Thursday, December 29, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Rental Services

Rental Services companies are your insurance to pull off the perfect wedding. They provide anything and everything you need for a wedding, they provide items in many colors, so you can decorate your wedding reception according to your color scheme you have chosen. Rental Services companies are particularly helpful when you have an empty banquet hall as your reception or have an outdoor wedding or use a wedding tent. Also they are helpful if caterers, reception facilities, or ceremony sites are short on supplies you need.

The way you should use a rental service company, is a little different than with other wedding vendors. Before you meet with a caterer, wedding reception facility, or a ceremony location, you should plan a day to visit rental service companies in the area of your wedding. Your visit is to check them out, see what they have, also if the company has a catalog or brochure of products and list prices for rent, grab it. Also to note, whenever you talk to a sales manager at these type of businesses, never bring up the word "wedding" or "marriage", use the word "event" or "party" instead. Many of these businesses have one brochure for weddings and one brochure for events. The same item often is listed at a higher price for weddings and the same item is lower for events.

Later when you meet with the caterer, reception facility, or ceremony location, if you find anything missing or you need your color schemed item, or an item lower in price you have knowledge of an alternate solution in the event you have an additional need. Take notes from your meeting with your wedding vendor and then you can take what you are missing and negotiate with rental service companies, make sure you compare prices and what services each rental company can provide.

To help you decide on which rental company to go with, the sales person you deal with is very important. Besides products a rental company has, you want a company that has been in business for a good while and you want a rental sales person who is knowledgeable, has a lot of training, and is a good communicator. You want a good salesperson who is focused on the needs of your wedding and not pushing you to rent or buy things you really don't want. Be careful of aggressive sales people.

The other item to be concerned about is to be sure everything is captured in the contract. When items need to be delivered and set-up and when items need to be picked up and dropped up. Also needs change as you approach the wedding day. Maybe you need more dishes and chairs or less dishes and chairs, adjustments may need to be made as the wedding day nears and the rental company needs to be a little flexible. Good questions in your interview are as follows

Interview Questions for a Rental Services Manager
1-Ask for a brochure, catalog, or flyer of products, list prices, and rental fees. What is the name of the company, their address, their phone number, and what is their website address?
2-What is the name and phone number and email or contact information of the person you are interviewing and if he/she has a post card ask for that too?
3-What would be the name, phone number and email or contact person who would be assigned to us for our wedding?
4-As you talk through each item, would that item be available for the date of our wedding?
5-Provide your approximate headcount, for each product that involves headcount, do you have enough of that item to cover your guest headcount? (sometimes you might need to include wedding vendors such as if they are eating meals with you you need dishes and chairs for them).
6-How long has the business been in operation?
7-What days of the week and hours is your business open?
8-What hours is someone reachable for your business? is there an emergency reach phone number?
9-Is the business a member of a business association such as the American Rental Association? (sets high standards for business rental practices)
10-How much experience does our contact person have? what type and how much training does he/she have? (you should try to meet up with this person to check out their personality and communicative skills)
11-If a problem should arise at our wedding, how would the situation be handled? (a buffet dish gets broken or we need 20 more chairs and place settings)
12-Are you familiar with our reception location?
13-Can you review the products you have available? equipment needed for the kitchen? food preparation equipment? storage supplies? serving dishes and utensils? tables and chairs? buffet tables? place setting needs? linen needs? accessories for the tables? (salt and pepper shakers, wine glasses, butter knifes, etc.)
14-Are their unique items your rental company offers? (guest sign in books, altar aisles, candalabras, photo booths, ice sculptures, candy buffet, coffee bar, chocolate fountains, etc.)
15-Does your business handle floral needs for the wedding? what do they include?
16-Does your business handle decoration needs for the wedding? what do they include?
17-Does your business provide hanging fabrics?
18-Does your business provide lighting needs?
19-Does your business provide furniture such as love seats, end tables, and coffee tables?
20-Does your business provide bar fixtures and bar glasses?
21-Does your business provide dance floors?
22-Does your business offer items for the wedding ceremony? (guest books, pew bows, church decorations, etc.)
23-Do you offer trash cans, containers, bags for clean-up?
24-Do you offer any rental items not discussed? (besides wedding tents mentioned below)
25-Can we inspect all items visually that we are interested in?
26-What is your rental fee?
27-Do you have, can you review the price list?
28-Do you offer an inclusive package? can you review it?
29-Do you provide delivery? how are items delivered?
30-For items that need it, do you provide setup?
31-Do you provide, take down and clean-up?
32-Do you provide pickup?
33-What happens if items get lost, stained or broken?
34-What happens if items are not returned clean?
35-Do we get to inspect all items before they are delivered or upon delivery?
36-Is there a late fee if we don't return the items by a specified date and time?
37-What happens if our order gets cancelled?
38-Can we arrange to have items moved from the location site to another as part of our order?
39-How long before the reception before the items get delivered?
40-What is the final cost? are there any hidden fees to be aware of?
41-How long before the event do we need to firm up a contract? (generally spring, summer, and New Years weddings 6 months before, fall and winter weddings 2 months before)
42-Can we take the contract with us to review before signing?
43-How much of a deposit or retainer fee is needed to secure the items? (usually 50% up front)
44-When is the final payment due? (usually 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding)
45-Can we get 3 referrals from other parties that have used you before?

