Creating Extra Space for Your Party

tent-over-deck

Having people over for a party or holiday dinner is so much fun. Sometimes, though, your family and party outgrow your space. A great way to overcome this is to add extra space by tenting your deck or patio.

A deck or patio usually has door access that can help the flow of people. The door can stay opened even in the dead of winter by heating the tent. Even in bad weather a tent can provide extra party space with minimal exposure to the elements.

 

Holiday Party Planning

With parties, decorating, baking and other festivities, the holiday season can be a busy time of year. If you are looking to have a holiday party, plan early before you get over taken by all of the holiday to dos and you will have a blast.

Below are some things to keep in mind while you plan your party.

Venue, date and time

Venue, date and time are important to plan early. You want to give yourself plenty of time to plan before you need to be attending holiday events, wrapping gifts and everything else that goes on during the holiday season. Securing your venue early if you will not be having the party at home (and sometimes even if you are having it at home) will make sure you have your first choice of venue, date and time.

If you are having the party at your home, make sure you have everything you need as far in advance as possible. Things like coat racks can sell or rent out quickly.

This is also the time to decide if you will be having a sit down dinner or a buffet style party. If you are having a sit down dinner remember you have to seat everyone at the same time. If you do not have the tables and chairs to do that, consider renting them early so you know the items will be available.

Invitations

Invitations should be sent out at least 3 weeks prior to the event. During the holiday season it is a good idea to send them out earlier than that so people do not fill their calendars or miss the invitation in the mix of holiday cards.

If your guests will need to bring something such as a gift for a gift exchange or an ugly sweater for a contest you will want to give guests time to get those items ready.

When you are writing out your party invitations, be sure to include all of the following pertinent information so there is no confusion:

  • Date
  • Start and end time
  • Location
  • RSVP information (especially important for a sit down dinner party)
  • Theme if there is one
  • What guests should bring, if anything

Menu

By far the least stressful way to provide food and drinks for a party is to have it catered. If you will be short on time, this is a good route to go.

If, however, you want to do the cooking, plan on making easy things you have made before. This will help eliminate some of the stress. Also, consider making all finger foods and serving the food buffet style. This will eliminate the stress of a large dinner needing to be ready at a certain time and create less clean up after the party.

Another way to reduce the stress of food preparation is to make everything ahead of time and set your oven to 200 degrees to keep everything warm. This also works to keep buffet food warm so you can easily replenish the buffet.

Cocktails are fun, but time consuming as they are made as people want them and one drink at a time. Consider drinks such as punch, wine and beer that can be self-serve. This way you can enjoy your party instead of being a bar tender.

When you are planning your food and drinks, make sure you have enough cups, plates, spoons, forks and knives. If you do not, consider buying plastic wear or renting the items you will need.

Decorating

Lighting is important for any party. Consider turning off overhead lights and use candles and Christmas lights instead. This will create a warm glow for your party.

If you have a theme for your party, make sure to decorate for it. Otherwise, decorate your home for the holidays. This will make for a festive space for your party.

Some theme ideas are:

  • Winter wonderland
  • Green and red
  • White Christmas
  • Ugly sweater party
  • Christmas karaoke night
  • Christmas cast off exchange

Make sure to play holiday music or a holiday/party mix that is appropriate for the feel of the party.

Having some friends come over a few days before the party to decorate will make things easier and make decorating more fun.

Clean

Before the party starts, fill a tub with hot soapy water to put all of the dirty dishes in during the party. This will make them easy to clean the next day and will keep bugs at bay so you do not have to do them right after the party ends.

Place cleaning supplies near the party area for easy access so that spills can be cleaned up right away to prevent stains.

What Your Rental Company Needs From You

Making your event go smoothly is a top priority for your rental company. The more information you can give them up front the better. This will help get you the most accurate quote possible and make the event set up and break down go off without a hitch.

Event Questions

If you are just getting started in the planning process you might not know all the answers to the questions on the below questionnaire and that’s ok. These questions will help you get a clear picture of what you will need and what you need to think about.

Event Information

Some important things to think about are how many people will be invited, venue rules about deliveries/pickups, lighting available and noise policies.

Set-up Questions

It may seem like there are a lot of questions about set-up, but they can be broken down into a few categories of items that need to be discussed.

  • Time frame
    • Is there flexibility with set up or does it have to occur on a certain day or within a certain time frame?
    • When does your event set up start and when does the event actually start?
  • Space
    • What kind of access will be available?
    • What size is the space?
    • Are there any aspects of the space that may need to be addressed (trees, uneven ground, low ceilings, etc.)?
  • Equipment to be set up
    • Some items require special knowledge to set up and will be installed by your rental company. Things such as tables and chairs may be dropped off for you to set up. If you want certain things set up, make sure you communicate that with your rental company early. Also, be aware that some set ups may come with fees. Make sure to ask about any additional costs.
    • Where in your space are things to be installed?

