Wedding receptions tend to be relatively similar. You have dinner, dancing and maybe some traditions like cake cutting or tossing the bouquet, all hopefully observing the modern wedding etiquette rules. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you’re looking to shake things up for a wedding your guests will never forget, you’ll be surprised at the kinds of services you can rent.
Hiring bridesmaids for your wedding isn’t nearly as sad as it sounds. Jen Glantz’s Bridesmaid for Hire offers the services of someone who is like a budget-friendly, bride-focused wedding planner and can act as a wedding coach, day-of coordinator or simply a shoulder to cry on about all the wedding planning stresses you can’t control. You can also just hire a few to walk down the aisle and stand with you.
Flowers can get super expensive, but many people find them to be an important aspect due to the tradition and symbolism of flowers at a wedding. There are companies that offer flower rentals, and while the flowers are artificial, they’re lovely all the same.
If you’re looking to really wow your guests in the middle of your reception, hiring a sky dancer sure will do the trick. If there isn’t one locally, aerial dance companies will travel nationwide and choreograph dances for any special songs you and your beloved may have.
Believe it or not, you can rent a cake for your wedding. It won’t be edible, however. Made of foam, it’s purely there for aesthetic reasons and a great way to save money on an elaborate cake that’ll be eaten in just a few hours.
Give your wedding reception an old-school boardwalk vibe with a Ferris wheel for guests to ride in and for your photographer to get lovely snapshots of.
Since a Tennessee dentist invented cotton candy, it’s become a staple of many outdoor events. And if you’re really into that boardwalk theme, you can rent one for your wedding.
Live Wedding Art/Yelp
Why just have a photograph of your first dance when you can get a one-of-a-kind painted portrait? Capture your special moment in a lovely and unexpected way by hiring a painter to paint a particular scene or even just your general reception for you to keep. You might even be able to find someone who isn’t a professional but is very talented with a crafty hobby they make money with on the side.
Regardless of how well-mannered they are, kids can often get restless or rowdy at weddings. You may not want to ban kids altogether, however, in which case hiring a sitter to watch the kids in another room on-site is a great alternative.
Another way to serve guests drinks is with a “strolling table,” which is basically a person wearing an elaborate outfit that surrounds them with an ornate table. Pick a table that goes with your wedding theme or colors and have your table stroll around your reception serving great cocktails or sweet desserts.
It’s your special day, so you deserve to feel like a celebrity. Hire your own paparazzi to give yourself the red carpet treatment and some great photos at the same time.
Believe it or not, if you’re an animal lover, you can actually have a lion, tiger or bear (oh my) make an appearance at your wedding. In fact, elephants and horses are commonly rented for the groom’s procession at South Asian weddings.
For a cute addition to your reception, consider having a petting zoo. Mobile petting zoos typically have chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits and ducks, while some may even have a kangaroo or a miniature cow. For extra cuteness, see if you can get some adorable baby animals too.
Light up the dance floor with an LED robot that’ll help get the party started. Some wedding DJs offer the option of having someone from their crew don this impressive suit and join guests on the dance floor.
If you and your partner met in college, showing your school spirit is a great way to honor your relationship’s roots. Many colleges offer up their mascots for appearances at events, such as Rutgers University’s Scarlet Knight or Penn State’s Nittany Lion.
Zoos are fantastic family fun, and you can bring a bit of that for your guests. Neither your typical petting zoo creature or an impressively intimidating jungle animal, llamas and alpacas are fuzzy, friendly and unbelievably cute. Rent a llama to stand next to you as you say your wedding vows or host your reception.
If you’re considering a destination wedding, you can rent an entire private island for you and your guests. There’s nothing more romantic than saying your vows on a stunning, remote island.
You may think sword swallowers are just something you see at the circus, but many are actually available for hire at private events. Don’t worry about guests struggling to get through some polite small talk — this act will leave them speechless anyway.
It’s popular to pose for pictures with a beautiful backdrop at a wedding, but why not throw it all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries? Silhouette portraits are a stylish and wonderfully vintage idea for wedding favors. A silhouette artist can mingle with guests and cut accurate likenesses of them on a black card for guests to take home.
For the evening’s entertainment, little could be more astounding than watching people literally breathe fire. Hire a group of fire dancers for a performance filled with the mesmerizing sight of people juggling, dancing and fighting with fire.
Laughter is good for you, so give your guests a laugh and a unique wedding favor by hiring a caricature artist who will draw their portraits during the reception. This quirky activity will not only entertain your guests, but it will also give them a token to help them remember your wedding forever.
Dealing with catering can be a headache. Hire your favorite food truck for a much simpler, more streamlined option. Who wouldn’t want a hot dog or a burger at a wedding?
Wedding cakes are nice, but many bakeries have begun to also offer doughnut walls for receptions. It’s something new and fun for dessert, as well as a fantastic excuse to have top-notch doughnuts at your wedding. The doughnuts themselves, of course, would be bought and not rented.
Who doesn’t love the pomp of a sousaphone to celebrate a big occasion? If you and your beloved are band nerds to the bone, or even just enjoy a spectacle, throw a mini-parade in the middle of your reception by hiring a marching band for entertainment.
There are multiple businesses offering up actors to be professional guests at events where hosts want to pack the crowd. Have a full house of people who know how to be good party guests.
If you’re the sort who’s drawn to the charm of underrated small towns and villages, consider renting out an entire village for you and your friends and family. Rent a Village offers lovely locales in Austria, Germany and Switzerland that you can rent for a destination wedding.
Bridal jewelry can be expensive, so it may be worth it to save some money — or divert it to an expensive trip for your honeymoon — by renting yourself some fine jewelry instead of buying it.
Are you and your fiancé huge James Bond fans? Are you crazy about Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga? You (most likely) can’t get a real celebrity sighting on your wedding day, but you sure can get an impersonator to mingle with your guests or perform.
If you have the money and get really excited at the prospect of meeting celebrities, some surprisingly big stars have been known to make appearances for a hefty fee. See if there’s any contact information for their agent or look up companies that arrange celebrity appearances.
If you’re a bookworm, there would be no better place to get married. Many big and historic libraries, such as the main branch of the New York Public Library and Johns Hopkins University’s George Peabody Library, can be rented after hours for those looking to get married in some of the world's most stunning libraries.
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