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Installation spotlight: Milestone Event Rental

We plan, fate laughs and this industry still finds a way to pull off the impossible.

Installation Spotlight, Projects | October 1, 2023 | By:

This 59-by-99-foot traditional sailcloth tent was a last-minute replacement that ended up being the better choice to keep guests shaded and comfortable. Photos courtesy of Milestone Event Rental.

Every event planner knows that trying to book a tent just four months before a wedding is going to be very difficult. Trying to book a tent four months before a June wedding is almost impossible. Fortunately for this particular bride, Marty Haas with Milestone Event Rental in Farmington, Minn., was determined to find a way to squeeze her wedding into their busiest time of year. 

“We’d done her sister’s wedding as well a few years ago, and the family really wanted to work with us again.” Haas explains. “It took a few phone calls, but we decided we could make it happen.”

But this was not a small, backyard event being held nearby with a single tent to set up—something that could be easily added to the schedule. This bride’s plans included four tents totaling 7,100 square feet and a guest list
of 300 at a venue located in Pella, Iowa, which is over four hours away from Milestone’s headquarters.

“We had to do everything on a super tight schedule because we were already really booked,” Haas recalls. “But we made it happen.”

In addition to providing the tents, Milestone was also responsible for supplying the chairs, lighting, tables, fans, draping and flooring for the event. Installation began with the floor on a Tuesday, but the venue was concerned that having the flooring down for several days would kill their grass. 

Despite the short install window and the many challenges, the tent and event staffs created a gorgeous reception venue.

Haas’ solution? Water the floor. 

“We had the venue water the flooring to keep the grass underneath damp and keep it all alive and well,” he explains. 

But the next day, a much bigger problem surfaced—there was a malfunction with the 57-by-96-foot clear sailcloth tent. “After hours of talking back and forth with the manufacturer, we didn’t really have a good solution other than to take the tent down and give the bad news to the event planner,” says Haas. “It happens.”

Fortunately, he was able to soften the bad news by reassuring them that a replacement was available, though it was a traditional sailcloth rather than clear. “The parents didn’t want the clear tent to start with, so they were actually happy about it (in a nice way). The bride was a little disappointed but was ultimately just glad we had another option for a tent.”

Of course, going back to get the replacement tent meant a nine-hour round-trip drive. And the 57-by-96-foot clear sailcloth tent was replaced with a 59-by-99-foot sailcloth tent, which meant the flooring had to be reworked as well. 

It was the kind of install that gives members of this industry countless gray hairs, but the small crew of four was able to pull it all off. The new tent was installed on Friday with enough time to spare for Katie Jethwa with Elizabeth Brides and Karissa Kjos with Plan To Gather to orchestrate the decorating details so flawlessly that no one who showed up to this gorgeous reception on Saturday had any idea everything hadn’t gone exactly
as planned. 

In fact, Haas notes that the tent malfunction and replacement ultimately turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “The rising temperatures for the weekend meant having a normal sailcloth tent ended up working out well
for everyone.”

And the grass that had to be watered through the floor?

“You could tell a few places where it didn’t get watered, but that grass survived six days in 90+ degree temperatures!”  

By the numbers:

  • 4 tents
  • 300 guests
  • 7,100 sq. feet of tented space
  • 4 crew members
  • 26 hours setup time
  • 7 hours tear down

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