Take Down Questions

There are a few really important pieces of information to coordinate and questions to ask about take down. They are

  • How should the equipment be left for pick up (i.e. dishes scraped, chairs stacked, etc.)
  • Who is responsible for the take down of the equipment?
  • Make sure if there are specific parameters for take down that you communicate them early.
  • When does your event end.

You may not have all the answers when you first contact a rental company but make sure you get as much information together as soon after contacting companies so that you are looking at accurate quotes and can be comfortable with the company you hire.

Planning a Halloween Party

Planning a Halloween Party? Below is the who, what, where, and when of planning.

WHO: Children, adults, all ages?

This question is important to answer first because it will affect the rest of your planning. Time of day, location, and food and drinks may have to change to be kid friendly.

THEME: Halloween is its own theme, but adding a more focused theme for costumes and decorations can be fun. Some ideas include:

  • Ghosts and goblins
  • Zombies
  • Pirates
  • Trick – or – Treat
  • Harry Potter
  • Gothic
  • Monsters

DATE/ LOCATION: Choose the date and location early so you can invite guest and have time to plan everything else. Things like seating and serving food will take some time to plan.

If you are having an outdoor party, consider renting a tent to protect against inclement weather. Whether the party is inside or outside, make sure you have enough tables and chairs for all of the activities and food. Rent anything you need early to ensure everything you need will be available.

FOOD/ DRINKS: Making food and drinks to look like body parts, creepy crawlies and blood can be a lot of fun and add to the atmosphere. Making jello and putting it on top of drinks as a “skin” layer that must be eaten through before you drink is a neat way to add a little creepy and sweet.

INVITATIONS: This is a great place to get creative. You can make cut outs of witches hats, pumpkins, etc. to write the event details on or you can buy invitations that match your theme. Make sure you put an end time, theme and costume information on the invitation to avoid confusion.

DECORATIONS: If you are going to buy your decorations, shop early to make sure that everything you want will be available. Also, have your theme and space in mind when shopping to make sure that everything will fit in your space and go together.

Diming the lights and adding fog will make any Halloween party spookier. Using black lights instead of regular light bulbs will make things glow and cast eerie shadows.

ACTIVITIES: Activities are important for children’s events, but adults have fun with them as well. Some ideas for activities are:

  • Bobbing for apples
  • Costume contest
  • Ghost stories
  • Trick – or – treating
  • Pumpkin decorating

Lighting Considerations for Your Outdoor Event

Lighting is a really important component of your event but often overlooked. Things that you should consider for lighting are

  • time of day of your event,
  • time of year of your event,
  • the look/feel going for,
  • the parking area,
  • if you are having a separate party area, and
  • existing lighting in the area the event is taking place.

Time of Day

If you are having a daytime event you may not need lighting even if your event is under a tent. However, if you are having a night time party you will need to make sure that people can see to party, go to the bathroom and get to their car at the end of the night.

Time of Year

When you do a site visit in the summer at your wedding time keep in mind the sun will go down earlier in the fall/winter. Another thing to keep in mind is daylight savings time. Daylight savings time will change the time the sun goes down so make sure to account for the time change when you are planning your event.

Look/ Feel You Are Going For

The type of atmosphere you are trying to create is going to play a role in the type of lighting you choose.

Bright lights will take away from a romantic setting while low lights may set the wrong tone if you are looking to get a party going on the dance floor.

Parking Area

Will people be able to find cars at the end of the night? Even if there are lights on the outside of the building, going to see how far the lights will illuminate at night is a good idea. This way you can make sure that if you have guests parking far out from the venue lights on the building you can insure they will be able to safely find their car.

Party Area

Will you want a different mood set for the dancing than for dinner and the ceremony? Maybe you will need uplighting that will be turned on later in the event to transform a romantic wedding ceremony and dinner into a dance party. Or maybe you are looking to take a daytime family affair into a nighttime evening of romance.

Existing Lighting in The Area

What type of lighting exists may determine what you can do lighting wise and what you need to worry about. If you are competing with flood lights you may need to decide on using all white lights instead of color that will get washed out.

Whatever the type of event you are creating, make sure to spend some time thinking through the lighting.

How to Install a Moonbounce

When you rent a moonbounce and have it delivered, we install your inflatable. However, if you are picking up the moonbounce from our warehouse you will need to install it yourself. Below is a step by step guide to safely install the inflatable you are picking up. If you have any questions, call us and we will be happy to walk you through the process.

Moonbounce Setup

Bounce safely!