Review the contract thoroughly before signing, make sure all is talked about is included in the contract, with so many things involved it is a good idea to bring someone along with you as a second pair of eyes, to insure all is covered and is there as an eye witness. Make sure the items are returned before the deadline. Rental companies make a lot of money off of late returns. Their excuse, we need the items for other events.

Wedding Tents

One of the items that you are starting to see more at wedding rental stores are wedding tents. Many styles of tents are starting to appear and many tents have built in protections from the environment and are as comfortable as indoor facilities. Flaps can be opened or closed depending on the weather, tents even have skylights and see through linings that look just like windows. The inside can be decorated to make the effect of the tent to look really stunning. Special lighting, hanging floral fabrics, hanging lanterns, and decorated tower vases can create the look of an unbelievable fantasy world.

There are basically five types of tents that are used for weddings, traditional, high peaked frame tents, traditional pole tents, high peaked tension tents (best suited for weddings), and clearspan structures (no obstructional poles). As for flooring you basically have the following options; nothing at all, astro-turf, carpet, sisal, matting, or hardwood floors. The grounds in which you are going to secure the tent needs to thoroughly inspected before erecting the tent. The ground should be level and all spots need to be checked for utility lines
no holes in the ground and no obstructions such as rock. Some tents are erected over asphalt or concrete.

A floor plan should be figured out before renting a tent, where tables, chairs, buffet tables go, entertainment groups will be located, dance floor placed, bartenders stations and food serving stations, all should be figured out, how will traffic flow go, all reception needs to be figured out before talking about what tent(s) to rent. Also beforehand you need to consider the type of weather the location has for the particular time of the year. Will the tent need to be more airy or need more walls, will you need air conditioners, heaters, or misting devices. In addition to the wedding reception tent, will other tent(s) be needed for cooking, food preparation, and food storage.

Where do you want to place the tent? Will it be in someone's backyard, at a rustic farm or field, on a lakefront, river, beach, ball field, an empty lot, or next to some landmark. You want to insure the location is not at a location in which water might gather, is level and the location is safe from wild animals, insects, or plants such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac. You also don't want to be mowing the grounds around an erected tent, grass leaves stains in the canvass and are very difficult to get out.

After you know your wedding tent requirements, you can then meet with your wedding tent specialist at your rental store. You will want to meet with a knowledgeable person that specializes in wedding tent rentals that can answer all your questions about your wedding and be able to explain the whole wedding tent process to you. The person needs to be well organized, is very knowledgeable about the equipment the business has to offer. The person needs to be a good communicator and be available to handle last minute needs the day of your wedding. You should also let the sales tent contact person know who will be your contact representative.

The person should meet with you at the spot where you want to erect the wedding tent, check out the location to inspect that it is a good location to be sure the grounds are safe, the ground is secure, and how easy is it to get the wedding tent and supplies to the site. Also he needs to review the site in to how to secure the site, will you a night watchman or have other security needs.

Questions You Need to Know Before Finding a Tent to Rent
1-Date of event.
2-How many guests are you expecting.
3-Floor plan of the space for the reception area.
4-Will there be a dance floor, d.j., or music band.
5-Do you need bars, drink stations, serving stations, or buffet tables.
6-What are the heating, air conditioning, misting devices, needs you might need.
7-What areas of the tent do you want open spaces, sky lighting, windows, and entryways.
8-What type of lighting needs might you want.
9-What type of decorations might you want.
10-What will be your catering needs? what spaces do you need for them?
11-What type of flooring do you want?
12-Will there be access to power or will you need a generator?

