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Party Planning Tips

Event Planning Services & Helpful Party Tips

Party Planning Tips

  • Plan as far ahead as possible. To be assured the party rentals you need will be available, reserve it early
  • If your special event is in a peak wedding month, like June (busy times for rental centers), you may have to reserve some equipment several months ahead.
  • If a committee is involved in your event, pick one key person as your contact with us, just to avoid possible confusion.
  • Want to make your event truly memorable? Set a theme. Our experienced professionals can help you carry a special theme throughout the event.
  • Remember, we work every day with a network of other Chicago area professionals - caterers, entertainers, florists, musicians and more. Think of us as your most valuable resource for Chicago party rentals and event planning.
  • Keep it simple.
  • If you're serving beer, offer one regular and one light.
  • If you're serving wine, offer a good merlot and chardonnay.
  • If you're serving soft drinks, we recommend offering Coke, Diet Coke, and 7-up.
  • Don't forget the bottled water and ice.
  • Feature one really good "house" drink.
  • Have enough glasses, but not five different kinds.
  • If you feature a martini, it's got to be in a martini glass.
  • The rule of thumb is to have 2-1/2 glasses for each guest.
  • Beverages need napkins. Get at least as many napkins as glasses — more if you're planning on using them for passed hors d'oeuvres.

Party Planning: Top Party Themes

Indoors or outdoors, party themes take on a special flair for a holiday, family get together, brunch for out-of-town guests, or "just for fun." Check our Chicago Party Planning Catalog or speak with one of our Party Planning Specialists for party theme ideas, equipment and decorations.

Many "special event" parties are more interesting with a theme. Graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, job promotions and any other occasion you want to celebrate can be enhanced with the addition of theme decorations, specialty food items, and theme-oriented games.

Try having your own Renaissance Fair. Grill up some turkey legs (for larger parties, consider renting one of our large grills), and treat your guests to a dunk tank.

Or throw a Summer Luau. Our Palm Trees will set the mood. Offer Sno-Kones and frozen drinks such as margaritas, and party goers will enjoy a game of volleyball or horseshoes.

How about a costume party? It doesn't have to be Halloween to have fun with a costume party. Pick any holiday, or create your own, and watch your guests enjoy the novelty! Party themes are always a party booster.

The Chocolate Fountain Rental would be a great addition to any of these party themes. It can not only be an elegant inclusion at a black-tie affair, but it is fun enough for all occasions. You can change the dipping items to match the formal or informal tone of your event. From fresh fruit to cookies and marshmallows, the creative ideas for The Chocolate Fountain are endless. Check out more on our Chocolate Fountain rental page.

Suggestions of Party Themes

  • January: New Year's Day-After Brunch
  • February: Valentine Dinner
  • March: St. Patrick's Day Irish Party
  • Aprill: April Fool's Day Mixer
  • May: Makeup Day (missed birthdays & anniversaries)
  • June: Summer Luau
  • July: Independence Day Picnic
  • August: Renaissance Fair
  • September: Back To School BBQ
  • October: Masquerade Party
  • November: Thanksgiving Festival
  • December: Christmas in Tahiti (Tropical) Party

Chicago Outdoor Party Planning

Consider moving your next big party outdoors for a change. The benefits? The crowd won't parade through your house, there's generally more room so your guest list can expand and a change just might breathe new life into your old parties. What follows is a list of things to consider before entrusting your party to the great outdoors. And if you don't own the items discussed (most folks don't), consider renting them inexpensively (most folks do).

I'm anticipating your first concern: it's the weather right? No one ever invites Mother Nature, but she seems to have a tendency to crash parties. Well, barring hurricanes or snow storms, a good outdoor canopy tent can keep a party rolling through a bout of bad weather. Many tent rentals even come with quick-snap sides to offer protection from a stiff wind or driving rain. A good rental tent is easy to transport and set up. And in many cases, we'll do it for you. We have a variety of sizes and styles of tents, from vinyl or canvas, to pole, frame or canopy, we are happy to assist you in selecting the right tent rental for your outdoor affair.

What's an outdoor party without a barbecue? A large grill makes it easier to prepare food for a hungry mob. Serving is easier with chafing dishes to keep food warm, beverage fountains, punch bowls, serving trays, etc. The buffet line is appropriate in most cases for several reasons: Guests can take what they want and as much as they want. It encourages mingling. And it's just plain easier on you, the host. Speaking of making things easier on you: You might consider making your meal a potluck, depending on the situation of course.

