Mieraf Asalfew is a newlywed who chose the week after the Easter holiday to hold his wedding with his girlfriend of seven years, Mahlet Abereham. In order to host the 450 people they have invited, they had to rent equipment for the wedding such as tents, chairs and cutlery, which cost them around 13,000 Br, said Mieraf.
This year at the Easter holiday was celebrated on Sunday April 12, 2015. After a two-month fasting period from meat and dairy products for Orthodox religious devotees. The celebration is followed by two months of a non-fasting season.
This is one of the seasons where weddings seem to be happening left and right, stated Tadios Tadesse, owner of Blue Décor. Other seasons such as February, September and November are also popular for wedding celebrations mainly because those are also none fasting periods exemplified by sunny weather, he added.
Tadios was an employee at a décor shop before he established Blue Décor in 2007. First it was only a décor shop but in 2011 he bought a small number of items such as plastic chairs, tables, glasses and plates that could be rented for wedding celebration. Though he could not recall the prices of those items, with them he began the rental business with its shop located around Sheger Park along Belayzeleke St.
Tadios began his rental business with 100 plastic chairs but he now has 3,000, his ten tables have increased tenfold and his 100 plates and glasses are now 500 each. Additionally, Tadios now has four by four, five by five, six by six and eight by 20 sized tents in his rental collection.
Few people dare to throw a wedding party during a fasting season not only because they fast, but the people they would invite, which is a spectrum of different religions would likely not come and be part of the festivity, said Hirut Almrew, managing director of Class Plus Event Organizer Service Plc. However, other celebrations and parties will be taking place to complement the sale that would have come as a result of equipment rental for wedding events, she added
Class Plus, established in 2010, carries out a parallel rental business next to event organising, wedding planning, decorating, and light and sound engineering.
This season is a peak for rental service sales. For example, this week they are packed on both Saturdays and Sundays, which are the prominent days for wedding celebrations, said Hirut. This is the case for Blue Décor as well, said Tadios.
Class Plus has 100 round tables that can serve around 1,000 people at once and a thousand chairs to go with them, said Hirut. The company also has five by five and five by eight sized tents which can accommodate around 30 and 50 people respectively, she added.
The price of the product is mostly set by the existing market price, said Hirut. They are attentive of each other markets to raise or lower prices, said Tadios. Mostly prices increase if the buying price for the product increases, he added.
Two years ago, glasses and plates were rented for 60 cents a day. The price is now one birr, said Medhin Décor, manager Addis Dawit. Medhin Décor, one of the pioneers of the sector was established in 1997 when only one or two well-established competitors existed, said Addis.
A four by four tent is rented for around 600 Br, while the five by five, and six by six are rented for around 1,300 Br, 1,600 Br respectively. Plastic chairs which used to be rented for three birr three years ago now are rented for four and five birr. Class Plus provides ballroom chairs on average of 23 Br rental price, said Hirtu.
Most rental services will carry out the transportation, organisation and setting up of the equipment and the transportation cost is usually covered by the customer based on the distance travelled, said Addis. But the customer also has the choice of transporting the equipment himself, he added.
Rented items are not given out without the provision of ID cards and the payment of a refundable guarantee to cover the cost of any damage or theft, though there has been no occurrence of theft in any of the three rental services Fortune visited.
So basically, they hold the money as leverage in case damage occurs, said Hirut. They do not have a set standard payment but they estimate the cost based on experience, which mostly would be three percent of the total cost, she added. The number of guests that will attend the wedding and the provision of various beverages will increase the risk of damage, said Tadios.
It is very comforting to find such utensils available for rental when you are in chaos of hosting a wedding and frustrated by the question of whether the utensils that you have are enough to serve all your guests, said one woman who tied the knot. She rented items such as glasses and plates out of fear that she might run out, at a price she found very fair, she said.
Tadios agreed with her, he said the expenses he spent on rentals was as much as the money he spent buying an ox for the wedding. A good ox may be priced at around 10,000 Br.
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