ABSOLUTE TENT AND EVENT SERVICES
Word on the Street, Woofstock and Canada Blooms have all called on Absolute for tents, so a wedding is no sweat (the website calculates the tent size and accessories needed, depending on the type of event and number of guests attending). Ten to 1,500 guests can be accommodated, though multiple tents can be attached to host even more. Several styles are offered, including the popular frame tent, the standard pole tent and the clear span (which offers the most open space). Prices start at $125. Staging, heaters, lighting, chairs and tables are also available. 230 New Toronto St. (at Islington), 416-203-8332.
AL GERVAIS PARTY AND TENT RENTALS
This 62-year-old Scarborough-based family company once delivered equipment in the back of a station wagon; it has expanded and upgraded to a fleet of five-ton trucks. Entrance canopies range from a short 10-foot walk (from $215) to a 300-foot hike (from $2,900). For brides and grooms flustered by à la carte rental pricing, Al Gervais offers three levels of rental packages, including the basic (tent, tables, lighting, chairs and dance floor for around $2,000 for 100 people) and the deluxe (with all of the above, plus tableware, bar, glassware and linens; about $4,000 for 100 guests). Site inspection and installation are included, as is a 24-hour emergency number for any crises that may arise. 75 Milner Ave. (at McCowan Rd.), 416-288-1846.
ALLIGATOR PARTY RENTAL
All the wedding necessities are available here, with a choice between functional basics—folding chairs ($1.50), classic white china ($4 per dozen) and stainless steel cutlery ($2.75 per dozen)—and pricier, more stylish options: classic gold banquet chairs ($8), gold-rimmed china ($5 per dozen) and silver flatware ($0.50 per piece). Alligator will go the extra mile in the name of fun: you can also rent such kitschy accessories as a SnoKone machine ($70), a retro-style popcorn cart ($85) and a cotton candy spinner ($70). The website offers a helpful rental calculator for couples on a budget. Closed Sunday. 505 Dupont St. (at Bathurst), 416-532-1162.
Why not have a tropical rain forest (with gurgling waterfall) shipped in and set up in the backyard for the big day? In addition to supplying tropical-themed weddings (one couple recreated Trinidad in Toronto), this exotic and native plant rental company works extensively with commercial, film and TV productions; its creations were featured in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It has also outfitted such boldface events as the Gemini Awards, Fashion Cares, the Brazilian Ball and the wedding of an Entertainment Tonight host. Accent accessories include river rocks, sand, snow, sod and fountains. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 1720 Concession 8, Claremont, 416-213-5623.
Canada’s largest party rental company stages gala events for top-drawer clients (the AGO, the TSO), as well as more private affairs. The company’s versatility and its comprehensive selection of stemware, flatware, custom-coloured linens, chairs and tables set it apart. Rental offerings are better than standard issue: for instance, clear Lucite mirage chairs ($10 each) and Riedel champagne flutes ($4 each). At the showroom, savvy staff can put together a sample table setting before your eyes. What’s in? A mix of contemporary and traditional. What’s out? Anything over-coordinated. Closed Sunday. 184 Railside Rd. (at Lawrence), 416-391-0400.
D&D PARTY AND TENT RENTALS
After more than 30 years in business, this party rental place is only missing an in-house caterer. Tents start with the 10-by-10-foot canopy that renters install themselves ($125) and go up to a 40-by-80-foot white frame ($2,500) that shelters more than 300 people. Accessories include dance floors (oak, teak or plastic black marble, from $1.50 to $1.67 per square foot), lights and heaters. Tables come in every shape and size (half-rounds, serpentines, high-tops); customizable chairs (add cushions, ivory covers or gold sashes) range from the economical folding variety ($1.65 per chair) to a more classic Chiavari style, in six colours ($8). 40 Shaft Rd. (at Hwy. 401), Unit 10, 416-665-9570.
EXCLUSIVE AFFAIR RENTALS
This company prides itself on having a multitude of options in stock and keeping up with design trends. Exclusive Affair’s buyers source new products from season to season, so chances are good that if you’ve been coveting a sleek new tapas plate, the company already has it in stock. The extensive inventory is a catalogue of wedding must-haves—tumbler-style wineglasses, long rectangular platters and serving pieces in the latest colours, designer flatware—including classic staples and modern alternatives for the budget-conscious. Seating options display similar range, from plastic folding seats to plush dining chairs. By appointment. 51 Esandar Dr. (at Laird Dr.), 416-759-2611.
HAROLD’S TENT AND PARTY RENTALS
For casual and chic outdoor nuptials, tents come with a contemporary-looking clear vinyl top or more classic white sheer draping (from $550). Such extras as infrared heaters and custom flooring and lighting (halogen lights, pin spots) are available. Create ambience and a lounging area with Harold’s selection of furnishings: white ottomans, sofas and benches are popular; contemporary pieces include a Le Corbusier–style leather sofa ($180). Illuminated bars, available in a variety of colours, go for $160. A full range of party rental essentials—tables, dishware—is also available. 894 Caledonia Rd. (at Glencairn), 416-787-0652.
VARSITY TENTS AND EVENT RENTALS
After more than two decades, Varsity Tents is still providing shaded solutions for weddings both intimate and sprawling. In addition to tents (more than a million square feet of coverage available in more than 100 possible configurations), Varsity rents out heaters, furnishings and even luxury porta-potties. Free installation and 24-hour emergency service are part of the package. On-site consultations (to help locate the perfect spot for the tent) are also available. 40 Carl Hall Rd. (at John Drury Dr.), Ste. 140, 416-410-7370.