That's what Conway's Pam Teague and Events Rental have been doing since 2000 By Rachel Parker Dickerson
Pam Teague knows events.
In business since February 2000 as Events Rental, she has supplied the know-how, the manpower, and the little touches that make an event perfect, whether it is a charity fundraiser or the most lavish of weddings.
Teague got into the business because of a desire to help young couples who were just starting out. She was employed at Snap-On, where she worked 23 years, and she taught a college and career Sunday school class at her church. Couples in the class would tell her they were getting married, but they did not have money for a beautiful wedding.
She began to purchase wedding items - a punch bowl here, some decorations there. Soon she had an inventory that was nothing to sneeze at and she was gone every weekend, but she was doing it all for free. Her husband said she needed to go into the business full-time, hoping he would see her more often.
"Little did he know" she would be even busier, Teague said. Being available after hours for brides and plenty of work on the weekends means she is gone from home a lot, but she loves her work.
"Every bride is completely different," she said. "I want to listen to what they have to say. Some brides are romantic - lots of lights, lots of candles. Another is classy - sleek lines. Another is eclectic and contemporary. I get them to talk about what they're looking for and determine what kind of bride they are. Then we can offer suggestions about how to set up the sanctuary and the reception."
Teague said she aims to make the wedding planning go smoothly so that the bride (and her mother) can enjoy the day. Her busy season begins in January, she said, because diamond rings tend to come out of hiding at Christmas.
"I try to encourage them to come in early - six months, a year," she said. "All they have to know is the date, where they plan to have it, if possible. If they have pictures of the inside, that's great, and, if possible, their colors. We laugh and tell them, 'If you found a place and a man, we can find the rest.'"
"We can help them find caterers, photographers, videographers, limos - we're kind of a one-stop shop. We network with other vendors."
"Now people are coming to us for fresh floral. That's a huge part of our business. We can plan their centerpieces, sanctuary setting, tablecloths and toppers."
She can plan the wedding with other florists as well, if the bride has already chosen a florist, she said.
Teague said she can also offer advice on making the ceremony run smoothly, for example, the proper way to light a unity candle or the best ages for flower girls and ring bearers.
"I don't tell them what to do, but just what I've learned from my years of experience," she said.
Teague's new location is at 3230 Vail Avenue in Cimmaron Park. Before the move, she was located on Harkrider Street. Her first location was at Oak Street and East German Lane.
The new location has 6,000 square feet, compared with 4,000 square feet at the last location. The larger capacity has allowed Teague to increase her inventory. New to the inventory are items for Hindu weddings.
"We've done several Hindu/Asian weddings," she said. "We didn't realize how much call there was for that, so we've ordered some new pieces. So many people have been going to Dallas or Chicago (for rentals), so we've been trying to accommodate them. We've been learning about their culture and their weddings. We've been really fortunate that someone described every ritual to us."
Teague also has a large inventory of wrought-iron decorations, which are widely sought after.
"People come from other parts of the state and out of state" to rent the wrought iron pieces, she said.
For Saturday events, renters may pick up pieces as early as Thursday and keep it to return on Monday as a one-time rental.
"It gives them plenty of time to play with it and get it exactly right," Teague said.
In addition to decorations such as arches, candelabras, gazebos, and reception necessities like punch bowls and cake plateaus, Teague also has an inventory of fabrics that can be used to "tie everything together."
"We try to keep up with the trends of colors. Each year the color pallets change a little. Chocolate is the new black. Chocolate and apple green, chocolate and turquoise, chocolate and pink â€¦"
Teague said the largest portion of her business comes from referrals by happy customers.
"There's not a lot of money in this business, but the joy of having a bride come back and say, 'It was more than I ever could have dreamed; I didn't have to be stressed â€¦' It's a lot of fun. Hard work, a lot of stress, but when you stand back and look at it, it's so rewarding."