Don't forget tables and chairs on your list of things to rent. And when the sun makes an early exit, you don't have to call it quits. Party lights, even flood lights, can keep your party rolling late into the evening (or early morning, neighbors willing).

Set the right mood with music and even dancing. Some dance floors can be set up on a flat area of grass. We can build just about any size dance floor that you may need. And if running power to electrical items is a hassle, consider renting a generator.

Many people don't realize that outdoor parties can range from informal to very formal- from barbecues to full-blown weddings and receptions. The situation dictates the types of items you rent. Elegant serving pieces, fine dishes and dance floors set a very different mood from volleyball nets and paper plates. Table linens and chair covers can take a casual affair and make it into a memorable, black-tie event.

That should get your Chicago party planning started. If you have any questions or simply want to spark a few ideas, don't hesitate to stop by our gallery. Our Party Planning Experts are always here to help you plan your next party, indoors or out.

RSVP-ing Etiquette

RSVP PDQ
The term RSVP stands for répondez s'il vous plaît and means "Please reply." Or, put another way, "Seriously, you have to reply." It's just nice. And you'd want people to do it for you. Spare your hosts from reliving the childhood nightmare of having a party where nobody comes.

When Reply?
As soon as possible, ideally within two days of receiving an invitation. If you are unsure whether you can attend, respond "Maybe" with a brief explanation of what is holding up your reply. Then be sure to change your reply to "Yes" or "No" as soon as possible.

Why Reply?
Lots of reasons. If someone has invited you to an event, they want you there, and they're excited to find out if you'll attend. Then there's the planning part. Event hosts need an exact headcount so they can make sure they have enough food, drink and space for you. And finally, the selfish reason: People appreciate it when you RSVP, so you'll have a better shot at being invited to the next event.

Party Dress Codes

Not sure what to wear to an event or what to specify on your invitation? These guidelines, listed in order of formality, will help you crack the dress code. And remember, it’s never inappropriate to ask the host or other guests what’s acceptable.

White tie/ultra-formal — Men: tailcoat and white vest, shirt and bowtie. Women: long gown.

Black tie/formal — Men: tuxedos. Women: dress (knee-length, long).

Semi-formal/informal — Men: dark suit, tie. Women: knee-length dress.

Cocktail — Men: dark suit. Women: knee-length dress or skirt.

Dressy casual — Men: jacket or collared shirt, pants. Women: skirt or dressy pants.

Business casual — Men: collared shirt, khakis. Women: dressy pants or skirt.

Casual — anything goes.

More Rules to Dress By

  • If an invitation indicates that a certain dress style is “optional” or “preferred,” you can dress slightly less formally, but not necessarily casual.
  • Informal means semi-formal, not casual.
  • Hosts, if you include a creative dress code, like beach formal or urban casual, be sure you give examples of what is, and is not, okay.

Can I bring a date to a formal event if my invitation doesn't say "and guest"?

In a word, no. Formal events tend to be pre-planned affairs, and your uninvited guest may find themselves without a chair or a meal all night. They, and you, may also be the recipient of icy glares because of your party-crashing ways.

As with all good rules, there are exceptions. If you have a significantly significant other that the host has forgotten or isn't aware of, you can ask the host if you can bring a plus one — but only if you're on familiar terms with the host and it won't be a great inconvenience to them. In other words, contact the host in good time and be polite about it. A breezy text message the night before the event might get you and your date uninvited.

Money Etiquette — The Bill's on...Who?

You and your friends just enjoyed a fantastic dinner party when the bill arrives. At that moment, conversations and libations come to a screeching halt. Did someone order an awkward silence? Below are a few tips for hosts and guests to help avoid the sticky situations that can come with the check.

