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What Your Rental Company Wishes You Knew: Part II

Allison Miller of All Occasions Party Rental shares 15 tips to help ensure a better working relationship between the event client and the rental company.

Be honest—are you being honest with your event rental partner?

The "Rental Essentials" feature in the May-June issue of Special Events will share some of the realities of event rental that your rental vendor wished you knew. Last week, we shared the comments of Delores Crum, CERP, president and CMO [chief motivating officer] for Austin, Texas-based Premiere Events.

Today, we turn to Allison R. Miller, senior marketing director with All Occasions Party Rental, headquartered in Pittsburgh and with operations in Columbus and Cleveland. She and her team came up with these 15 smart tips to help you work better with your rental team:

1) Two 20 x 20 tents do not equal a 40 x 40 tent.

2) Budget. We need to know it. Realistic budgets help us help you with recommendations of inventory if we have realistic expectations. We don't want to make you feel bad by showing $50k options if the budget is really $10k. We can do a lovely job within your budget....but realistic parameters up front save time and heartache!  We want every client to feel good about their choices.

3) No, it’s no problem at all to change your 500 chair pad and 500 chair order from light blue chair pads to dark blue chair pads and white chiavari chairs to gold chiavari chairs the day before your wedding. (Sarcasm.)

4) You don’t need to spend an hour staring at flatware patterns during your appointment. It doesn’t really matter what flatware pattern you choose – dishware and glassware are more important to change your tabletop.

5) You cannot fit 400 people in a 20 x 20 space no matter how you look at it--upside down, backwards, sideways--nothing will make it grow.

6) Just because you see it on Pinterest doesn’t mean we can replicate it at a DIY cost, in a pasture, during sunset, with no rain, on destroyed yet charming farm tables, with mismatching dishware, with fireflies twinkling in the background …

7) Ask the people who load in what the load in time frame is, instead of telling them an entire tractor trailer full of dance floors, staging, chairs, chandeliers, tables and tenting needs to be unloaded in 10 minutes at 5 p.m. on a Saturday.

8) Be sure to limit the amount of items on your table. Stacking dishware, adding glassware, floral centerpieces, napkins, name cards, salt and pepper shakers, and candles can overcrowd your table to the point where you don’t have enough room to eat.

9) Almost always use floor-length linens. Lap-length linens should be used for casual events such as outdoor graduation parties or as an overlay on top of floor-length linens. Use table skirting sparingly--it’s best used on bar kits.

10) While we will do anything we can to help you, we are a rental company that provides added production services. We are not party planners and cannot plan your entire event.

11) Even though we do business together and get along, you are not our only customer. We cannot talk all day on the phone, and I may not be able to immediately respond to your email.

12) Trust us. We like what we do, and we’re kind of good at it. Despite what you may think, we always have your best interest in mind. 

13) How the elements of an event get layered: All vendors should not show up to a venue at the same time to trip over each other on set-up. The same goes for load-out: First in, last out! Communication is key. Production meetings for large events, with all parties participating, avoid big issues on day of set-up.

14) We make recommendations based on specific event and potential conditions that may happen. If even you insist it’s not going to rain on the day of your event, we can’t tell the sun to shine all day. We are not trying to inflate the bottom line, but need to talk about a rain plan! We are your partner and want your event to be successful.

15) We don’t mean to sound nosy when we ask about your menu, but we want to be sure we are offering appropriate serving choices based on what and how your food is being served. We swear, we’re not going to show up and eat your appetizers.

Read the full story in the May-June issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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