Planning an event is fun but does need a level of attention to detail. Of course, the format and style of the event will drive what you need. Much like when you’re planning your glass hire or you’re ordering your table linen, the event that you’re organising will dictate what it is that you need.
One area that you really must get right (as it’s much harder workaround on the day), is the event furniture. Hiring event furniture will bring up all sorts of questions for you and a few common challenges too, so we thought we’d quash as many of those for you as we can.
Have a read through our helpful pointers to help you decide what furniture you need to hire for your event and get your event planning thinking focused on the right areas. We’ve been hiring equipment for events for over 20 years so if you do need more help after reading this, pick up the phone and contact us. We’ll happily discuss your options and offer guidance if you’d like it.
What event are you planning?
Firstly, what is the event? This will dictate a lot of the decisions you need to make. A wedding is different from a dinner party and an anniversary party is a far cry from stand-up networking with a buffet.
What’s the aim of the event and what will happen during it? What’s the plan?
Here are a few things to think about:
- A wedding has a reception, dinner, and evening furniture needs.
- A stand-up buffet needs no tables for seating, but you still need chairs and buffet tables. Plus, some people may prefer to have the option to sit down.
- A networking event may need very few tables, but an awards dinner will need tables, chairs, pedestal tables, bar stools and more.
Think about your event, consider your guests’ requirements, look at the plan for the entire occasion and then map out each stage and consider what furniture you’ll need for each.
We’ll give you a helping hand…
What furniture will you need for the reception?
Most events will have a reception. Heck, some events are just a reception. This is where you meet and greet and welcome your guests. How does that pan out and what are you planning on doing for your guests? This will nearly always have an implication on the furniture hire.
Will there be drinks on arrival?
Tables will be needed to glass up the drinks, no matter what they are. You might need a bar for this. You may need some occasional tables for resting empty glasses on. You might even need to have some outside seating for your marquee.
What season is it?
Will there be bulky winter coats to hang up? Consider hiring a coat rail as this will save your guests from feeling awkward about carrying their coats or simply draping them over the chairs and ruining any ambience.
Food on arrival?
Are you having canapes or a small buffet? Tea and coffee? Consider what you’ll need to present and serve the reception refreshments. Your caterer will most likely handle this, but often the ‘public’ section of this is over to you. (They’ll often create it and serve it, leaving you in charge of presenting it).
Is your event a dinner, awards evening, or wedding breakfast?
Now you need to work out what that means for your furniture. What happens after the reception? What do the guests need to do and where will they go?
Firstly, you’ll need to do a headcount to order your tables and chairs.
Then you’ll need to know what you’re ordering for. This will often be for a sit-down meal, so then work with the size of the room or marquee to decide how you’re going to fit the guests in the room and what the sizes of the tables will be.
You can order smaller tables to fit more in if you’re struggling for space, but bear in mind that you’ll get fewer people around them.
Here’s a guide to table sizes versus seating numbers:
- 12 people comfortably sit around a 7’ round table.
- 10 people can sit around a 6’ round table.
- 9 will be comfortable at a 5’6” round table.
- And just 5 people can sit around a 5’ round.
This can make or break a dinner. Get it wrong and everyone is crammed in and banging elbows when they’re trying to butter their bread. Or worse, you don’t have enough seating, or the catering staff can’t get around the tables. This will slow down your dinner and cause your event to run over. It’s really important to ensure that your guests can fit in, be seated, and then be served with ease.
One really simple way to do this visually is to create newspaper tables. Get some newspapers and create a table (7,6,5.6, or 5’ round) and lay them out so that you can actually see how the tables fit.
Don’t forget that you’ll actually need to do this to accompany chairs and enable people to be able to get out from their seat (and the chap behind them at the same time!). Remember that some people at weddings will have babies or young children who may need high chairs or other seating.
You can plan out the arrangements on a plain lawn long before the marquee arrives and in any village hall or large stadium venue.
Yes it’s old school, but it’s simple and effective and will minimise the risk of any surprises.
What furniture do you need to hire for the kitchen?
If your event is in a marquee then you’ll need to ‘build’ a kitchen and you may well get a list of requirements from your caterer.
At Plato Hire, we have a range of kitchen equipment for hire, but with the furniture you will most likely need to hire some trestle tables which range from a 6’ wooden trestle table to a 6’ stainless steel prep table.
The kitchen may also need tables for reception canapes, evening buffet, and the cake (if it’s a wedding or birthday or anniversary). Work with your caterer (if you’re not a caterer) and get clear on who’s hiring what. Most caterers will give you a list of furniture needed if they’re not handling it all themselves.
Evening drinks or bar?
Lights down and music up? The DJ may need a table or two and the bar could probably do with some bar stools, too. You can find barstools and poseur tables here.
What does the evening look like? Are you offering evening guests a buffet? If so, you’ll need tables. Will there be alfresco drinking and chatter? Will you hire some outside garden furniture? Have you considered what will happen if there’s inclement weather?
You need to visualise the evening and see what your guests will do and what you’d do in their situation. The needs and actions of your guests will drive the furniture hire list.
Ready to get started?
To help you start, here are the main areas of furniture hire on our site:
Then all you need to do is add them to your order like this:
1. Select the number of tables and chairs you need.
2. Add any other furniture you might want.
3. Add them to your quote.
4. Submit your quote and we’ll be in touch to discuss it with you.
We can change anything you added and add more if you need it, when we’ve discussed your requirements and made sure you have everything you need.
We’ll always ask the right questions so we can give you the best service and ensure you get exactly what you need, when you need it, and where you need it.
We make it as easy as possible, and what you hire arrives clean, in working order, fully tested if applicable and in the best possible condition. We’re award-winning and SafeHire certified because of our standards, so you can be sure you’re in the best possible hands.
Need more help? Contact us now.