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The Well Equipped Wedding Couple

Autumn Rhea Carpenter


Depending on choice of venue, today’s couples can transform a basic reception site into a truly dramatic, customized space. Tabletop flatware and glassware, linens, lighting, tents, flooring, seating and fountains are a few creative options that will temporarily alter the look of a space. Wedding rental equipment companies offer extensive choices tailored for customers various needs. Couples should conduct research to determine the types of rental equipment required for their venue. If a couple can dream it, they can probably rent it as easy as purchasing it.

Tables & Chairs

If the reception site does not include tables and chairs, there are several options to consider. If the couple is serving a full meal, tables and chairs must be provided for every guest. For cocktail receptions, only 30 to 50 percent of seating is required. Caterers and reception site mangers should be able to provide advice for the location. “The headcount and room layout are the most important initial issues to think about,” said Paula Whitlock, sales representative at Marquee Event Group. The most common chairs for wedding receptions are white wooden or plastic chairs and the most requested tables for receptions are round tables. The most popular head table arrangement is several rectangular tables placed end-to-end to seat the entire wedding party on one side, facing the guests. Contact various party rental suppliers to determine the various types they carry and the price ranges. (Don’t forget to include the cost of delivery and set-up for.) The Marquee Event Group offers a broad selection of chairs such as bar stools, conference chairs, garden chairs, Chivari chairs and folding chairs as well as tables in several shapes, including round, rectangular, square and specialty shapes.

Flatware & Linens

Tabletops should flow with the wedding’s theme, with careful consideration of flatware, glassware and linens. For a sit-down served reception meal, tables are usually set with a white or colored cloth, a centerpiece, and place settings. At a less formal buffet reception, tables may be covered with a cloth, but place settings are not required. Plates and silverware is usually located at the buffet table. Basic issues to consider include the flatware’s pattern, design, material, size and serving pieces. Premiere Party Central offers a broad range of items for the table top, including basic china, premium china (Galaxy, Espree, Roma Platinum, Ivory Gold Band), designer china (Fiesta, Blue Enamel, Venice) and specialty china (Red & Black Halo Square, Amethyst and Lime Zeus, Martinique). Flatware ranges from basic dinner forks to specialized soup spoons. The same broad choices span the glassware category with simple champagne flutes to crystal wine glasses. Most caterers include buffet pieces in their packages. If this is not the case, many wedding equipment rental companies provide this service. Some items Marquee Event Group offers include cake risers, specialty trays, ceramic platters, punch bowls and silver trays. The company’s rentable chafing dishes range from stainless steel and brass to copper and silver.

Linens set the reception’s tone by stylishly covering bare tables and chairs. Each pattern and style reflects the couple’s tastes in satins, lace, organza, damasks, beaded fabrics and suede. Glass, metal, ceramic and stone tabletops instead of linens are also gaining popularity. Each company provides different services, so couples must do their homework. The Marquee Event Group offers various services such as napkin folding, shipping, sash tying, custom linens and linen installation. “Bows are definitely out,” said Whitlock of Marquee Event Group. “Brides are choosing more creative ways to tie sashes such as the woven flip knot and the looped flip because they are great accent pieces,” she said. “Sashes are reasonably priced, and add a splash of color without much effort. Color trends include more use of silvers, yellows and purples.” The current economy has affected the wedding industry, with some couples choosing more budget-conscious rental options. We’ve noticed more couples planning their own weddings and choosing the less expensive china and linens. People are definitely more money conscientious.

Tents & Canopies

Weather should always be calculated into the outdoors reception equation. This outdoor protection from the sun and rain are available in several colors and sizes. Marquee Tents, as well as Premiere Tents & Events, provide several tent types, including a frame canopy, marquee tent, pole tent and the structure tent. Each product caters different sized events and can be customized to the client’s needs. Lighting Lighting is another element that adds depth and dimension to an event. It is the one element that connects all of the various aspects of the event; lighting creates the emotion and mood. Florists, event planners and site coordinators often have contacts with lighting specialists. Locating a company that has previously worked the reception site is recommended, so that the couple can view portfolio examples of the redesigned space.

Many lighting specialists have backgrounds in theatre arts and apply the same technology and techniques to their weddings. For an evening reception, couples should visit the reception at least once when it’s dark outside. Assess the room, the fixed lighting focus, whether dimmers are available for the overhead lights and if fluorescent lights can be kept off. Check that service doors will be kept closed so that the extra light won’t ruin the desired effect. Before calling a lighting designer, plan ahead. Know the theme, colors, lighting budget, table placements and guest headcount and amount of available electricity. Lingo Pin spot: A focused beam of light that shines directly onto an object, such as a wedding cake, to create a highlight effect. Gobos: Circular stencils that are placed over a light to project a design or pattern. Popular gobo designs are monograms, dates, or any other wedding themes. Light-emitting diodes (LED): These lights are currently popular because they require much less electricity (and don’t get as hot) than regular, incandescent light bulbs. They can often be wireless, providing more discreetness. LEDS are vibrant and work well for accent lighting purposes. Color wash: A few different types of light fixtures can create a ‘wash’, which is a blanket of colored light covering an entire area. When using colored lights, choose those that complementary tones, such as magenta or soft rose. “Grooms often appreciate this aspect of the wedding planning process, and enjoy learning about the various lighting options we offer,” said Bryan Azur of ILIOS Lighting. “When I start spouting technical terms, the groom usually gets more excited, knowing that the wedding isn’t all about flowers and lacy fabrics.”

The lighting style should blend well with the wedding’s overall scheme. For example, a rustic, outdoor affair could be lit with votive candles hung from an iron chandelier. A more formal event is an opportunity to emphasize special architectural details with accent lighting.

Sound & Dance Floor

Couples should ask the DJ or sound system engineer what type of equipment is included in the package and what should be rented. While music stylings may be included, the amplifiers, extra microphones and strobe light could cost you extra. If a dance floor is not available on site, the couple should ask if adding a rented version is allowed. Engineered (temporary) stages and dance floors can be installed with various sizes, heights and configurations, depending on the venue. “We’re now offering a white vinyl dance floor that is completely different from the standard black and white parquet floors,” said Whitlock. “Its clean finish looks sharp when a couple’s logo is shot onto it.” With so many outdoor venues available in Central Texas, movable dance floors have gained in popularity. More outdoor dance floors are renting to couples who host their receptions at one of the many super venues in Austin or in the Hill. We can easily install a sound system and weather-proof oak parquet floor. We can set up dance floor capabilities just about anywhere!

Miscellaneous Candelabras, punch bowls, grills, chocolate fountains, margarita machines and heaters are items that might not appear on a standard wedding plan, but could be the missing piece in a couple’s quest for their ideal event. The most important thing is to find a reputable rental equipment company that offers both quality and reasonable pricing, and is willing to work with you to achieve the wedding events of your dreams.  

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