The Cozy Caravan Club. A 1950s-inspired camper or a “Bubbles & Brews” ’59 mini-truck can park at your party and serve boozy milkshakes or beer and wine on tap. Local laws mean that you’ll have to buy the alcohol. Rates start at $1,250.
DC Rental. In business since 1986, this Arlington party-rental company works on big events such as the Kennedy Center Honors, but it also rents out supplies for smaller affairs. It can provide the tablecloths (including glitzy sequined ones), mod china patterns, and colorful glassware, plus chairs, tables, and service equipment including punch bowls. For orders of $400 or more, it will deliver for an additional fee, or you can pick items up at its warehouse. Showroom, 2625 S. Shirlington Rd., Arlington; warehouse, 2617 S. Shirlington Rd., Arlington; 703-671-7300.
A Grand Event Party Rentals. This full-service company stocks simple glassware (including Mason jars for $1 each), coolers, table linens, chafing dishes (great for keeping cocktail-party food warm), chairs, tables, and tents. A jumbo showroom offers delivery, or pickup is available. 5020 Nicholson Ct., North Bethesda; 301-231-8368.
Perfect Settings. Bars, glassware, plates, and table linens for rent, plus 20 kinds of chairs and barstools with dozens of interchangeable seat fabrics to fit whatever theme you want. (Hippie tie-dye? Fluffy orange flowers? It has both.) This company serves everything from weddings to corporate events, but its colorful selections—stored in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse—make it worth checking out for larger fetes. 1851 S. Club Dr., Landover; 202-722-2900.
Something Vintage. Midcentury mismatched china plates and cups (a tea-party package for 30 costs $300), a 1960s brass bar cart, weathered farm tables, and boho-chic serving pieces power parties that look anything but corporate. A fun-to-browse website organizes items into categories like “French” or “Bourbon” and features pre-designed lounge packages including a “Keep Palm and Carry On” grouping of sofas, green side chairs, and a bright Turkish rug you can rent for $1,000 a night. 4826 Stamp Rd., Temple Hills; 202-596-8445.
Table Manners. Make an event especially Instagrammable with dozens of colors and varieties of runners, napkins, and tablecloths for rent at this Fairfax showroom. Offerings range from violet sequined linens for glam nighttime affairs to an oversize green gingham tablecloth ideal for a back-yard barbecue. The company also has a factory, so it can make custom-size products. Chairs and tables are available, too. Showroom (by appointment), 8451 Hilltop Rd., Suite L, Fairfax; warehouse, 5345 46th Ave., Hyattsville; 301-277-0582.
We’re Having a Party. A kid-focused rental company with nearly two dozen bounce houses to choose from, including princess castles and a monster-truck contraption, plus pint-size tables and popcorn-popping carts. For parents, it also has margarita machines. 2300 Perkins Pl., Silver Spring; 301-589-5008.
Booze in Bulk
Costco. The price-club store requires membership to buy beer, wine, and liquor (and most of its Maryland stores don’t sell the harder stuff), but many items cost 20 percent less than traditional retail. It also sells its own Kirkland label of wine, beer, and spirits. Multiple area locations.
DC Kegs. More than 800 beers, wines, and ciders by the keg, delivered to you cold on the day of your bash.
First Vine. This direct importer specializes in European wines from small Spanish, French, and Italian producers. Many bottles cost less than $20 each. The company delivers to your door.
Total Wine & More. This local chain boasts hundreds of wines, from cheap to collectible, plus spirits and beer. You’ll get discounts for ordering by the case and can order online and have items delivered. Multiple Virginia and Maryland locations.
BarSphere. Hire a mixology pro—or wine-pouring wiz—for your next gathering. Ball-capped bartenders show up with supplies and ice; they’ll provide the liquor for events with a cash bar. 855-277-4373.
Bialek’s Music. In business almost 40 years, this family-run company pairs party hosts with live-music pros such as DJs, steel drummers, or a Beatles cover band. Photo booths and lighting can also be arranged. By appointment, 932 Hungerford Dr., Suite 3, Rockville; 301-340-6206.
McCallum Sauber Wholesale Florist. This longtime wholesaler sells its rainbow-hued selection of flowers to pros and the DIY-savvy public at low, if not cheap, prices. It recently moved to new digs in Lanham. 5001 Forbes Blvd., Suites A and B, Lanham; 202-526-5253.
Middle Atlantic Wholesale Florist. In a warehouse setting, this floral provider equips both pro and amateur bloom arrangers. A small stock of flower supplies (foam, baskets, vases) helps wannabe Martha Stewarts. 4406 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; 703-370-1092.
TaskRabbit.com and Thumbtack.com. These two gig-economy giants can put you in touch with local independent contractors—a bartender for your cocktail party, a guitarist to play during a holiday bash, a tarot-card reader. Enter your party dates and needs, and multiple vendors (with customer ratings) bid on your business.
This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Washingtonian.