Author Archives: aparkin

Dark Wood Farm Tables – York, ME

Tracey B Photos

What could be better for a seacoast wedding than a breathtaking Sailcloth Tent overlooking Maine’s wonderous coastline? York Harbor, Maine is an amazing choice for anyone who enjoys the sea breeze and charming feel of the east coast. This sailcloth tent allows for natural light to shine elegantly through its fabric. When it gets dark and the dancing ensues, the café lighting strung throughout the tent, along with the onion lights on each center pole, light up the night and allow for a warm, cozy feel. Our dark wood farm tables help to accentuate a rustic theme and go well with the neutral tones chosen for this event. Continue reading

Create weddings that dazzle

I would like to take a moment before we look at this week’s featured article by Joanna Baymiller to thank the loyal supporters of this blog. It gives us great pleasure to bring you these timely bits of information every Wednesday  in hopes of making your event a more memorial, smooth running and celebrated experience. We would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas especially ideas on subjects that you would like us to cover. The subjects we talk about are near and dear to our hearts. We have a staff of professionals that have produced 100’s of creative, successful events using may of the ideas talked about in this article, so you don’t have to go it alone. Need advice or help please contact us we are always ready to help. After all, dazzling weddings under an elegant sail cloth tent is our specialty. So call us today you’ll be glad you did.

I hope you enjoy the article!

Don’t Feed The Blogger!!!!

The best  part, for me, of being a guest at a wedding? Other than celebrating the big day with the happy couple of course is, the food. I can never seem to get enough. A good caterer can make or break the wedding reception so here are a few great tips offered up by Bride Magazine that are tried and true. There are three important sections to this post along with a valuable work sheet at the end that you can down load and take with you on your quest for the perfect caterer. Oh one last thing… did I mention I am a great wedding guest? Bon Appetite!!!

 

Research first

Book your reception site before hiring a caterer. Keep in mind that many banquet halls have exclusive (or “preferred”) relationships with in-house caterers, which may limit your ability to work with an outside company. Check before you interview outsiders.

Menu matters

Plan to set up your menu at least six months in advance. If you’re marrying during peak wedding season (June-October) you may have to order it even sooner, especially if you want a big-name caterer.

Seek out referrals

Ask friends and family for recommendations, and talk to brides in your area. Once you find a caterer you like, speak to satisfied brides and ask for references before you sign a contract.

Set priorities

If having a large number of people at your reception is important to you, scale back on the refreshments. On the other hand, if gourmet food is a priority, then keep your guest list to a manageable size or restrict your bar offerings to wine and beer.

Buffet or banquet

Do you want a five-course dinner menu with individual wine pairings? Or is a barbeque buffet more in keeping with your wedding theme? Consider your personal style to determine what will work best for you.

Special requests

Are there dietary needs (vegetarian, kosher) to consider? Make sure your caterer has experience preparing these types of dishes.

Set the scene

Bring in photos of your dress, reception site, and flowers—anything that will give your prospective caterer a better sense of the type of reception you have in mind.

Tasting time

If the caterer is offering a complimentary sampling, be sure to clear the number of people you can bring beforehand.

How to save money

Daytime affair

Opt for a wedding brunch or luncheon reception instead of dinner, which is typically much more expensive.

Cocktail hour

Skip the full meal and celebrate with tasty refreshments instead—an option that works best for a celebration after a 2 p.m. ceremony (not dinnertime). Or host an afternoon tea or a late afternoon/early-evening cocktail reception.

Course cutting

If you have your heart set on a seated meal, cut back the number of courses from five to three.

Smaller selection

Ask guests to select their meal preferences on the RSVP cards so caterers can plan ahead, or choose a pasta or protein dish that you think has the broadest appeal.

Top quality

Keep the menu simple and focus on quality ingredients. Ask your caterer to use in-season produce from local farms.

Kid friendly

Order an inexpensive kids’ menu for the children’s table at your reception. Chances are they’d much rather have a cheeseburger and fries than foie gras, anyway.

BYOB

See if your caterer will let you bring your own liquor. (Be sure to ask about corkage fees.)

The basics

Limit your bar offerings to wine and beer. Liquor (especially premium bands) can add a wallop to your bar tab.

Size matters

Keep your guest list to a manageable number.

What to include in your contract

  • The date, time, length and location (include specific room or hall) of the reception.
  • The date by which you need to supply the caterer with a final headcount.
  • Type of food service (buffet, cocktail reception, seated meal).
  • Your approved menu and courses.
  • Alcohol arrangements: Does your caterer have a liquor license? Can you supply your own wine? Will there be a corkage fee? What brands and vintages will they be serving? Can you return unopened bottles? Will there be an open bar? (If so, specify the hours.)
  • Server specifics, including staff-to-guest ratio and dress code.
  • The cost of renting equipment, silverware, glassware and linens.
  • Arrangements for feeding other wedding vendors (photographer, band, planner).
  • The name of the banquet manager who will be overseeing the reception.
  • Price quotes for food and maximums on unforeseen menu expenditures; cancellation and overtime fees; deposit and refund policies; payment schedule; extra fees including gratuities and sales tax; and the total estimated cost.

What to Ask…

Choosing the right vendor comes down to asking the right questions.

Click for a printable worksheet to take to your appointments.

So you think your job’s tough?

So you think your job’s tough?