If you're a host:

  • If you’re vehemently opposed to having your guests pay, then consider your budget when choosing a venue. Cooking a meal for a dinner party at your house will certainly be less expensive than footing an entire restaurant bill. Whatever venue you select, be sure to mention that the meal and drinks will be your treat on the invitation so guests know what to expect.
  • Decide what role you’d like to play in the party. If you’d like to be the sole host, then understand that you’ll be responsible for the check at the end of the night. Adding a few co-hosts is an easy way to share the party expenses.
  • If you’d like your guests to chip in, let them know beforehand. There are plenty of polite, tactful ways to go about this. For example, add a gentle reminder to your invitation such as, “Separate checks will be provided.” This gets the point across that everyone will pay for what they get without having to say it directly.
  • If you have arranged a set price with the restaurant, it is acceptable to ask guests to contribute a per-person charge. Just let them know what they’ll be getting for their money. “The cost will be $35/person, which includes drinks, appetizer, entrée, dessert, tax and tip.” But be fair and honest – don’t ask for more than the actual price to “pay for your efforts.”

If you're a guest:

  • If it hasn’t been addressed, feel free to ask your host if he or she is expecting guests chip in. Asking whether or not the restaurant will accept credit cards is one way of finding out your host’s intentions without looking overly concerned about money.
  • So the check arrives and the host decides to split the bill evenly among all the guests. This works well for simplicity’s sake, but not for your budget-conscious ordering. Let your host know beforehand that you’ll be ordering light (you can always say you had a big lunch if you don’t want to attribute it to thrift). If the host knows, he or she can speak up on your behalf.
  • If you’re a guest who orders a five-course meal plus cocktails, it’s kind to offer to pay a little extra to cover the difference. Or if you notice a guest who is clearly getting the short end of the stick, maybe say something diplomatic like, “I don’t think everyone had cocktails and desserts, so perhaps we should just pay for what we ordered.”

How do I get out of a boring conversation at a party?

Before you bolt, go into interview mode. Ask the other person's favorite band, best part of their job, weirdest childhood fear -- anything to bring out inner coolness. You may turn that convo into one you want to be in.

If you just want out, a short-and-sweet "nice talking to you" works best. You don’t need to make up a lie. You could get busted on it or, worse, have the person tag along with you.

If you feel like you need a reason to leave, just say you want to say hello to a friend or get another drink. To make the excuse more believable, go do what you said you were going to. And if you run into that person again, just smile and keep moving.

Should I bring anything to a party?

Absolutely. If you've thrown a party, you know how much time, effort and money goes into it. Bringing a gift helps offset that, and it's a good way to get invited back.

So the next question...what do you bring? That depends on how formal the party is and how well you know the host. For a casual get-together, beverages or food for the party is always a welcome gift.

At a more formal event, bring a gift for the host: muffins for the morning after, a bottle of booze, a bouquet of flowers, a book or gourmet chocolates. For a really lavish affair hosted by a close friend, a massage or after-party clean-up service is much appreciated.

Some gift ground rules to keep in mind:

  • Don't upstage the host. If you're bringing food or drink for the party, find out what the host plans to serve first, and bring something that would complement it.
  • Don't add to the host's stress. If you're buying flowers, get them arranged in a vase so the host doesn't have to run around looking for one.
  • Do include a note. Hosts have a million things to think about during a party, and remembering who brought the great chocolates might slip their mind.

What do I do if someone asks me a really personal question at a party?

Answer it. Okay, you don't have to. The easiest response is just a smile and a simple "No comment."

If the asker didn't mean to offend you, then you've made your boundaries clear. And if that person was deliberately trying to be unpleasant, then you haven't played into the game.

If a party starts at 8 pm, what time should I arrive?

As with most party rules, it depends a bit on the type of event. For an event that depends on a schedule, like a dinner party or book club, arrive between 8 and 8:15.

If it's a casual event, like a barbecue or large house party, get there around 8:30. Whatever you do, don't show up early unless the host has asked you to. Even if you offer to help, you'll still be a hindrance.

How do I throw a good surprise party that is actually a surprise?

Most importantly, follow our surprise party ideas.

You know the basics: Ask guests to arrive at least 30 minutes before the guest of honor. If your friends are notoriously late, make it an hour. And don't get them too liquored up that they'll forget how to be quiet and hide when the time comes. Have them all park around the corner, too, so their cars don't tip off the surprisee.

To mix things up, have all the guests gather at another location and then just show up at your house with all the party supplies. Or hold your party at an unexpected location, like a park, bowling alley or the home of a person the surprisee doesn't know well.

Planning your party at an odd time -- a week before the person's birthday, or on a weeknight or Sunday afternoon -- also helps you maintain the element of surprise.

