Special Events
Top Tables

Top Tables

“ANY size party, banquet, conference or festival routinely uses folding tables,” says Craig Clarke, vice president of Lexington, Ky.-based PS Event. New trends in the shape, design and components of portable tables mean more options for embellishing events.

ALL SHAPES AND SIZES

When asked about developments in portable tables, table suppliers report a rise in the popularity of both square and serpentine tables. And the reason for using unusual shapes goes beyond aesthetics. Sales manager John Frantz of Chino, Calif.-based table maker California Table Manufacturing Co. notes, “More people can be seated around a square table {than a round table}, and it's a simple change that can set your special event apart.” Serpentine tables are Orlando, Fla.-based Unique Option's most popular table choice, reports director of sales Kristie Blunck. The serpentine shape “is versatile and can be configured in a round, serpentine or ‘S’ shape and can easily be maneuvered around obstructions and in odd-shaped places,” she says.

CUSTOM CHARM

With custom builds, table suppliers satisfy the event industry's demand for unusual tables with details tailored to the needs of different events. For instance, PS Event makes tables specifically for chocolate fountains, Clarke notes. The company also offers children's tables with room to grow. PolyBrite, a line of kid-friendly tables in red, blue, green and yellow, boasts adjustable legs to accommodate toddlers and teens. California Table Manufacturing offers a grown-up version of adjustable-height tables. Frantz explains that banquet tables are often used for food prep, even though the tables traditionally are too low for this task. As a quick fix, planners have stuck pieces of PVC pipe on each leg to raise the table to a more comfortable level. California Table Manufacturing now offers “the option of adjustable height legs on any of our tables to help resolve these issues,” Frantz says.

The new catering table from Minneapolis-based Sico America has a “durable surface” for serving food, says corporate marketing manager Nancy Clark. Table tops come in a choice of a granite composite top or a laminate top with wood trim, Clark says. “The granite top table will take up to 570 degrees {Fahrenheit} of heat.”

Southern Aluminum, based in Magnolia, Ark., offers the Scissor table, which folds in half for easy transport: “The tabletop flips vertically, and the bottom pedestal legs scissor together so that the pedestal becomes a flat unit,” says company representative Amanda Blanchard. Requiring “minimal space” to store, the Scissor table shows how table manufacturers strive to design their tables to serve the event industry. As Frantz says, “If you can think it up, we will try to build it.”

COVER UP

Although most tables benefit from a topper of beautiful linen, the Swirl table, new from Southern Aluminum, is “a unique tabletop finish that incorporates a swirl pattern etched into the aluminum tabletops,” Blanchard explains. “This eliminates the need for linens and saves our customers money.”

Blunck also suggests using tables without linen. “Finished tables in a variety of materials,” from steel to bamboo, are a “more versatile option” for event decor, she says. “Clients should compare the cost of renting an unfinished table that needs a cover to dress it up versus a finished table that gives a stronger decor impact.”

MAKE IT LAST

“Using duct tape to secure the corner of your table in place is not quality,” Blanchard says wryly. To ensure durability, Southern Aluminum uses aluminum to prevent eroding table edges, while PS Event's “C” channel-edged plywood tables “have virtually eliminated the repair and maintenance costs of fixing exploded corners on tables,” Clarke says.

New table construction results in tables that are more durable and easier to transport. The new lightweight plywood available in the 100 and 200 series from PS Event “are now 10 percent to 15 percent lighter {and} … comparable in weight to plastic tables while delivering superior durability,” Clarke says. Lighter weight tables “make setup and take-down easier, quicker and quieter,” Blanchard says. “Setting up tables should be the easiest part of an event, not the one you dread the most.”


RESOURCES

California Portable Party Sales (distributor of California Table Manufacturing Co. products), 800/641-9960; PS Event, 800/762-0415; Sico America, 800/328-6138; Southern Aluminum, 800/221-0408; Unique Option, 217/877-2492

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