Looking for a fabulous night out while giving back to the Austin Community? Consider attending the CASAblanca Gala benefitting CASA of Travis County on February 3, 2018 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin.
If you know anything about CASA, you know just how much they do for kids in our community. If you don’t know anything about CASA, you should definitely take a minute to familiarize yourself with this incredible organization.
CASA’s mission is to promote and protect the best interest of children who have been abused or neglected by training volunteers to advocate for them in the courts, in schools, and in our community to help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes. Currently, CASA serves all children ages 5 and over with court appointed special advocates. Through this year’s CASAblanca Gala, their hope is to be able to add enough volunteers and funding to expand that offering to children ages 2-5 who also need this service.
Victoria Young, Events Manager for CASA, has been working with this year’s magnificent gala chair, Donna Bell, and honorary chair, Catherine Sansbury as well as the gala committee to organize this year’s event entitled “creating brighter futures”. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the gala and will include uniquely told stories of the children whose lives have been impacted by the wonderful work at CASA. It will be moving and inspiring to all who attend.
In addition to the narratives, there will be live music by The Eggmen, performances by Violet Crown Collective, and a Verbena bloom bar with corsages, boutonnieres and other flower adornments for attendees. In addition, there will be mystery boxes featuring Kendra Scott jewelry, a live and silent auction (get a sneak peak of what you can win on the event home page here), bling from Diamonds Direct (who will get to take home the real deal?), and a casino after party. It is definitely an event not to be missed.
So, what are you waiting for? Round up your friends and get your tickets to this fabulous event today.
I recently helped a client find rentals for a 40th birthday party; the theme was 80s. I also turned 40 within the last year; so, I, too, am a child of the 80s. I loved everything about this party.
The thing about this bar, is that it makes such a big impact. It sets the tone for the party from the minute the guests arrive. It comes with LED lights so if you’re venue is dark, it really pops out.
Nothing screams 80s more than PacMan and Space Invaders! Added bonus: the guests have a great time taking turns playing. I envision a high stakes tournament.
You want your guests to be comfortable and styled lounges can do the trick while keeping in line with the overall theme. Imagine how much different the vibe of the party would be if they just had a bunch of folding chairs. Lucky for them, they already had some furniture in storage so they just needed to rent a few more things.
You could also go with a pool table. The idea here was to give the guests more to do while keeping the 80s vibe.
I always love before and after pictures. Check these out:
This party had a DJ and dance floor as well. You could also go with a karaoke machine. Either way, an 80s playlist is the finishing touch for the ultimate 80s party.
Here are some additional 80s party ideas on Pinterest.
The most impressive thing about this party is that it was all planned in less than 2 weeks! The total cost for the rentals with delivery and tax was $2838 (delivery was higher than normal because they were located out of town a bit). We got quotes from 8 different rental companies and narrowed it down to 3 companies: one for the arcade games, one for the styled lounges, and one for everything else. Here’s exactly what was rented:
Reach out if you are planning a party or event, I would love to help! I can also put you in touch with the party planners that planned this 80s event, Julia and Amberlin in Austin, TX.
We all love the truly Austin tradition of the festive trees decorated along Highway 360, but those decorations need to be cleaned up now that the holidays are over. 70+ volunteers are needed to join Keep Austin Beautiful from 9-11am on Jan. 6th to restore the natural beauty of this iconic highway. Meet at 7700 N Capital of TX Highway to pick up supplies and meet back at the same location for an appreciation party complete with treats at the end! Volunteers are asked to wear brightly colored clothing and bring a reusable water bottle. Learn more and register on their website.
Each year, Ballet Austin offers a free day of fitness and pilates to celebrate health & wellbeing. Kick start your 2018 goals and try something new like Bollywood Fitness, Pilates Reformer or CardioFUNK. Tons of trial classes and free healthy living presentations will take place between 1-4:30pm on Jan. 14th at their downtown location. Registration is not required but is encouraged to stay informed about event information.
Don’t miss the award winning Broadway musical, Finding Neverland, when it comes to Bass Concert Hall this month! It tells the story behind the beloved character of Peter Pan. For an unique meet & greet experience, join the company members for a free Brown Bag Lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 17th from 11am-noon at the Austin Parks & Recreation Senior Activity Center- Lamar location.
Austin Smiles has been working to create smiles and improve lives for over 30 years in Latin America and the Central Texas region. This year’s annual gala invites you to don your traditional cowboy hat & boots to advance the cause at the UT Alumni Center. Don’t miss the live auction, raffle, live music & more!
