquet, and the “groom” took his bride to the stage where the Chuppah was set, for what was an emotional and beautiful surprise vow renewal for them and their guests.
After the event, my client told me she felt like a bride all night, and couldn’t wait to relive it all via the photos.
Not necessarily unusual but I'm proud of a 100+person event we planned in less than 4 months across the country.
Not necessarily unusual but I’m proud of a 100+person event we planned in less than 4 months across the country. The couple lived in Utah, with parents in Chicago and beyond. The event was a fusion wedding in California with 7 events in 4 days with full design, planning, logistics, and on-site production included.
The clients hosted multiple ceremonies to pay tribute to each faith while transporting guests around Carmel, California for a Family Celebration Dinner, Sealing Ceremony, Welcome Luncheon Event, Reception, After-Glow, Hilltop Yoga & Hike, and Post-wedding Brunch. From venue selection, vendor curation, full design for each, and guest accommodations and logistics – we kicked into high gear to provide these families with a wedding weekend to remember from start to finish!
Tionna Van Gundy
Wedding Planner & CEO
Wedicity, Chicago, IL
We don't find anything unusual because every client is unique.
Nothing really surprises me so, truly I don’t believe CCE has ever been thrown off. We don’t find anything unusual because every client is unique.
I honestly think all the times clients ask me to do extra things for them is always unusual.
I honestly think all the times clients ask me to do extra things for them is always unusual. Sometimes I wonder if I own an event business or a concierge business. I find this happening a lot with clients who are out of town and are really unfamiliar with the area.
It's not really surprising with the number of food allergies and restrictions there are today, but one attendee of the event...had a very long list of food allergies....
It’s not really surprising with the number of food allergies and restrictions there are today, but one attendee of the event – not the client – had a very long list of food allergies, including a variety of spices. So, trying to work with the facility to be able to accommodate her needs. They were able to fulfill her request, but it was many emails and revisions to her meal before we got there.