Planning an Outdoor Fall Event

Fall is a great time of year to have a party. Everyone is back from vacation, the weather is cooler and there are a lot of fun reasons to celebrate. This all lends itself to an awesome outdoor bash before the cold and snow settle in. Some reasons to party are

  • Labor Day
  • Fall Harvest
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Back to School
  • End of Summer
  • Football

A lot of these reasons to celebrate lend themselves to themes to make partying even more fun:

  • Labor Day: Red, white and blue
  • Halloween: Costume party; trick-or-treat party
  • Fall Harvest: Pumpkin decorating; corn maze; bobbing for apples
  • Back to School: School colors
  • Football: Team colors

The type of event you are planning will help decide decorations, food, drinks and activities.

Once you determine the why and if or what the theme will be, it is time to compile the guest list. When putting the guest list together, remember only 70-80% of the people you invite will show up. If you have a guest list that is slightly larger than you can comfortably accommodate, it is ok.

With the 70-80% of invitees in mind, now is a good time to decide if you need to rent or borrow tents, tables, chairs, linens, or anything else that is needed for the event.

When you are deciding what you will need for the event, keep in mind fall weather can be unpredictable. It will also be getting dark earlier than it has been. Make sure you are ready for the weather by considering a tent, fans, patio heaters and additional lighting.

For food and drinks, consider having a pot luck. This will take some stress off of you and allow other people to get involved with the planning. Everyone can make their favorite game day dish or traditional holiday dish. You will be surprised with all the new recipes you can collect this way.

If you do not want to have a pot luck, make sure the food you choose can be prepared ahead of time. This will take away some day-of-party stress so you can focus on having fun.

While you are thinking food, make sure you have everything you need to serve the food:

  • Plates
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Silverware
  • Table cloths
  • Serving trays
  • Serving utensils

Next on the list to plan is activities. If you are watching a game, no other activities are required. Otherwise, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Moon bounce/ Inflatables
  • Photo booth and dress up clothes
  • Karaoke
  • Pumpkin painting
  • Scarecrow making
  • Bobbing for apples

If you need day of help for activities, food prep or just an extra set of hands, consider hiring a high school student. They can help take some responsibility off of you but are not as expensive as catering your party or hiring other day-of help.

A few days before the party, clean well so you just have to touch up the day before. Do as much set-up as possible the day before the party so you can kick back and enjoy your party.

Have a grad? Consider a send off party instead of a grad party.

Have a senior this year? Get ready for the grad parties! Graduation parties have become a big thing. The problem is that most graduation parties are May and June so there is a lot of competition for people’s time and attention. Want to ensure more people can make your party? Throw a send off party instead.

What is a send off party?

It is exactly what it sounds like. A send off party in usually held in July or August not long before your graduate leaves for college. The advantage to a send off party is that July and August are less popular times for parties so more people can come and stay your party.

Tips for throwing a send off party

If you do a send off party make sure to do it early enough so that friends have not already gone away to college. Late July or early August is usually a good time for a send off party. If you wait past the second week of August many people may have started going to college already.

If you are going to do a send off party instead of a graduation party make sure to put the invites out at the same time as the grad parties so that people are easy to find and that it gets on people’s calendars before too many summer plans are made.

Whether you choose a graduation party or a send off party, have fun and stay cool!

Pipe and Drape Uses

White Pipe and Drape
White Pipe and Drape

Just to clarify, pipe and drape and draping are different. Draping is usually hung from the ceiling and mostly used for decoration. Pipe and drape is drape that is hung on a framework of metal pipe.

Why use pipe and drape?

There are several reasons to use pipe and drape.

  • Hide doorways, art, etc. that does not match your event
  • Create dressing rooms
  • Create rooms for different activities
  • Backdrop for a ceremony or performance
  • Create booth spaces for an expo
  • Section off a lounge
  • Create an obvious divide in activities

Important things to note

If you are planning on using pipe and drape there are a few things you will need to plan out. The first is how many linear feet do you need? The next being how are you going to configure the sections.This is important for making sure you have enough uprights and bases for the sections. Also, what are you trying to accomplish with the pipe and drape? If you are making dressing rooms you will need to have more drapes per section to make sure the drape is dark enough to block everyone’s view. If  you are creating booth spaces you probably do not need as many panels of drape on each section since you do not need to block the view entirely.

No matter what style and use you plan for pipe and drape, having diagrams to give the rental company is always a good idea. This will make sure that you get exactly what you need.

 

How do you keep food cold at a BBQ?

Summer brings heat which can be great for parties (especially pool parties) but not so good for food. Keeping food cold can be a problem but there are some DIY things you can do and some products you can use to keep things cold.

DIY Options

Kiddie Pool Full of Ice

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Bowls inside of bowls filled with ice

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Product Options

Prodyne ICED Dip-on-Ice Stainless-Steel Serving Bowl

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Inflatable Buffet

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While these options will help keep food cold it will still need to be refreshed frequently. When in doubt, throw it out. Even if the food has been on ice don’t save food that has been out for more than a few hours.