InTents June/July 2021 - 24

(currently, it's up to six throughout this
year). However, while the guest lists
shrank, the production quality was
comparable to 2019.
Isbell noticed the same. Although last
Tents for Rent installed this 59-by-78-foot
Anchor Aurora sailcloth last year for a
wedding. Unable to stake because the
tent was set up on a basketball court,
the company secured it with multiple
1,600-pound concrete weights. Photo
courtesy of Tents for Rent LLC; Jim Batty.
year Celebrations! did a " fraction " of its
usual wedding business- " We had some
small weddings in remote locations that
required a lot of equipment to accommodate
the additional space required
[for social distancing], " he says-the
company found that since guest counts
were reduced to 30 or 50 people at the
most, the quality of the items utilized
was better as a result of not having to
rent hundreds of everything.
Focusing on experiences
This illustrates one of the wedding trends
likeliest to remain in play for this year-
small. For example, although Isbell says
guest counts are up slightly, they're still
much lower than in previous years. Hana
April Chughtai, CEO of marketing agency
Hana April Inc., and of sister company
Mani Mela, both in Minneapolis, Minn., says
intimate is in.
" What we're seeing now is that the
wedding business is back, but on a
smaller scale, " she says. " Clients are still
focused on intimate gatherings rather
than hosting larger guest counts. We're
also seeing that clients are spending
less of their budget on their wedding
overall, focusing instead on the guests'
experience or choosing to focus their
budget toward purchasing a home or
traveling to a honeymoon once the
pandemic is over. "
During the pandemic, Mani Mela,
which serves the luxury wedding
market, saw all its weddings canceled
or postponed. The resulting downtime
led to a reevaluation of its business
model. Rather than acting as a fullservice
wedding design company,
Mani Mela decided to concentrate on
providing creative loral services and
artistic installations for weddings,
says Chughtai. This strategy has
enabled the company to work with
more clients and a wider range of
budgets. This was an especially timely
move since some clients are spending
AT A DISTANCE
U
nlike in other industries, Zoom didn't really
catch fi re in the tent rental/event planning
space last year. As Brad Isbell, general manager of
Celebrations! Party Rentals and Tents in Roseville,
Calif., explains, when it comes to planning a
wedding, seeing and touching are essential.
" Instead, we used a lot of new sanitizing
processes and made sure to only allow
appointments and followed strict guidelines to make
our customers aware of our offerings while being
safe, " he says. " We also utilized a live-chat function
on our website that allows multiple customers to
ask questions while they're browsing each product
online. That was huge for us. "
Live-streaming services are another matter. Hana
April Chughtai, CEO of marketing company Hana
April Inc. and luxury-wedding planning company,
Mani Mela (both in Minneapolis, Minn.), says they're
seeing more clients inquiring about adding this to
their ceremonies.
" We're also seeing that having a projector screen
at the venue can further connect at-home guests to
the wedding experience, since the wedding guests
can see their loved ones on the screen live, " she
says. " It's empowering how technology has played
such a crucial role in bridging the distance. "
In order to offer live-streaming, they've partnered
with several AV companies that assist with camera
operation, direction, positioning and lighting, while
her teams concentrate on seamlessly integrating all
the components together, allowing for a high-level
experience, says Chughtai.
" It's a strategic move since we know in the
future, events will be relying on this even in a postpandemic
world, " she says.

InTents June/July 2021

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