From hanging lamps to chandeliers, Milestone Event Rental adds elegance to a formal farm wedding.
Imagine a Midwest landscape in autumn. Rolling golden cornfields, lush green grass, shade trees ablaze with yellow, orange and red foliage—this was to be the scenic backdrop for a September wedding in Iowa.
Toward the end of 2018, Milestone Event Rental, a full-service event rental company based in Farmington, Minn., was contacted by a happy couple who planned to say their “I-do’s” on a picturesque farm in rural Iowa. Their vision for the big day included a full-fledged formal black-tie affair complete with a sailcloth tent, hanging lamps and chandeliers, a dance floor and an afterparty in a barn on the property.
The client first contacted Milestone about the job in November 2018, says Marty Haas, owner and operator of Milestone Event Rental. “In December we were told we didn’t get the job, but then in February 2019, the client came back to us after the previous rental company decided to back out.” The contract between Milestone and the client was then finalized in June 2019.
The venue for the autumn wedding was to be Poortinga Farm located in central Iowa and approximately four hours from Milestone Event Rental’s headquarters in Minnesota.
“I visited the site during blizzard conditions in February 2019,” says Haas. The event planner/designer had already been in communication with Haas and his team to let them know ahead of time what she was envisioning and looking for. “We had about 20 different Party CAD drawings with 3D imaging for the clients to see how things would look,” says Haas. “Everyone was on the same page and we just clicked, which really helped.”
Tents and custom creations
The tents selected for the formal farm wedding included a 59-by-119-foot Aurora sailcloth tent and a 44-by-43-foot Tidewater® sailcloth tent, which were installed on-site one week prior to the late September wedding. “We had to lay out the tent a week in advance so the client could properly support the center poles when they installed their own flooring,” says Haas. “The flooring itself cost too much, so the client stained the plywood.”
To make their time worthwhile, the team from Milestone completed staking for the tents during that same site visit. Haas also installed the cabling that would run throughout the tent by ladder as the floor was being painted on that day. Custom tooling was also hung throughout the pole barn.
According to Haas, the chandelier process was one for the record books. “Keeping the cables hidden and out of sight was the goal.”
Tables were set out three days prior to the wedding so that Haas and his team could figure out the location of the drop-down cables and run extension cords throughout the ceiling. “Even with a CAD drawing there were some table adjustments, which normally isn’t a big thing except when you want a chandelier to hang directly above those tables,” says Haas.
During the morning of the wedding, the remaining chandeliers were put up and leveled. “And then they were taken down to be moved and slightly re-hung—which turned out to be a lengthy process,” says Haas. Greenery was used as the finishing touch to hide the cables.
For the most part, the wedding celebration went smoothly. However, there was one close call later in the day: a flashflood warning. “During the evening, I was called back on-site to install [tent] walls and, if needed, have everyone evacuate the tent.” Luckily, the weather stayed in check and everything went as planned.
The following day, the team dismantled the tents in soaking rain. “The ground was so saturated that just walking on it caused your feet to get wet. We had a floor to walk back and forth on, but the Tent OX™ was of no use to us and would have destroyed the ground,” says Haas. Stakes and the catering flooring had to be hand carried out.
Since the wedding, Haas says that Milestone Event Rental has seen a dramatic increase in demand in Iowa. “It’s to the point where we are doing more dollar volume in Iowa over Minnesota right now,” he says. “Pictures on Instagram and Pinterest really sell this wedding, but it’s the chandeliers and cabling system that we are being asked to replicate.”
Tenting: Milestone Event Rental, Farmington, Minn.
Event planner: Kate Elizabeth Brides, New Haven, Conn.
Event planning Team: Gather Event Planning, Fargo, N.D.
Photographer: Betsi Ewing Studio, New York, N.Y.
Floor: Next Door Interiors, Des Moines, Iowa
Floral design: Shelly Sarver Designs, Pella, Iowa
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Napa, Calif.
Garden chairs/wood farm tables: Pella Rental & Sales, Pella, Iowa
Wood crossback chairs/linen chairs: Unique Events, Cedar Rapids, Iowa