Angie's List: What should I know when planning a party?
We’re coming up on the season for birthday parties, barbecues, weddings, anniversaries and retirement celebrations. Whether you’re putting together a small event or a huge event, some planning tips can keep your big day from turning into a big disaster. Rental companies and professional party planners in particular can play a major role in pulling off a successful event.
Your party might include renting a venue, a big tent or a bounce house. But no matter which you select, some things never change in the party rental game.
Try your best to book early. You can often net the best rate by planning ahead. You’ll have a wider pick of options, and if you’re planning for the busy season, you might not be able to get a rental at all if you don’t plan ahead.
You’ll have an easier time with your rental if you have your numbers in order ahead of time. The number of people attending, size of the space, and setup time available will all impact your rental options. When you hire, make sure you ask what kind of logistical considerations they’ll require. For instance, if the only entry into the party area is a fence with a relatively slim door, will they have trouble fitting things through?
Make sure you pay close attention to your contract — in particular, what kind of insurance is involved and what liability you assume with the delivery and use of the items. If your rental company says you don’t need to put anything in writing, treat that very skeptically. Any reputable company will have a written contract.
Confirm your reservations several times throughout the planning process, and let your rental company know of any changes. Be aware of the weather as your event approaches. If you’re outdoors, the rental company may have options you’re not aware of in the event of rain.
What to know about party planners
Whether they charge an hourly rate or a flat fee, an event planner can bring order to a complicated situation and take your event from good to great.
First up, they save time. Because planners have a lot of experience, they’ll know about every aspect of the event they need to focus on, from table arrangements to the catering. They’ll certainly know about angles you never considered, and they’ll head off glitches long before they become party fouls.
Also, party planners have all the connections. They’ve worked before with many caterers, DJs, clowns, bands and any other kind of professional you might have in mind. Not only will they be able to book the best people at the best prices, but they can also steer you toward the most reliable options to ensure that your event goes exactly as planned.
Finally, since your planner is handling all the complicated details, managing traffic and coordinating duties and deliveries before and during events, you can enjoy the party yourself, free of the stress and distraction. Plus, they’ll handle the cleanup (and help ensure you get your deposit back for any rentals!).
Paul F. P. Pogue is a reporter for Angie’s List, a provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.