When the COVID-19 pandemic triggered global lockdowns in 2020, the event planning industry was particularly hard-hit. Approximately 79.5% of event planners reported significant business losses, while another 6% permanently closed. However, as more people have emerged from their homes thanks to widespread vaccinations, social gatherings are once again the norm.
According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, there will be 2.2 million weddings in 2022 — with 85% of couples embracing one to three COVID-19 preventive measures, such as the following:
- 62% of wedding ceremonies will take place outdoors
- 9% of couples require guests to take a COVID-19 test before the wedding
- About 1 in 3 couples require guests to provide proof of vaccination
Weddings are just one type of event coming back in full force. Corporate parties, fundraisers, and galas are shifting from virtual to in-person.
While the startup of events is great for business, planners must quickly get back into the swing of things. After all, event planning is stressful, especially with a multitude of little details to keep track of, such as choosing the perfect venue and vendors.
With so many moving parts in the event planning process, you wouldn’t want to forget to rent essential equipment. Thankfully, this ultimate event planning rental checklist will help ensure you’ve arranged everything you need for a seamless affair.
Outdoor events necessitate protection from the elements. Seeing as they’re favored in the post-pandemic world, tent rentals should be at the top of your list.
Note how many people and things will have to fit underneath. Will there be a dance floor? How many tables are needed? Depending on where the event is taking place, you may be required to pull permits to pitch the tents.
Also, remember to secure tents to the ground with stakes or inflatable water barrels. If you opt for the latter, elegant covers will make them more attractive.
2. Tables and Seating
Once you have a headcount for the event, you’ll need to rent enough tables and chairs to seat everyone. Round tables are often the best option for fitting the most people into a tight space.
Typically, you can seat about eight people around a 60-inch round table. However, you may be able to fit an additional two people with a table that size.
Although plastic chairs tend to be the least expensive, resin chairs are usually a sturdier, more attractive alternative.
3. Dinnerware and Barware
Let your fantastic caterers do the hard work of preparing delectable dishes for event-goers. Your job is to remember the dinnerware and barware.
You can conveniently rent all of your place-setting essentials – utensils, plates, bowls, water glasses, wine glasses, and highball glassware. Just remember that some rental companies ask that you clean or rinse items before returning them.
If this is the case – particularly for outdoor events – consider where you’ll wash everything off. Otherwise, disposable dinnerware may be a better option.
It’s always important to cover tables with linens, and polyester fabrics often help you save money.
Compare rental and purchasing prices for tablecloths and napkins before deciding what to do. However, if you buy linens, you’ll be responsible for pressing and cleaning them before and after the event.
Generally, a 120-inch round tablecloth will fully drape a 60-inch round table, while a 132-inch tablecloth will puddle at the bottom.
Port-a-potties have a reputation for being uncomfortably small, smelly, and unsanitary. Yet, restroom logistics are a vital consideration for outdoor events and even traditional barn weddings.
Instead, renting a larger two- or four-stall portable restroom trailer with designated facilities for men and women is ideal for an event with 180 guests. Mobile restroom trailers require electric and water sources to function properly, so check the property to decide on the best location.
6. Heating and Cooling
Air circulation has become a critical component of COVID-19 health measures as indoor venue capacity increases.
According to the Event Leadership Institute (ELI), event planners should avoid booking venues with closed-circuit HVAC systems. Also, check to ensure they use level 13 or higher minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) air filters and maintain a humidity range of 50-55%.
Standard floor fans are usually sufficient for heating and cooling outdoor events. However, your venue may have safety limitations on propane tanks and electric heaters. An HVAC technician should be able to tell you the size and type of system you’ll need to rent.
7. Stage and Dance Floor
If the event requires a stage or dance floor, a professional will need to set it up for you.
A rental company can help you determine the size and cost of the stage based on your specifications, such as how high it needs to stand off the ground or how many people must safely stand on it at once.
Likewise, the surface you’re laying a dance floor on, such as gravel or grass, may require a subfloor. This could add a significant amount of money to the rental costs.
8. Lighting, Audio, and Visuals
A corporate event may require a large screen to display a PowerPoint presentation, while a rehearsal dinner might include a slideshow of the happy couple’s relationship. Meanwhile, weddings or milestone birthdays will demand audio and lighting hookups for a DJ or live band.
Consult a technician to determine your event’s appropriate lighting, audio, and visual equipment rentals.
Attendees will look for entertainment regardless of the type of event planned. Renting a sound system will crank up the music and get people on the dance floor.
However, you might also consider renting activities for kids, such as inflatables, games, or rides. Venue property managers may have particular limitations and requirements for these amenities, so always check first. Vendors also must carry insurance to ensure they meet safety standards.
A photo booth with backdrops and props is another popular rental option for event entertainment, providing a fun way for guests to take pictures with friends and family.
Everything You Need for Your Next Big Event
If you’ve been mainly planning virtual events in the past two years, it’s good to have a refresher on what materials you might need. Renting is a great way to go if your venue can’t supply everything. Whatever event you’re planning, you’ll want to make sure you rent everything you need in advance. An event planning rental checklist of essential rental equipment equates to less stress and a perfect occasion.
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, and she enjoys keeping up with the exciting world of event planning and hospitality. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more life, style, and home inspiration.