To really go all out and keep the surprise going, plan a trip for you and the surprisee, and then just have guests show up randomly throughout the weekend. Go out for breakfast; a few guests are there. Request more towels; a friend brings them to your room. Order another Coke; your college roommate serves it. You get the idea. Fun for everyone involved.

Planning your luau

A luau is quite literally a feast of Hawaiian food. Luaus can be given to celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baby showers, weddings to just about anything that brings family and friends together.

What differentiates luaus from other parties is the use of colorful flowers, fresh fruit, colorful Aloha attire, island music and dancing, and a feast that traditionally consists of roast pork, rice, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes and of course those famous Hawaiian punches!

Due to the relaxed atmosphere of a luau, people tend to have fun right from the start. So, hula on down the page and learn everything you ever wanted to know about planning your luau!

Choosing A Location

Luaus are generally held outdoors, but they can just as easily be held indoors! A backyard or poolside luau works great for that tropical island feel. However, don't be afraid to move your luau indoors if you decide to have one in the middle of winter. There's nothing like the bright colors and relaxing island music to lift one out of the winter doldrums. (See our Outdoor Party Planning Tips.)

Planning A Large Luau

If you are planning a large luau, with 50 or more people, you might consider asking others to join in and help. Not only is it lots of fun to work as a group, but it allows you to draw on the resources and ideas of others.

Form sub-groups and designate each one in charge of an area such as food, decorating, music and entertaining, equipment, set-up and clean-up, invitations and publicity. Individuals can request which group they'd like to be in based on their ability and interest.

Meetings should be held at least twice, once at the outset and again just before the event. (Serve refreshments and play some island music to get everyone in the mood.) Make sure to get everyone's email address for follow-ups and updates. The event chairperson should send out notes following the meeting to formalize the discussion. It's important to tell everyone exactly what they need to do, give them a time-line in which to do it, and follow-up to make sure it gets done.

Luaus don't need to be expensive. Don't be afraid to ask others to prepare and bring dishes that are on the menu list. We threw a luau for 80 people at our neighborhood block party for less than $7.50 a head. Working with others proved to be as much fun as the luau itself, and new friendships blossomed as a result.

Invitations

Invitations are important as they set the mood and are your calling card for the event. Break the mold and do something fun. Mention the feast you are going to have and entice them with some of the items on the menu such as authentic roasted pig. Don't forget to mention the hula girls!

Your invitations can be customized or created on your computer using clip art or found images. You can even make some using tropical fabric cut to fit your card stock. Go online and do a search for Hawaiian words and phrases and sprinkle the invitation with them. You can also attach your invitation to a pair of sunglasses and mail in a padded envelope!

Make sure to tell invitees what the attire is. If it's a pool party or at the beach, have them bring swimsuits and a towel. Otherwise have them wear Aloha attire such as halter tops, Hawaiian shirts and shorts.

Decorating

Decorating for a luau is great fun! There are many readily available ideas to get you started. Decor can be easily made, purchased, or even found in the back of your closet or tucked away in the garage. Best of all, creating the right atmosphere for you luau is not expensive, and you won't have to scratch your head trying to come up with something. Where to start?

Begin with the site itself. Based on how many guests you are expecting, decide on your seating. With larger parties, you don't have to have a seat for every guest. People will stand, talk and mill around.

Set up the location for your buffet table and make sure you have the ability to form two lines, one at each end, especially important for larger groups. Have the lines meet in the center. Decide where your drink station is going to be. It should be separate from the food line. You may want to serve a Hawaiian punch and you can have a separate table for that.

Table decorations are great fun because there are so many different and easy ways to create a luau atmostphere:

