Life is a special occasion

TOTW : Special Events At Home

For over two months, Lauren Daversa Events has been examining the different elements that go into throwing an event at a private house. This five part TOTW series has covered the logistical issues associated with parking; the importance of understanding household capacity; the not so pretty topic of restrooms and cleaning; and now the series has reached the fourth and most critical segment: rental needs.

Undoubtedly, rentals can be almost as expensive, in some cases more expensive than the food and beverage for an event. Depending on the type of event being planned, rental needs can include, but certainly are not limited to:

  1. Tables
  2. Chairs
  3. Tents
  4. Draping
  5. Lighting
  6. Flooring
  7. Dance Floor
  8. Heaters/Air Conditioners
  9. Tableware
  10. Linens/Chair Covers
  11. Bathrooms
  12. Decorations
  13. Staging

Pretty overwhelming, right? When you determine exactly what you need to make the event work, all of a sudden the perfect at-home wedding looks like a money pit. Securing rentals is one area where an inexperienced renter can be taken advantage of by the time the deposit is put down. This is also an area where having an experienced wedding planner really helps.

First, an event planner is educated in the cost of rental items, the labor involved to set them up and break them down, they know which companies are professional with good, well maintained products and which companies are just bad news! An event planner will also get a better price than the average customer. They work with these companies on a regular basis, they are not a one time shopper. Therefore, the rental company offers them discounted prices.

Don't beat yourself up if you're not working with an event planner. Have the rental company to the site of the event for a site inspection and ask LOTS OF QUESTIONS. Don't be intimidated. Ask them why they are proposing the specific tent size and have them mark the space off on your lawn. Get their input on unexpected weather because - note to self - unexpected weather changes everything. Will the tent withstand wind and rain? How about the land? Is the land level where you want to put the tent? Or, might you need flooring? And those gold chivari chairs you broke the bank for, they certainly cannot get wet. If it rains, will the lawn become a mud pool? How about an unexpected heat wave, or cold front. Do they have heaters, air conditioners or fans? Ask them what they suggest for a Plan B. Then do your homework and research what they are proposing.

When you receive their quote, go through it, line by line. Ask what their less expensive options are. You might not need the highest price china. Make sure you are getting what you need and want and that they are not burning a hole through your pocket. And always make sure you have everything agreed upon in writing. When you know what you need...check with your other vendors. The caterer will definitely be able to supply a lot of your rental needs.

Yes, you'll need to rent everything: tables, chairs, china, dinnerware, napkins, linens, settings, barware, portable restrooms, a tent, lighting, draping, flooring. It's enough to make your head spin. However, take it step by step. Determine what you need, who has it and how much. Go with reputable companies, read the contract and you're all set! Remember, hosting any special event is all about being prepared. Hosting a special event at home means you have to go above and beyond to ensure your event is a success.

This is a five part posting. Check back next week for the final post on Electrical Capacity.

Photo courtesy of Top Hat Party Design

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