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Tent company upholds ideals under pressure

Project Briefs | August 1, 2008 | By:

Ellco Rentals works within the pressures of reality to produce a delightful 400-guest wedding.

When a client comes to Ellco Rentals Ltd. with a dream wedding in mind, Alison Elliot knows it’s her job to create that ideal within the constraints of reality. In April, Elliot and her team erected an 80-by-150-foot tent for a 400-person wedding reception. The tent went up easily nearly two weeks before the event, but the team still had to contend with the pressures of such a huge event.

Ellco Rentals serves its home island of Barbados, in addition to other Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Because of the company’s location, director Alison Elliot usually builds in plenty of time for planning. “In general, we do like a generous amount of time for discussions, because we are not ‘down the road’ from our suppliers,” she says. “If special requests are made, it involves shipping to the island either by air or sea freight, which takes additional time.”

With this particular wedding, Elliot had two months of planning and had enough inventory to account for the inevitable changes. The team installed the tent early to take advantage of dry weather and to leave time for the construction of walkways. “In spite of the perceived plenty of lead time with the tent installed up to two weeks in advance, it is always a challenge to coordinate the installation of other services and avoid the inevitable last-minute rush,” she says. “Time management is paramount to avoid the ‘nail-biting’ dash to the finish line. The size of this event emphasized this need fortime management.”

Good planning doesn’t involve just timing and logistics. This client had budgetary restrictions, and Elliot had to advise accordingly. “Weddings in general are always a challenge, because every couple and their families have their dreams and ideals of what constitutes their perfect day,” Elliot says. “As a rental professional, diplomacy and tact play as much part in the decision-making process as the advice on the rental equipment and the size of the tents. The enjoyment from our point of view is in trying our best to make this dream day happen for them, within their budget and with a layout that optimizes the resources available.”

Elliot says the client was extremely satisfied and used the expression “honesty and value for money” to describe Ellco’s services. She says the wedding was a prestige event that provided the company with invaluable exposure to potential clients from Barbados and the wider Caribbean.

“Profit is not a dirty word,” Elliot says. “With a smooth outcome of an event we trust the profit will follow!”

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