  1. Small sea shells can be sprinkled around the center of the table or strings of shell necklaces can be used which your guests can take home as party favors. You can also sprinkle confetti. These come in many designs such as palm trees, flamingos, tropical birds, and tropical fish. Or, scatter several loose purple dendrobium orchids around the serving tables.
  2. Fresh flower leis or very inexpensive plastic ones which come in every variety and color of the rainbow, can be placed in the center of the table on their own, or surrounding a straw hat, coconuts, pineapples or other decor.
  3. Balloon Bouquets with luau designs and colorful balloon weights (try using a pineapple for a weight) can be used as a festive centerpiece. Balloons will need to be on ribbons long enough so that they don't interfere with guests seated across from each other. For something different, try a single SuperShape Metallic Balloon in different shapes such as parrots, palm trees, toucans, tiki island and others.
  4. Honeycomb centerpieces such as pineapples, palm trees, tiki motifs, hula girls, or flamingos work well. These are inexpensive and yet add flair to your table.
  5. Go into the attic and find some old straw hats and use these in the middle of the table. Glue or tuck a few fresh flowers on the hat.
  6. Printed paper placemats with any tropical theme, or go for solid colors in mango, green, yellow, pink or blue. Printed table runners placed on top of a solid tablecloths. There are many designs such as Bamboo, Club Luau, Flamingo, etc. Straw or rattan adds a touch of authenticity.
  7. Bowls of whole fresh fruit with colorful flowers tucked in between are perfect for a luau. Consider pineapples, coconuts, oranges, mangoes, papayas, bananas or kiwis.
  8. Also try cut fruit centerpieces such as pineapple boats, or stacked dishes of cut fruit. Provide tropical foodpicks.
  9. Fresh flower centerpieces using tropical varieties such as Bird of Paradise, or the Hawaiian flower, the red Anthurium, Orchids or Lilies. Calla Lilies are always nice. Gardenias add a wonderful scent of the tropics unlike any other flower.
  10. Use fresh greenery such as palm fronds or calla lily leaves and lay them down the center of the table. Display fresh fruit on top.
  11. Use large candle centerpieces surrounded by small votives floating in small bowls of tinted water.
  12. Fishnets, Hawaiian print fabric, coconut ukuleles or other coconut sculptures can be used creatively for table decorations. Baskets can be used to hold cutlery or napkins. Fishnets can also be hung from ceilings and doorways.
  13. For a more contemporary feel, try using inflatable metallic centerpieces in beach, island or fish themes.
  14. Paper table cloths in tropical colors, can be paired with natural or green grass or rafia tableskirts wrapped around each table. Tableskirts are great and add a lot of atmosphere and authenticity.

Other decorating ideas

Bright, bold tropical colors play a large role in creating an island atmosphere for your luau. Tropical flowers and foliage placed in strategic areas is a good starting point. Here are a few other decorating ideas:

  1. Ask friends to look in their attics for a set of oars, straw hats, gourds, conch or abalone shells, grass skirts, bamboo, travel posters or mounted fish.
  2. Consider our vast array of Tiki props, palm trees, tiki gods and signs, small electric lights in island designs; garlands; streamers and banners; door curtains; lawn signs announcing your luau; cut outs such as palm trees, hula girls, tropical birds, dolphins, tropical flowers; decorative fish nets; a plastic ship helm; foil hanging decorations such as a giant parrot, angel fish, or flamingo. Also paper lanterns are inexpensive, colorful and atmospheric. Don't forget the bamboo tiki torches or the citronella torch candles in all kinds of luau designs. Either can be used to line the pathway leading to your luau or placed strategically in an outdoor location. (Tiki torches can be used indoors, if not lit.)
  3. Make your own flower ropes from jute, cord or wire using either fresh, silk or plastic flowers. Use florist tape to secure the flowers and wrap the ropes around columns, pillars, poles, door openings, trees, or even draped in front of a table.
  4. Float plastic or fresh flowers in water, either small bowls or a pond or pool.
  5. If you like to draw, try a mask design. Draw and cut out Hawaiian masks from colored craft paper and place on top of a contrasting color. Mask designs can be found on the Internet or from books on Hawaiian culture found at a local library. Use a rubber raft or child's wading pool as a cooler. Fill with ice and drinks. Plates and glasses with tropical patterns and colors will add a lot of atmosphere. Try mixing and matching, alternating colors or solids and patterns. You can choose from a large selection of both paper and plastic. You can even find inexpensive rattan plateholders for your paper plates.

Choose serving dishes with a luau theme or go with clear plastic designs and dress up the dishes with fresh flowers. These can be purchased quite reasonably or ask friends and neighbors to loan appropriate serving pieces for the dishes you are serving.

Don't forget the tropical straws and drink stirrers for a finishing touch.

Hawaiian Party Attire

Make sure your invitations tell everyone to wear Hawaiian attire. Tropical attire is easy enough to find. Most have some, or they can be found at thrift shops. Almost anything white works well with a colorful lei added.

