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When we use the term ‘tent wala’, it means someone who provides more than just a tent. Don’t go only with one: get a recommended list from friends and family and Check their reputations before going further. No matter what the recommendations, do not go in for more than one tentwala to supply your needs. Dealing with one you are sure that there is only one accountable person. Check all their supplies for quality and cleanliness.
List out all your requirements clearly right from the beginning. Be clear and make sure the tentwala understands exactly what you have in mind so that there are no problems later.
Call for quotes and compare from as many people as you can if the event is a large one with lots of decorations. This gives you a bargaining edge.
Once you have shortlisted a few and have tentatively decided who you will hire, check the following points:
- See the quality of the chairs and tables for seating. If they are rickety then no matter how beautiful the covers, they will be uncomfortable and can lead to serious mishaps.
- See the tables and chairs before they are covered to see how clean they are. See everything for shabbiness, as even if they promise to cover it up, be sure that a shabby, sloppy tentwala will not change on the final day.
- Check that the serving tables are clean and stable. You don’t want a shaky table that could collapse anytime. Also a dirty serving table will smell.
- For the shamiana and kanaat, the backdrop, the decoration and other structures at the venue: See what they already have. If it is very different from what you have in mind, get someone else. If the tentwala is ready to make something new, keep what he has done before in mind and work with that, as each tent wala has a particular competence. Especially check the structural integrity of areas such as the main gate, the serving tables, stage, mandap or gazebo.
- Decide on the quality based on your design and budget.
- Lights, fans, gas heaters, sigri or coal fires: check their quality and whether they are all in working condition.
- Make sure they have a working backup generator.
- Crockery and cutlery: see the quality and cleanliness. Especially check the tines of the fork for cleanliness. The plates should not be chipped or scratched.
- Serving dishes should be coordinated and easy to serve from. Be clear that you have a server to help with serving even in a buffet.
- Check all the decorations you have decided upon. These would include decorative lights, buntings, drapes, flowers, candles, potted plants, balloons.
- If the floor covering is a carpet, make sure they are clean and aired. Stored floor coverings smell very unpleasant.
- Check on the staff available for setting up the venue to ensure that everything is completed well in time. Ensure that an electrician and a carpenter are a part of his team for smooth delivery.
Clarify from the beginning what time you want everything set up at the venue. Ask the tentwala if there is any restriction on the movement of their delivery vehicles in residential areas in your city and plan accordingly.
Keep a margin of at least one hour before the guests arrive for having everything ready and at least one hour after all the guests have left for dismantling. When negotiating be firm about what time they will have everything ready. You don’t want guests to arrive to a half finished venue.
Try to get everything down in writing so that there is no miscommunication.
On the day of the event, check that whatever was promised is delivered. Count the numbers of chairs, tables, fans etc that you are paying rent for.
Don’t pay large advances: in case they don’t deliver properly you have no recourse left.