Interview Questions for your Wedding Tent Contact Person
13-Ask for a brochure or catalog, and ask what is the name of the rental service company, their address, phone number, and website address?
14-Ask for the person you are interviewing with, do they have a business card, get their name, phone number and contact number such as their email address?
15-If there is another rental service person that will be your contact, get their business card, name, phone number and contact information?
16-How long has the company been in business? (The best rental businesses have been in operation a long time, 10 or more years)
17-How long has our wedding tent coordinator been involved in this business? (You want someone who has five or more years, knowledgeable, is accommodating, easy to do business with, has lot's of training, and is a good communicator)
18-What days of the week and times is the rental wedding tent business open?
19-Is there an emergency contact number available at off hours?
20-What wedding tents do you have available to rent for the amount of wedding guests needed? What is different about each tent you have to rent?
21-Do your tents have tie-backs, removable walls, or skylights as an option?
22-What sidewall options do your tents have, solid, windowed, mesh screens?
23-What colors are available for each tent?
24-What is the age of the tents that are available to rent?
25-What size tents are available for the amount of our wedding guests?
26-What period of time can we get the tent for?
27-Are the tents deodorized? What do we need to do to prevent mildew from forming while we are renting them?
28-Can we see the tents we are talking about? can we inspect the tents just before we need them?
29-How early can we get the wedding tent to be set up so our wedding vendors can start setting up?
30-How much time will it take to get the tent set up?
31-How does the delivery of the wedding tent work?
32-How many people are involved in setting up the tent? do you erect the tent or do we? if we, are there instructions? do you have the people needed to set-up the tent or do we need to contract people?
33-How much time is needed for tear-down? do you tear down or do we? if we, are their instructions?
34-Does the company also clean the grounds or do we need to hire someone to clean?
35-How is pickup of the wedding tent handled? if you pick up the tent can you also take other rentals or do we need to handle that separately?
36-Is the company insured? are the people who work for the company insured?
37-What happens if we cancel?
38-What happens if the wedding tent gets damaged? gets rips or tears? gets stains from grass, candle burns, lighting burns? other stains?
39-Do we need to get a building, fire engineer to inspect the tent or do you handle that?
40-What is done to protect yard damage during installation?
41-How do late fees work?
42-What are the flooring options that go with the tent? (nothing at all, astro-turf, carpet, sisal, matting, hardwood floor, other)
43-Does the tent use a pole? is there an option with style of pole?
44-How does the wedding tent get secured? is spacing on the side of the tent needed for walkways?
45-How might the tent be decorated?
46-How might the lighting needs be set up?
47-Does the rental company provide generators?
48-What other tents do you provide for wedding services? (cooking, food preparation, food storage, etc.)
49-Does the wedding tent coordinator inspect the wedding location with us? what does he/she check out at the location?
50-What happens if an issue comes up with our wedding tent the day of our wedding?
51-When do you need the name of our contact person?
52-How much is the cost of the wedding tent?
53-Are there other fees associated with the wedding tent? (travel fees, set-up fees, take down fees, taxes, cleaning, gratuities, other).
54-Have we covered all the fees, might there be hidden fees?
55-How soon before the wedding do we need to book the wedding tent? (generally 6 months for spring and summer and New Year weddings, 2 months for fall and winter weddings).
56-How much of a deposit or retainer is needed?
57-When is final payment due? (Usually 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding)
58-Do you have pictures set-up inside from other weddings?
59-Can we take the contract and review the contract before signing?
60-Can we get 3 referrals from couples that have used your services? (check with at least 2 couples)

Tent Sizes to Consider for Outdoor Weddings

                          Square Feet                           3/4 Sections
Weddings For      Needed for Tent                Needed for Dance Floor
50 People                 20' x 30'                                  9 x 12
100 People               30' x 50'                                12 x 15
150 People               40' x 60'                                12 x 18
200 People               40' x 80'                                15 x 20
300 People               40' x 120'                               20 x 24

Review the contract thoroughly, make sure the dates and times and people are clearly stated in the contract, it is always a good idea to have another person along to check the contract along with you and be an eyewitness. Make sure the person you are dealing with has your interests at heart and is not pushing things you don't need and is responsible for handling wedding day needs as they come up and is a good communicator and you are comfortable working with them. There are other rental companies out there that would love to work your wedding.

Wedding Bartenders

When considering a bartender for a wedding, the important thing to know, it takes a lot of experience to be a really good bartender, a really good bartender doesn't have to think, he/she knows how to run the bar without thinking. The rule of thumb it usually takes about 10 years of bartending to really get good at it. A good bartender tends to be trained, certified, friendly, courteous, and knows how to read and handle individuals once they have reached their limit. For upscale weddings you want one bartender for every 50-60 wedding guests.

These are the attributes you want to look for in your search for your wedding bartender. A really good bartender arrives an hour early to ready the bar and dresses professionally. He/she has knowledge of all products, recipes, and can hold a good conversation. He/she prepares drinks using both hands with a defined. He/she is aware of etiquette of drinks, drinking, and service. Everything in the bar has it's place, a bartender knows where everything is without having to think.