Women can wear colorful print skirts with a white blouse or halter top and sandals or thongs. Wearing flowers in your hair is a wonderful island tradition and adds the finishing touch (left side if she's taken, right side if she's not).

Guys can wear a Hawaiian shirt with shorts, or colorful swim trunks with a tank top. Add sunglasses and a Don the Beachcomber or straw hat and he'll be dressed to limbo. Add a grass skirt and coconut bra and he'll be dressed to compete in the hula dance contest!

Leis

Leis are floral necklaces traditionally worn during special occasions or to welcome guests. There are also smaller leis that are worn on the ankles, wrists and head. The proper way to wear a neck lei is so that it drapes down in front and back.

If you want to be traditional and make everyone feel truly welcome, greet each guest with a lei and a welcoming Aloha when they arrive. Take their photo wearing the lei and send it afterwards as a reminder of your special event.

Recipes

True Hawaiian cuisine has been influenced by many different cultures, each leaving its culinary mark on the islands. The Polynesians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Portuguese, Spanish, and Filipinos have each played an important role in Hawaii's history and that translates to lots of good food!

Traditionally the centerpiece of a luau is the roasted pig. Depending on how authentic you want to be (and how much time you want to devote), you can roast your pig in an imu or underground pit, or roast one on a spit. If that's too ambitious, you can roast one in your oven. There are places (look on the Internet) that will ship you fully prepared pigs ready for roasting.

Get everyone in the mood with some Hawaiian punch . You can spike this or not, depending on your guests. Or you can start with it spiked and as the evening progresses, leave out the rum. You can also serve pineapple daiquiris, mai tais, piña coladas or chi chis (with or without alcohol) with fresh fruit garnishes and tiny umbrellas.

Use colorful foodpicks for the finishing touch. Create an authentic Decorate serving platters with leafy greens, individual orchids or cherry tomatoes cut in half and arranged in the shape of a pineapple and placed on top of rice dishes.

Entertainment & Activities

Good luau music gets everyone in the mood to party, dance and have fun.

Drew's Famous Luau Party Music is a great mix of songs. Drew's already done the work for you and has a great selection, such as Surfin' USA, Don't Worry Be Happy, Hawaii Five-0 Theme Song, Blue Hawaii and more. There's also Hawaiian Favorites with Don Ho and Drew's Famous Island Party Jams with various artists.

Have the guys put on grass skirts and coconut bras and have a hula contest and have the winner give hula lessons!

Pull out the limbo stick and have eveyone see how low they can go! There's even inflatable limbo sticks!

Put on the song, Wipe Out, and have ground surfing contests and see who has the coolest wipe out! (This is great for kids.)

Invite Hawaiian dancers or Hawaiian bands. Call dance studios or go on the Internet. Have dancers teach your guests how to hula.

Have hula loop contests, and give out an award for the most creative way to hula.

Give an award for the most creative or loudest Hawaiian attire. Announce this on your invitations so guests can prepare.

Lip-sync Don Ho songs such as Tiny Bubbles or Pearly Shells!

Seven Guaranteed Effective Tips to Planning a Successful Party

Whether you are planning a large corporate outing, a family reunion, or a small group event, there are a few ways make your party a successful one. These seven event planning tips are guaranteed to alleviate the stress that can come with party planning and make sure your party is a hit.

Don't Procrastinate – Plan Ahead!

It may seem obvious, but the best way to ensure a failed party is to wait! Planning ahead ensures you secure the proper location, all the necessary rental equipment and talent, and most importantly, it gives your guests enough time to RSVP. You should always begin planning at least a 6 months prior to your event or party. Bob DeBenedictis, President of Abbott Party Rental in Lombard, IL, encourages event planners in Chicago to confirm their party rentals early. "If your special event is in a peak wedding month, like June," DeBenedictis said, "You may have to reserve some equipment several months ahead of time."

Everybody Has a Price

Creating a budget for your party or event is crucial to properly organizing your planning efforts. Knowing how much you plan to spend will dictate how many people you invite, what equipment you rent, what food you will serve, and where you will hold the event. Don't spend all your money renting tents and gazebos only to discover you don't have any money left for the food!

Choose a Suitable Location

If your party is too big for your own backyard, finding an appropriate party venue or event venue is vital. DeBenedictis, who has a working relationship with outdoor wedding venue and special event venue Banbury Fair of Bartlett, recommends that Chicago wedding planners and event planners consider how a great location can help improve a party. "Table and chair rentals alone won't ensure success if your guests are crammed in a small yard," DeBenedictis explained.

