A different kind of wedding has come come into being during the pandemic that the events industry had to adapt to. Let’s look at what popular trends we saw take off and which may stick around. Smaller weddings with a focus on higher-end rentals, a larger abundance of food and an emphasis on quality entertainment will likely be here to stay. Looking ahead to what rentals will be popular for the rest of 2021 will help us prepare our inventory and staffing requirements for a hopefully busy third and fourth quarter.
Tents remain popular as many events are being hosted outside to optimize guest count allowances. Clients want to have the look and feel of an elegant, modern, trendy or rustic event venue in an outdoor tent, with appropriate lighting and HVAC to create a comfortable space for their guests. With the cost savings of not renting a venue but instead hosting the celebrations in a family member or friend’s back yard, couples are spending that money on upgraded tents and rentals, dramatic lighting and ceiling decor.
The backyard wedding trend has grown substantially this year, partially due to closed venues and restrictions. This has made on-site staff a necessity that may have been overlooked at private residence events prior to 2020. Hired staff are able to take care of touch point cleaning on handles and high traffic areas, ensure guests are adhering to distancing protocols and restrictions are being met. Looking for a way to keep your staff busy? Suggest to your clients that along with their tent and rentals, they may want to consider hiring one of your staff members to be this person on site. They can refill hand sanitizer stations and offer a behind-the-scenes peace of mind for the couple and their guests. Hand sanitizer stations, hand wash stations and directional signage to these cleaning stations are now being worked into the events decor.
Looking at increasing your table inventory? Explore a smaller option than the standard eight-foot rectangular table by offering a four-foot harvest table or round table to accommodate less people per table. Because of spacing restrictions, seating two people at an eight-foot table looks sparse and empty. Couples are looking for creative and safe ways to display their food since the traditional self-serve buffets are on pause. Why not create unique buffet displays beyond the standard chafing dishes that the catering staff can serve from? Don’t forget to advertise these specialized items, whether they are new to your inventory or something you’ve had for a while that are being used in a different way.
No dancing? No problem! There has been a shift from the traditional dinner and dancing of a wedding reception. Guests are splurging on live bands, comedy acts or interactive events such as wine pairings/tastings or mixology classes for their guest’s entertainment post-ceremony. Along with the different flow for weddings comes different timing. Couples are hosting weekday weddings due to limited venue availability or cost savings, or are having an afternoon lunch wedding as opposed to the traditional evening of dinner, drinks and dancing. Weddings are being rescheduled to off months such as November through February, so having the appropriate HVAC options will be essential in being able to provide tents and rentals during these historically non-wedding months. This is beneficial for suppliers as it will help us avoid shortages during peak seasons or on weekends, while also offering an opportunity to send out our equipment during down times. Now’s a great time to start advertising for winter wedding specials and packages – we have to educate clients on what is possible and how we can help them achieve their dream wedding regardless of the time of year.
The wedding industry has shifted in many ways, but one thing remains the same: couples are looking for unique and special ways to host this momentous celebration in their life. Couples will find a way to celebrate within restrictions and rental companies around the globe will be there to support them however we can. We’re all in this together!.
Michelle is an award-winning account manager and festival specialist with Higgins Event Rentals in Toronto. She is an active member in industry associations and enjoys serving on a variety of boards and committees.
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