Join Stacie & Craig Falls at this year’s Imagine Gala. This annual event benefits the area of greatest need at Dell Children’s Medical Center and includes a cocktail reception, dinner and program. There will be a spectacular live auction and special patient story shared followed by dancing and casino fun!
This month, we’ve teamed up with local, Austin company Hop N Party for a giveaway of a bounce house rental for a full day of fun. We rent a lot of bounce houses through Loanables so we knew our community would love it. What’s not to love? Air it up, add a cake and you’ve got a party!
Last Friday, we met the owners of Hop N Party, David Hieronymus and his dog, Levi, to announce the giveaway on Facebook live. When you get the chance to meet David, you will immediately love him. His military background has clearly impacted the way he runs his business. He and his staff are reliable and responsible. He has a commitment to safety, ensuring that his business is properly insured to serve & protect you and your family on party day. I have rented from him several times – the service is always professional and the bounce house looks brand new (he says he replaces them every 3 years). He has a 5 star rating on yelp after 64 reviews! In this video clip we asked him about that:
During the interview, we fell in love with cute, little Levi. You can hear more about his role at the company here:
Since we love entrepreneurs, we had to ask about how he got started:
And finally here are some quotes from his customers:
All of these reasons are why we chose Hop N Party for our December giveaway. Win a free, full day bounce house rental and your kids will hop through the holidays and into the new year with extra spring in their step! Throw a last-minute holiday office party or add a little bubbly for the adults and celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Or, just make it through the school break by entertaining the kids in the neighborhood for the day. You’ll be the coolest house on the block for sure!
Planning your next office party, school function, or charity event and looking for somewhere to host it? We have put together a list of 10 utterly cool and unique Austin Event Spaces. So, if you are looking for something different to help create your event of the year…
This historic train station moved to East Austin in the 1980’s. Recently, the station was renovated and in the summer of 2016, it was opened to the public as an event venue, a one of a kind space to host parties of all sorts. In addition, they in the process of adding the Pine Street Station building to Springdale Station. Moved from 5th and Waller downtown, this historic building will soon be part of the event venue complex – look for it to be ready when you plan your event!
The ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin hosts a beautiful convertible event space for groups of all sizes. Located in the heart of downtown and backing to the beautiful Ladybird Lake and Hike and Bike Trail, this beautiful venue would be perfect for weddings and fundraisers alike.
This space is about 800 square feet and is bright and open with a rolling front shutter open to a front terrace which can be used during events. The walls are covered in fine art rock-n-roll photography and art including some great shots of the early Austin music scene. It would be a really cool private party venue!
While most people who have been in Austin for a while know of the South Congress Hotel, many of us don’t think of it as an event venue but seriously, what’s cooler and more Austin-y than a party on South Congress? This indoor/outdoor event venue can provide an amazing event space for up to 450 guests. Designed with a flexible room configuration, this space can work for almost any event!
Located in the historic Goodall Wooten House just minutes from downtown and the State Capitol building, this venue is in the heart of Austin. This Greek revival style mansion offers indoor and outdoor spaces which provide the perfect backdrop for any social event.
Built in the early 1900’s, this multi-purpose event space sits directly on Waller Creek and 6th Street. The main ballroom showcases the original brick, hand-scraped hardwood floors and a balcony overlooking the water and can accommodate up to 270 guests for a standing reception.
OK, so it’s not technically in Austin but just 15 miles south in Kyle, TX lives this amazing event center. An ex-motion picture studio, this property has been reborn as the peaceful and versatile event center it is today.
Nestled on a secluded hilltop just minutes from downtown Austin, the historic structure and beautiful gardens can accommodate up to 200 guests. The hall was originally built in 1904 in Mercury, Texas and moved to its current location in 1997 where it has laid home to a wide variety of events. One of our favorite things about Mercury Hall? They try to keep things in the South Austin mindset; laid-back!
Another gem on Waller Creek. Built in 2012 overlooking Lady Bird Lake, downtown Austin, and Congress Avenue Bridge, this boathouse is a partnership between the City of Austin Parks and Rec Department and Austin Rowing Club. It is a short walk from the Convention Center, local hotels, and many restaurants and can accommodate up to 600 guests for a wide range of events.
Gather boasts both indoor and outdoor customizable spaces that they use to help make your event come to life. They have 2 unique venues:
I guess that’s really 11 if you are being pedantic, and there are so many others as well. If you don’t see what you are looking for on this list, check out Peerspace or Unique Venues to find a unique, creative space that meets your needs!