New Hampshire offers some very unique challenges in the tent rental business. Challenges with wind at the seacoast, granite everywhere in the ground and now floods from Nashua to Manchester and all around the Concord area… work can be a challenge! I read this article that appears in the latest issue of intent magazine about a tent rental company in western Canada and was comforted by the fact that things are the same no matter where you go.  The article outlines some of the same challenges and solutions Exeter Events and Tents faces every day and addresses the daily obstacles we all face, from overcoming not only work challenges but the struggles with the current economy and some of the unique solutions we found in common.

Alberta & British Columbia are beautiful and challenging locations to be in the tent rental business

InTents | April 2010

. Photo courtesy of All Occasions Party Rentals Inc.

Surrounded by mountains, lakes, ski resorts and wineries, the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, is a beautiful—and challenging—location to be in the tent rental business.

“I am sure our plight is no worse than many others, but we do live in a valley on a lake with rocky and sandy shores and mountaintop houses where the soil is bulletproof,” says Dwayne Ranson of All Occasions Party Rentals Inc. of Kelowna. “Not to mention a very high USPSF (my technical term for underground sprinklers per square foot!) as our climate is very arid.”

In Alberta, tent renters contend with a short season due to extreme winters. “Rentals usually start in April and end in October,” says Averill Torrieri, marketing manager for Special Event Rentals of Edmonton. “Rates are typically a bit higher here than warmer climates due to the fact that our rental season is only six to seven months long.”/p>>
Ranson says that his company uses only frame and clearspan tents, engineered and on adjustable legs to deal with irregular ground.

“Tents that can’t stand up in the wind are of no value to us,” Ranson says. “We would prefer to have tents that go up and come down quickly but have chosen to go with tents that are more structurally sound for the added measure of safety and peace of mind they provide.”

Both Ranson and Torrieri note that one positive to the downturned economy is a favorable labor supply.

“Being an oil-producing province, our labor supply can be very volatile;

when oil prices are up, quality labor is hard to find,” says Torrieri. “That said, with the recession affecting all of us  more people are looking for work and, as a result, we have been able to reduce the overinflated wages we were forced to pay when oil was high.”

The challenging economy has motivated Special Event Rentals to discern where inefficiencies lie and employ new systems to address them. The company installed a Teeco tent washer in January, which will reduce cleaning labor costs by 50 percent, Torrieri says.

All Occasions Party Rentals also is approaching the recession as an opportunity.

“Now is the time to bargain hard for future space, invest in not-so-used equipment at a fraction of the new cost, train your people and entrench yourselves with your customers and suppliers,” Ranson says. “When the good times come back, we are striving to be in a better position to build our brand and expand our client base.”

So you think your job’s tough?

New Hampshire offers some very unique challenges in the tent rental business. Challenges with wind at the seacoast, granite everywhere in the ground and now floods from Nashua to Manchester and all around the Concord area… work can be a challenge! I read this article that appears in the latest issue of intent magazine about a tent rental company in western Canada and was comforted by the fact that things are the same no matter where you go.  The article outlines some of the same challenges and solutions Exeter Events and Tents faces every day and addresses the daily obstacles we all face, from overcoming not only work challenges but the struggles with the current economy and some of the unique solutions we found in common.

Alberta & British Columbia are beautiful and challenging locations to be in the tent rental business

InTents | April 2010

. Photo courtesy of All Occasions Party Rentals Inc.

Surrounded by mountains, lakes, ski resorts and wineries, the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, is a beautiful—and challenging—location to be in the tent rental business.

“I am sure our plight is no worse than many others, but we do live in a valley on a lake with rocky and sandy shores and mountaintop houses where the soil is bulletproof,” says Dwayne Ranson of All Occasions Party Rentals Inc. of Kelowna. “Not to mention a very high USPSF (my technical term for underground sprinklers per square foot!) as our climate is very arid.”

In Alberta, tent renters contend with a short season due to extreme winters. “Rentals usually start in April and end in October,” says Averill Torrieri, marketing manager for Special Event Rentals of Edmonton. “Rates are typically a bit higher here than warmer climates due to the fact that our rental season is only six to seven months long.”

Ranson says that his company uses only frame and clearspan tents, engineered and on adjustable legs to deal with irregular ground.

“Tents that can’t stand up in the wind are of no value to us,” Ranson says. “We would prefer to have tents that go up and come down quickly but have chosen to go with tents that are more structurally sound for the added measure of safety and peace of mind they provide.”

Both Ranson and Torrieri note that one positive to the downturned economy is a favorable labor supply.

“Being an oil-producing province, our labor supply can be very volatile;

when oil prices are up, quality labor is hard to find,” says Torrieri. “That said, with the recession affecting all of us  more people are looking for work and, as a result, we have been able to reduce the overinflated wages we were forced to pay when oil was high.”

The challenging economy has motivated Special Event Rentals to discern where inefficiencies lie and employ new systems to address them. The company installed a Teeco tent washer in January, which will reduce cleaning labor costs by 50 percent, Torrieri says.

All Occasions Party Rentals also is approaching the recession as an opportunity.

“Now is the time to bargain hard for future space, invest in not-so-used equipment at a fraction of the new cost, train your people and entrench yourselves with your customers and suppliers,” Ranson says. “When the good times come back, we are striving to be in a better position to build our brand and expand our client base.”

Tales From the Web | Green Sustainability is a commitment

In the coming months I will be guest blogging on subjects that I find of interest from the web. These articles will cover all aspects of the corporate, wedding and outdoor event business. I will try to post timely, relevant and most importantly, interesting topics. My first is a story that was written by Joanna Baymiller appearing in intentsmag.com back in December. Joanna is a fine writer and is a tents magazine go to source for industry information. Continue reading