Don't Be a Hero; Get Help!

In addition to working with a professional party rental equipment company, consider enlisting the help of close friends to handle an individual aspect of setting up the party. One friend can be your contact person with the rental equipment company, while another can be in charge of RSVPs and seating. Be a big believer in a full bar. Hire a bartender and servers. People like specialty cocktails. DeBenedictis states "at an Indian party, they had a ginger-and-lemon-infused vodka drink. Get a bartender! It's one less stress you have to deal with. It's also old-fashioned in a nice way, like my grandmother's era, when the thought was that you could never have too much food or booze." Servers add that touch of sophistication while passing hors d'oeuvres. They're priceless at the end of the night to help with clean up. Most importantly, they will actually allow the host to enjoy their own party.

Pick a Special Theme

"Want to make your event truly memorable? Set a theme," DeBenedictis explained. "Our experienced professionals can help carry a special theme throughout the event like a Luau." Even more formal events like a corporate outing or a wedding can have an extra memorable touch with an appropriate theme.

Feed the Hungry

What's a party without good food? Is your party a finger food snack fest or will you need professional caterers to deliver the goods? Don't forget that you need utensils, plates, and cups, too! Be sure to always consider your audience when choosing the menu. Consider allergies and dietary needs of your guests.

Plan Big or Go Home

A party never failed because there were too many chairs or too many hors d'oeuvres for your guests! But what happens if half your guests have nowhere to sit? What if you run out of chicken? Even if fewer people attend the party than expected, it's always best to overestimate your numbers to prevent an embarrassing lack of party necessities after the guests have already arrived.

There are an unlimited number of tips and tricks for ensuring a successful party, but the most important steps need to be taken well before the day of the party. Whether it's the appropriate rental equipment or an ample amount of food, your guests will be thankful – and most important they'll have a great time – if you're proactive and create an excellent party or event experience.

For more information on party rental equipment, including tents, chairs, tables, and more, visit http://www.abbottpartyrental.com or call (630) 953-0500. For more information on having an outdoor wedding in Chicago or holding a corporate event, bridal shower, or baptism at Banbury Fair, visit http://www.banburyfairevents.com or call (708) 978-7198.

We service the following communities in Illinois:

Addison, Algonquin, Alsip, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Barrington, Bartlett, Batavia, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berkley, Berwyn, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Bridgeview, Broadview, Brookfield, Buffalo Grove, Burbank, Burr Ridge, Carol Stream, Carpentersville, Cary, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Chicago Ridge, Cicero, Clarendon Hills, Crystal Lake, Darien, Deerfield, Deer Park, DeKalb, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Elmwood Park, Evanston, Evergreen Park, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Glencoe, Glendale Heights, Glenview, Hanover Park, Hazel Crest, Hickory Hills, Highland Park, Hillside, Hinsdale, Hodgkins, Hoffman Estates, Homer Glen, Inverness, Itasca, Joliet, Kenosha, Kenilworth, Kildeer, LaGrange, LaGrange Highlands, Indian Head Park, Lake Forest, Lemont, Libertyville, Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Lisle, Lockport. Lombard, Long Grove, Lyons, Maywood, Medinah, Melrose Park, Milwaukee, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Mundelein, Naperville, Niles, Norridge, Northbrook, Northlake, Oak Brook, Oak Brook Terrace, , Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, Palatine, Palos Hills, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Park Ridge, Plainfield, River Forest, River Grove, Riverside, Riverwoods, Rockford, Rolling Meadows, River Forest, Romeoville, Roselle, St. Charles, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Skokie, South Barrington, Villa Park, Warrenville, Waukegan, Wayne, Westchester, Western Springs, West Chicago, Westmont, Wheaton, Wheeling, Willowbrook, Willow Springs, Wilmette, Winnetka, Winfield, Wood Dale, Woodridge Illinois.  We do service additional areas on a case by case basis.

Services we provide: Party Tent, Illinois Tents, Tent Rentals, Canopy tent Rentals. Rent a tent, large tents, festival tents, Chicago Tent Rental, Chicago Party Rental, Table Rental, Chair rental.

Equipment we provide:  Festival Tents, Backyard tents, Canopies, Frame Tents, Pole Tents.