A wedding bartender situates moving items within easy reach. He/she keeps their workspace clean of dirty glasses, has his/her turnover glass operation running smoothly. He/she prepares garnishments ahead of time with a good estimate on how much is needed. When taking multiple orders, he/she makes drinks that take the longest first, the quickest last. He/she understands the alcoholic mix component needed for the bar.

A good wedding bartender has mastered the art of remember multiple orders in their head at one time. Is aware of mixing methods (blend, built, stir, meddle, shake, layer, etc.). He/she knows how to change equipment rapidly, keeps track of sales, receipts, tabs, deposits. and inventory. Supports and acts professionally with staff at all times. He/she keeps cool, empathetic, and courteous under pressure from patrons at all times.

When finding bartenders to work your wedding, often you can save yourself a lot of money if you can bring your own bartenders to the wedding, facilities tend to charge double or more for their in-house bartenders, half or less of what they charge to you goes to pay the bartender and the rest what they get from you they keep for overhead. You can ask around to find really good bartenders at hotels, clubs, restaurants, golf clubs, banquet halls, country clubs, yacht clubs, and well run bars. Many couples ask bartending schools for a bartender but often the bartenders don't have that experience factor yet and don't have that built in knowledge needed to handle a wedding.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Bartender
1-Ask for their business card, who do you work for, name of company, address, phone number, and if they have a website note that also?
2-What is the bartender's name, phone number, and contact information such as an email address? do they have a resume to share?
3-Is the bartender available for the date and time of our wedding? (if not, can you recommend another bartender for our wedding, get name and interview is over)
4-How long has your business you work for been in operation?
5-How many years have you been a bartender?
6-How many weddings have you covered as a bartender?
7-Can you tell me about some of the places you have worked as a bartender?
8-How would you be dressed at our wedding?
9-What would you recommend for alcohol needs for our sized wedding?
10-What bar equipment and tools can you bring for our wedding reception? what equipment would we need to provide?
11-What garnishments do you generally prepare for your bar? (olives, lemons, oranges, celery, etc.)
12-How's your knowledge of alcoholic drinks to prepare, do you have them basically in your head or do you need to look up drink recipes occasionally?
13-Find recipes of three semi popular drinks, ( or other alcohol recipe website) can you give me the recipe of how you make these drinks?
14-How do you prepare the bar for a wedding?
15-Can you tell me some about mixing liquor methods? (blend, built, stir, meddle, shake, layer)
16-How good are you at remembering multiple drink orders?
17-At what time would you arrive at our wedding?
18-How do you tell if someone has had too much to drink?
19-How would you handle a drunk customer?
20-How do you handle a busy bar?
21-What drink do you serve first, the drink that is prepared quicker or prepared longer? (hopefully they answer longer)
22-How do you deal with an unhappy customer?
23-You have a problem with another staff, what do you do?
24-Are you tips certified? (training for intervention procedures)
25-Identify a color scheme of your wedding, using our color scheme, what signature drinks would you recommend we promote at our reception?
26-If it is needed, can you provide a custom cocktail menu?
27-How do you handle tips? (At weddings tipping is suppose to be a no-no, have a sign no tipping)
28-How much are your charges if we hire you for our wedding?
29-Do you and your company have liability insurance?
30-Do you have a contract or do we need to prepare and bring a contract?
31-Can you provide 3 reference? (Should contact 2)

After you interview the bartender, you should get back in contact in a week or less, let the person know whether you are contracting with them or going with another, just so he/she knows that date is available to work for somebody else. Keep the contact always positive, you don't want to burn bridges with any bartender, you never know, if another bartender becomes unavailable, you have a fallback bartender.

Wedding Wait Staff 

As for finding a good waitress/waiter to work your wedding, the key is to check their references and to see them in action if you can. You would like an individual that has some experience waitressing significant events. A good servant is one that is good at handling multitasking, can do several things at once without getting overwhelmed or forgetful of things. A person that is efficient at servicing guests, but is also a quick conversationalist. A person that notices table needs, clears dirty tables, asks for a refill, brings an extra plate if needed, prepares a box of leftovers, and insures guests needs are taken care of.

A good waitress/waiter is a good listener who knows how to read guests whether they are in a hurry or not in a rush. A waitress/waiter is observant that food is properly prepared, has a good memory, is organized in set-up, knows the menu, and is efficient at clearing tables and handling bills. The interview process is more like a conversation than an interview, basically asking about prior events they have waitressed and getting references and either seeing or having someone else you trust have seen them in action. A contract for waitress work is optional.

So that is the story of interviewing rental services companies and people!

See you on the other side!


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  2. Lovely Interview Questions
    for wedding. Thanks for this helpful stuff.