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Event Rentals 101

January 11th, 2012 by Jeannine

Event Rentals 101

If your wedding isn’t in a hotel or a restaurant, rest assured, you’ll be placing an order with an event rental company, and it can take a big chunk out of your budget. Rentals are integral to putting on an event and it’s important to know the in’s and out’s of this business in order to make informed decisions. I decided to have a chat with Dave Jackson, Senior Account Manager at Lonsdale Event Rentals. Dave’s clientele includes weddings of different sizes and larger scale events like galas at the legendary Commodore Ballroom. Here’s what I learned about the business…

Event Rentals vs. Decor Rentals

There is a difference between these two. Event/party rental companies focus more on the basics & bulk items like tables, chairs, dishes, cutlery, glassware, serving stations, practical things like that. Decor rental companies focus more on aesthetics like fabric draping, linens, candelabras, or elements for centerpieces. Depending on your venue, you may have to use two different rental companies to dress up your event.

The Rental Process

Before you fill in the order sheet, know how big your guestlist will be. Dave recommends to reserve enough items for your total guestlist. If your initial guest count is 100 but a week before the wedding, it reduces down to 90, it’s usually not a problem to take away 10 items. Check your rental company’s policy on making order revisions. At Lonsdale Event Rentals, 48 hours before event date is the deadline. Items are usually charged on a 3-day or per weekend basis.

An important thing to note is that event rental companies don’t normally set up your items, this is your catering company’s responsibility. The rental company will deliver all the items to your venue and at the end of the event, pick everything up. Don’t worry, they do all the cleaning! It’s as simple as that!

How To Cut Costs With Party Rentals

Rental costs vary depending on the size of the wedding. It can be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as $5,000! But Dave says there are ways to keep the bill down.

There are two ways of working with event rental companies: your caterer will contact the company on your behalf or you can approach them independently. It’s common for caterers to handle all your rental needs but if you prefer to do it yourself, try to find caterers who will be flexible. Maybe the caterer can handle the rentals of everything food-related like dishes, cutlery, glassware, serving utensils and containers while you can handle everything else like table, chair or linen rentals?

If you can sacrifice style, you can save money on rentals… besides, a white plate is a white plate right? The fancier the item, the more it will cost so it’s up to you to decide if you can justify this extra expense, your guests may not even notice the difference!

As with all rental companies, delivery charges will apply so see if the company you choose has a promotion that gives you free pick-up and delivery for your event if you hit a target amount. At Lonsdale Event Rentals, free pick-up and delivery is given to any order over $248. Don’t forget to check if after hours rates apply, just so there are no surprises when you finally see your bill!

If your event is on a stat holiday, you may be subject to pay extra for delivery or pick-up since the company needs to pay their workers extra. If your venue will let you leave rentals there til the next day, you can schedule your pick-up then without having to pay extra for the stat.

Loss and breakage can add to the bill, and accidents do happen. To help prevent this, at the end of the night, assign someone to sort out all the rental items and count to make sure nothing is lost or left behind.

What to Look For in a Rental Company

  • Great Customer Service – Find out if the company you choose is reputable. Ask for references, even call caterers and ask why they choose to work with certain companies. Any feedback is important. Keep in mind that just because caterers work with one rental company and not another, it doesn’t mean that that company is bad, they may just have a better relationship with their chosen business partner.
  • Quality Rental Items – See if you’re able to preview the items that you are going to rent. Rental companies, including Lonsdale Event Rentals, normally have showrooms where you can see samples of their wares. They may even have mock table setups so you can see their items “in action.” A good question to ask is how often they get rid of old stock because wear and tear is inevitable. You’ll want to get the best quality you can for your money.
  • Compensation – Ask them what they would do in case they don’t have enough pieces for your order, or if something is damaged. If they don’t have enough stock, Dave says he will give suggestions on what to replace it with. For damaged items, if they can bring in a replacement to your venue that same day, they can. It’s always a good idea to figure out a Plan B so you’re not stuck with damaged rentals.

I want to thank Dave Jackson for sharing his knowledge with us. Feel free to check out Lonsdale Event Rentals’ showroom in North Vancouver and see what they’ve got!

 Photos provided by Lonsdale Event Rentals and Vancity Bride

Note: I was informed that Dave Jackson has moved on from Lonsdale Events – for inquiries, contact events@lonsdaleevents.com

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