So, what are you waiting for? Book your venue today and get planning! And, remember, check out loanables for all your event rental needs!
It is maddening to search for linens online. I find a fabric I like, but then I have to figure out whether or not any of the available sizes are the sizes I need. Here’s a chart I put together to help Loanables’ users that are planning events:
If you want a 60″ round to be mid-length, you can use a 90″ or 108″ round tablecloth. (You can also use 72×72 square tablecloth). If you want it to touch the floor, get a 120″ round.
And, as always, if you have any questions, email email@example.com – we are happy to help!
If you haven’t entered our monthly giveaway, of 50,000 hour LED, programmable Holiday lights from a local Austin startup, Brightly, don’t miss out! One lucky winner in Austin will win lights + installation for FREE when we draw TOMORROW! Enter here for your chance to never put up or take down Holiday lights again!
Today, we want to introduce you to Brightly’s founder, Jake & Ryan. Two software geeks who have always wanted to be in business together, and finally found their bright idea. Listen in to how they got started:
What Jake & Ryan are bringing to Austin is truly tech genius meets eco-conscious and budget-friendly! We did the math for you: at a cost of $1199 for a typical one-story roofline with one peak, these 50,000 hour programmable, LED lights used 24/7 for 6 months of the year, these Brightly lights should last over 11 years, bringing the annual cost down to $102.56! How much are your holiday lights costing you to put up and take down? Get Brightly professionally installed and NEVER take them down!
My husband and I have had this ongoing argument for all 14 years of our marriage. How will we decorate for the Holidays? He doesn’t want to climb into the attic to bring down my treasured nativity set or mantle decorations, and he definitely won’t get up on the roof to put up lights. This year, however, I am putting my foot down. I’m going to climb up in the attic if I have to. And we will have lights on the house, one way or another! I’ve looked at the options, and I’ve made my decision. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of what I’ve considered or you can scroll to the end to see my final choice!
Well, this one is definitely off the table because my husband has refused to do it for over a decade already, but if we were considering this, I would look at the cost of outdoor lights, renting a ladder to get the job done, and the time it takes to put up and take down. I’m estimating about $500 to buy the lights and a good 4 hours to put up, maybe 2 to take down? The lights will probably last 2-3 years, right? And then bulbs or strands go bad and have to be replaced so, I’ll average that to $350 and 6 hours every year, which would equal $1,750 and 30 hours over a 5 year period. Make it 8 hours since after pulling the lights out next year we will likely have to make a trip to Home Depot for more supplies. We ALWAYS end up at Home Depot multiple times for one project, don’t you?! That would take us to 40 hours of work and we have to figure out where to store the lights in a manner that allows us to reuse them in our already stuffed garage or attic. Ugh!
I’ve had a couple of friends talk about the cost of hiring someone to do this for us and it sounds outrageous! One quote received was $1500 the first year, and then almost $1000 per year after that (buying the lights from the company and using the same lights that they would store until the next year). And this was just a simple roofline, adding trees or other landscaping added hundreds more! It seems to be more in the $400 range when using the homeowner’s supplied lights or a rate of about $75/hour. This seems like a LOT of money for a few weeks of cheer. And I hate the idea of paying for storage units, which is what a company would have to use to store the lights for my house year after year.
This is what we tried the last few years because my kids really wanted the house to be pretty and colorful. So I ordered two on Amazon to be sure it was enough to cover the full front of our house. It worked and looked lovely, but we had two major problems with these. First, they have to be put pretty far away from the house, depending on the amount of coverage you want. And of course, we wanted to have color on the WHOLE house, so they were inserted in the yard almost to the curb. This required a lovely orange extension cord running across my lawn to the front yard…actually two of them! And that really took away from the look during the day. And second, while they were less than $100, they still seemed to be a bit expensive to leave sitting in the front yard overnight, so we had to bring them in to the garage every night. After a few times of this, they simply didn’t go back out. So they didn’t actually light up our house for the Holiday at all. And they are now stuffed somewhere up in the attic, I’m not sure we could even find them to put out again this year.
Because of Loanables.com, I discovered Brightly, which installs Holiday lights for every day. Check out this video to see them in action! They use 50,000 hour LED lights that can be programmed to display different colors, patterns and even effects like chasing colors and sparkling stars. They are permanently fixed so they don’t have to be put up year after year, and they are very discreet when not turned on so they don’t have to be taken down either.
