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7.18.2011

Vendor Review: Abbott Party Rental


Hi friends! To start off my Vendor Review series, I am covering our rental furniture vendor, Abbott Party Rental, based out of Lombard, IL. One way to save money on your wedding is to find an event space that is a la carte. This means you get to shop around for the best deal on chairs, tables, linens, etc, but it also means that you are responsible for finding a good company within your budget limitations that can provide quality service and products.

My First Choice
I researched and compared prices for what had to be every rental vendor that worked in the city of Chicago. I made a spreadsheet with all the different pricing, offerings, delivery charges, restrictions, etc. At the end of my exhaustive research, I decided on Party Central. They had the best pricing and a huge selection to choose from. I called to set up my reservation with them and they were totally nice and courteous on the phone. However, during our phone conversation, I found out that they do not pick-up or deliver on the weekends during non-peak dates. My date, May 7, was just before the start of their “peak season.” BUMMER! I needed Friday delivery and Sunday pick-up. No bueno.

Abbott Party Rental - Pricing
The next-best pricing I could find was for Abbott Party Rental. They were able to deliver and pick up on the days/times I needed, so they were the winners. I ordered the following:
  • 110 White Wood Style Chairs with Padded Seat
  • 10 36” Round Tables – 30” High
  • 12 36” Round Tables – 42” High
  • 10 90” Round Tablecloths in Charcoal Gray (for lower tables)
  • 12 132” Round Tablecloths in Charcoal Gray (for highboys)
  • 12 Sashes in Charcoal Gray (to tie highboy tablecloths)
The total for the above before tax, delivery, tip and fees was $837.00. Phew! Who knew rentals were so darn expensive?! Heads up, ladies! Make sure you plan for this to take a nice chunk from your budget if you are not choosing a venue that has rentals included.

Delivery was $90.00 (nice!), plus a “damage waiver” of $50.05, fuel surcharge of $16.74 made my grand total $993.79 – coming just shy of my $1,000 rental budget! That was a close one.

Quality & Service

  It doesn’t matter how much you save if what you get is shitty. This is now my mantra as a budget-wife. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. Abbott was not THAT bad. (Just remember that mantra for the future.) On a five-star scale, I give them a 3.

Customer Service
I have very little to complain about their customer service. I had pleasant phone calls with my representative and it was easy to set up and make changes to my order. They still use fax, which is a little irritating in 2011, but it’s not a deal-breaker. They were fast in their responses to me and kept up with email surprisingly well!


Delivery / Pick-up
Here is where they definitely lose the first star. I had the day before my wedding scheduled out perfectly: pick up people from the airport, get a mani / pedi with a girlfriend, meet the rental delivery people, set-up the chairs and tables, etc etc. You can imagine my surprise when I got a phone call while relaxing in the pedicure chair saying, “Hi, Crystal? It’s Abbott Party Rental. We are here with your delivery.”  Ummm… no. You aren’t there because you aren’t scheduled for another hour. And you aren’t scheduled for another hour because I don’t have access to the event space until then.

Ha! So, I panic and start calling my DOC, Hollie, over and over and over and over again. She, of course, is on a conference call (because she’s not technically working for me for another 4 hours) and can’t answer. I call Alexis at Kitchen Chicago – no answer. I call Charlene (from Sweetchic Events) and HOORAY! She answers! Not only does she answer, she says she’s not far from Kitchen Chicago and will go meet them right now and take care of it. Bless her heart! I got my toes polished up and took off before they were even dry so I could let Charlene get back to her day. The delivery guys were still there with her when I got there, and I was informed that 2 tables were missing from the delivery. In addition to the added stress of arriving early, I was short some tables! I don’t even know if they ended up bringing them at a later time, but I do know that I paid for them!


Rental Quality
To start on a good note, the linens were exquisite!  They were a nice quality and color and they were all accounted for. I know the linens really helped dress up the space and they were well worth the $336.50 that we paid. I originally contemplated making them myself with wholesale fabric and some quality time with my sister and her sewing machine. After doing the math, however, it was actually just as expensive and was going to take up way too much time. If you plan to use your linens again, then doing it yourself is probably more economical. But for one day, I was better off renting.
Highboy table with tablecloth and sash.
The other star was taken away for the furniture quality. Not only did the delivery guys not open the straps for us so that we could get the chairs off of the dolly (my dad almost snapped a finger off trying to help us!), once we got to them, they were dirty! They honestly looked like they had just been dragged down a dusty dirt road. It took so much extra time to find cleaning rags and detergent and to wipe them down that the whole rest of the day’s schedule was falling way behind. I’d also like to point out that while the description says “wood style”, they are not actually wooden chairs. I was mislead, but I suppose not entirely lied to. I was disappointed to find that they were plastic resin chairs in the style of wooden garden chairs. They still looked nice once they were all set up (and cleaned up), but I was a little disappointed.
You can kind of see our chairs here.
Thank you to my mom, dad, nieces, nephew, Michelle, and Hollie for the extra chair cleaning help! :)

Suggestions
If I had a wedding during peak-season (summertime) or had flexible delivery/pick-up dates, I would go with Party Central for rentals. I can’t attest to the quality of their furniture or linens, but my dealings with them were stress free and their pricing is extremely competitive.

Make sure you give yourself enough time for room set-up if you are doing it yourself! I could have used an extra 2 or 3 hours. Cushion your schedules, girls! Please leave any suggestions you might have in the comments for other readers to use!
Just because. :)





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