Since they are already up, Brightly lights can be used for every holiday or event, all year long! I’m thinking the 4th of July in red, white and blue, Halloween can have exploding orange, or my daughter’s 9th birthday can be lit up in chasing pink! At a cost of $1200 for a typical roofline with one peak, over a 5 year period and using them once a month instead of for just one month of the year, that turns into a cost per use of only $20 each time! And of course that cost per use goes lower and lower if you consider they’ll be on pretty much all of fall with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all in a row.
This is way less than the couple hundred (at a minimum) for the other options and provides year-round enjoyment! This seems like a no-brainer because my husband does NOT have to get up on the roof EVER and we will only pay for them ONCE. Since they are on the house permanently, they don’t require any storage throughout the year and are incredibly ecofriendly since they can last so much longer than your average outdoor holiday lights.
Did I mention they are expected to last 50,000 hours! That’s 50,000 hours/ 365 days/ 24 hours per day means that if they were used every minute of every day, they should last for 5.7 years! Since they won’t be used EVERY minute, let’s say I use them every minute of every day for even half of the year, I’m guessing these babies could last me 10 years! For $1200 that is a STEAL! $120/year is WAY less than any of the other options we have looked at.
I think you can tell, I’m really excited about Brightly. And even more so because it is this month’s GIVEAWAY! Yes, YOU can win installation of Brightly for FREE by entering here. And hop on their website to get a free quote for your installation…they are only doing 10 homes in Austin between now and the end of the year and I want one to be MINE!
If you are throwing a wedding, housewarming party, 40th birthday party, or any other big bash, you may be wondering how much alcohol you need to buy. If you read our How Many Glasses Do You Need? blog, you may be searching for some additional information on how much alcohol to actually buy to go in those glasses.
As you may know, you should plan on one drink per guest for each hour of your function. This should ensure you have enough alcohol for your party (unless you are having a college fraternity party – then you may have to rethink your calculations). So, you can use the following formula:
# of guests x hours of party time
Let’s assume you are throwing a 4 hour party for 250 guests. In other words, you will need 250 guests x 4 hours = 1000 drinks.
Now, let’s assume you will serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks.
BEER: How Much Do You Need?
40% of all party drinks are beer. So you will need to use:
# of total drinks x 40%
1000 x 40% = 400 beers
We recommend bottled beer but if you are having a keg, you need to make sure you can serve 400 beers. (NOTE: Most kegs contain 15.5 gallons of beer or 165 12-oz servings.)
WINE: How Much Do You Need?
Wine accounts for 60% of all remaining drinks. So you can use the formula:
(Total # of Drinks – Beers) x 60%
(1000 – 400) x 60% = 360 glasses of wine
A standard bottle of wine (750ml) serves approximately 6 glasses, but unless you are really careful about how much you are pouring, you may not get the full 6. I like to use 5 glasses per bottle for my calculations, then you are sure to have enough. To figure out how many bottles you will need, you can simply divide the total number of glasses you need by 5. In this case: 360 glasses of wine / 5 glasses per bottle = 72 bottles of wine needed.
Now you need to decide how many bottles of red, white, and sparkling wine you need. In order to do this, you should consider whether the event is an indoor/fall, winter, spring event or an outdoor/summer event. In case of an indoor/fall, winter, spring event people will drink more red wine so you should plan for 50% of the bottles being red, 25% white, and 25% sparkling. In our example, this would mean you need 36 bottles of red, 18 bottles of white, and 18 bottles of sparkling. If you are planning an outdoor/summer event, you can split the bottles evenly between red, white and sparkling. Using our numbers, this would mean you needed 24 bottles of each red, white, and sparkling.
When buying multiple bottles of wine, you will definitely want to buy it by the case. I always round up to the next case. Having a few extra bottles ensures that you will not run out and maybe you will have a few bottles left over for hostess gifts or to drink while you wind down!
SPIRITS: How Much Do You Need for Mixed Drinks?
Any drinks that are not wine or beer will fall into the mixed drink category. You can calculate this as:
Total # of Drinks – Beer – Wine = # of Mixed Drinks
Calculating what you need to buy for this category is WAY trickier and depends entirely on the types of mixed drinks you will be serving. Limiting the choices to one or two “signature cocktails” can help you decipher how much alcohol and mixers you will need to purchase.
The average cocktail uses:
For example, if you are making mojito which contains rum, lime juice, and club soda, you can assume you need 1.5 oz rum, 1/4 oz lime juice, and 4-6 oz club soda. You just need to figure out how many ounces your bottle of rum contains, and divide that by 1.5 to know how many cocktails you can make with that bottle and then do the same with your accent juices and mixers.
If you are serving champagne for a champagne toast, you will need one bottle of champagne for every 8 guests. This should give you enough champagne to have 1/2 glass for each guest for the toast. In our example, this would be 250 guests/8 = 31.25 bottles of champagne (rounding up, you need 32 bottles).
Don’t Forget the Water
In all the discussion about how much alcohol to buy, don’t forget that all guests will need water at some point in the event. Make sure you have plenty! You can estimate that guests will drink about 12 ounces every 1/2 hour – hour during the party. We recommend tap water where possible to help preserve the environment. Did you know that only 8% of plastic water bottles are actually recycled? That leaves a lot of water bottles filling up our landfills! If serving tap water you need to account for 4 12-oz glasses per person or 1000 glasses of water.
If you keep these tips in mind, you can rest assured that you will have everything you need (drink-wise) for your big event. If you need glasses, tables, chairs, etc. check out loanables.com to find, compare, and rent.
When I first starting looking at linen rental prices, I thought, “This is crazy. I can buy for less than that!.” Sometimes, that is in fact true, but there are other things to consider. So, why do people rent if it is cheaper to buy?!?!
Here are 3 things to think about before you decide between renting and buying linens for your event:
If you choose to purchase, you need to plan on ironing or steaming the linens the day of the event. When you purchase linens, they come folded, and there are deep creases in them. Sometimes, they also have a factory smell to them. Many people prefer cleaning before using them the first time to get rid of that smell. If you buy, plan on cleaning twice: before and after your event.
If you choose to rent, the linens will be delivered to you clean and steamed. They are ready to use. And, when the event it over, all you have to do is give them back to the rental company.
It costs $10-15 to dry clean a tablecloth. That is often higher than the purchase price. Now, if you purchase a polyester tablecloth, you can launder those yourself, but you will need to iron or press them after they are clean. When deciding whether to rent or buy, make sure you factor this in unless you plan to just throw them away afterwards. (I’d be remiss if I did not add…please don’t throw them away. We don’t need more stuff in the landfill – at least donate them.)
You can typically resell your linens for about 1/2 the price you paid. But, keep in mind, most people purchasing will require them to be clean and stain free. Also, it is likely that at least one of the tablecloths will get ruined or stained (especially if you are serving red wine).
I’m doing this calculation today for an event we are currently planning at my kids’ school:
The co-chairs have picked out beautiful, silver, satin tablecloths. These tablecloths are $24.95 to rent, and they need 50 . That is $1247.50 just for tablecloths (I gulp every time I see that price)! So, of course, my gut reaction was “let’s just buy these.” We found similar tablecloths on Amazon for $16.78 including shipping (they are not Prime eligible). So, they will cost us $839 to purchase.
For simplicity sake, let’s say they arrive from the factory and don’t have a bad smell. Also, since it’s a school event, we can probably find a volunteer willing to iron or steam them before the event. (I am, however, nervous about being able to transport them without them getting wrinkled. I’m not sure we will want this extra stress with everything else going on the day of the event).
After the event, though, we will have to clean them before we can sell them. My local cleaner quoted me $11.50. That will be an additional $575 so my total costs is $1414.
I believe I could resell them for $8 each. Of the 50, I’m going to assume 2 of them (about 5%) came back with stains that the cleaners could not remove. I’ve got 48 for resell at $8 each, which equals $384.
So, here’s the breakdown:
$839 (to purchase) + $575 (to clean) = $1414 – $384 (resell value) = $1030 total cost to purchase vs. $1247.50 total cost to rent.
The difference is $217.50. Is it worth my time to iron them beforehand, take them to the cleaners afterwards, and find a buyer plus probably ship them to the buyer? I could easily argue both sides, and I think it comes down to a personal choice and deciding where you want to spend your budget and your time.
Also, don’t forget I’m taking a risk – if the tablecloths arrive with a factory smell, I have to clean them before the event. The total purchase expense in that case would be more than renting ($1605 to buy vs $1247.50 to rent). I have to decide if I’m willing to take that risk and do the extra work.
If the rental price is less than the purchase price, it is always better to rent than to buy (even if only by a small amount).
It isn’t so black and white when the rental price is more than the purchase price. The main thing you need to consider is what your time is worth. I’m not a professional party planner so my personal rule is: