The Complete Guide to Hiring For Outdoor Events

To plan an outdoor event you need to start off by selecting a specific theme, or planning your event around an activity – such as a performance, sporting competition, or a memorable moment.

Preparing for an outdoor event can appear daunting at first, but we’re here to help with some outdoor activity ideas, events, hiring items and equipment as you prepare to host your invited guests.

Outdoor Garden Parties

Garden parties cover a range of outdoor celebrations and activities.

You may be celebrating an engagement, baby shower, wedding shower, birthday party, anniversary, or family reunion.

Sometimes, they may form part of a housewarming, as an introduction to your beautiful, new garden!

You might even be planning a corporate function for your company, with a classy dining experience.

Whatever the event, make sure the atmosphere is set to create plenty of memorable moments!

We’ll help you find the right items to plan your outdoor event easily in Cape Town.

garden party celebration with decor lights and furniture

Birthdays and wedding showers are often hosted in gardens. The generous space and natural environment creates a wonderful atmosphere for your party on the day.

Garden environments are also often used as a place to have drinks before heading off to events. Some examples are:

  • Matric dance pre-drinks
  • Annual company events & celebrations
  • University formal pre-drinks
  • Bachelor or bachelorette party pre-drinks

Outdoor Birthday Party

Having a birthday celebration outdoors is a great idea! It provides room for a braai, or barbeque, as well as ample space to mingle with family and friends.

Being outdoors also creates a fresh energy that can be used to your advantage. Not to mention the great lighting for photos!

hosting an outdoor birthday party

You can tailor your choice of equipment to suit the size of your guest list, and find plenty of decor to create a sparkling table setting for the guest of honour!

What you'll need

1. Table & Chairs

You can tailor your choice of equipment to suit the size of your guest list, and find plenty of decor to create a sparkling table setting for the guest of honour!

Try Rectangular Trestle Tables, or Shutterboard tables, and pair them with Lime Camelot Chairs or Lotus Chairs.

2. Cutlery & Crockery

Don’t forget the basics in terms of cutlery and crockery to assist you in serving the food- and of course, the all important birthday cake!

The Cambridge cutlery set is versatile and functional. You’ll probably need to hire a combination of knives and forks as well a cake knife, and cake lifter. Hire crockery to suit your theme and style from our crockery range.

3. Decor

Decor can be used to liven up the outdoor space, and enhance its natural appeal.

Easels and lights are particularly effective outdoors, for personalising and decorating the space.

Cut Glass Underplates and menu stands are elegant ideas you can use to dress up your tables. For an evening event, try the Gold Geometric Lantern for a classy way to add natural light to your table settings.

4. Equipment

Think about everything you need to serve your guests outdoors. Consider hiring ice buckets to keep drinks cool and braai bundles such as barrel braais or gas braais as well as essential bundles with everything you need – braaing equipment, utensils and servingware.

A great idea is an outdoor “beer garden” style birthday party which your guests will love!

We have the perfect packages to create an inviting beer garden, with all the right glassware, tables and seating.

Rent a Parasol And Beer Bench Set or an Affordable Beer Bench Set for an easy way to organise the table and seating combo for the garden style birthday party.

This picnic style seating is ideal for a beer garden feel, and including the parasol is a great way to help handle the weather in case it’s a scorching summer’s day.

wine barrels with wine for private wine tasting festival
beer buckets at beer garden part

Hosting A Housewarming Party

A housewarming includes the whole property! So don’t forget about the garden – use it to your advantage.

Housewarmings are great, they bring everyone together to celebrate your new living space.

Unfortunately, it’s quite common to wake up the next morning to a really messy place, with dirty dishes, glasses, and floors.

Sometimes, a way to alleviate some of these future chores is to take the party outside! With plenty of space for guests to mingle – and enjoy delicious meals cooked on the braai.

Beer garden party

For a great housewarming, consider hiring some of the following items to create an inclusive space for guests to mark your big move!

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

For a housewarming featuring lots of casual conversation, it would be a great idea to hire rectangular long tables for your guests to sit either side of and enjoy each other’s company.

Consider the rectangular shutter board table, or an item like the Pine Harvest Table. Pair your long table with benches to cater for all of your guests comfortably.

2. Cutlery, Crockery & Glasses

Sets of knives and forks, perhaps some dessert spoons and plenty of glasses to suit your guests’ drinks preferences.

Try classics like the Vision Main Fork and Vision Main Knife, as well as the Cambridge Dessert Spoon if you plan to serve any sweet treats.

For glasses, it’s a good idea to hire a variety.

Pick Classic Champagne Glasses and have a toast to your brand new place!

Classic white wine glasses, Willy Beer Glasses, or Pilsner Beer Glass and Highball Glasses for soft drinks are also great choices.

Serve your guests spirits, and measure cocktails with Single Shot Glasses and Double Shot Glass.

On the topic of cocktails..

You could hire Gin and Tonic glasses and Martini glasses which look sophisticated and stunning!

Don’t forget about Manhattan Tumbler Glasses for serving brandy and whiskey on the rocks.

3. Decor

You can never go wrong with some casual and inviting lighting to create an enchanting garden setting.

If you’re looking for a natural source or light, that might encourage guests to warm up and mingle, find a central spot to place an open fire basket.

If you’re looking for something with more of a twinkle, that you can attach to your picnic style tables, consider stringing up fairy lights to create a sparkling garden space. Our LED multi light can also work well if positioned in the right place, and if you’re a fan of bright colours.

4. Equipment

You can hire some essential items to cater for guests, or go all out and plan something extravagant to celebrate your new space!

Go with a traditional South African approach and hire a barrel braai, or two, to cater for your guests with mouthwatering meals.

If you’re feeling more high tech, consider hiring a 4 Burner Gas Braai.

It’s also a really fun idea to organise a bring and braai, prepare the essentials and have your guest contribute for the rest!

You could even plan the perfect potjie evening – try No.1 Potjies and No.3 Potjies a great idea for a truly South African housewarming Wine Cooler Stand around to keep bottles of wine (and beer) crisp and ready to sip!

Semi Formal Outdoor Events

Dressing up a garden with amazing decor can make it the perfect location to host a semi-formal event such as a baby shower or bachelorette party.

Use this section as your one-stop guide to everything you need, and plan the perfect semi-formal outdoor shower or party!

wedding shower with modern table setting

Outdoor Wedding Showers

Hosting a wedding shower typically involves choosing a great theme, and following an awesome planning checklist.

Once you have your theme in mind, and the size of your guest list, you can start hiring items for the day of the wedding shower.

To do this, you should hire items that suit your chosen theme.

Let’s start with some of the basics.

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

It’s popular to choose lightweight, portable chairs for outdoor wedding showers.

They’re easy to rearrange and lightweight when packing up.

Some popular options for garden settings include White Tiffany Chairs and Clear Ghost Chairs, or White Deli Bar Stools.

For cushioned options, try the Lime Washed Camelot chair or the Walnut Camelot Chair with a rustic finish to match the natural garden setting.

For tables, try the Round Table to seat 10 guests or the Round Table Mirror with sleek white linen for a classy look and feel.

2. Cutlery, Crockery & Glassware

It’s important to hire the right cutlery and crockery to cater for your chosen menu. Start by getting some ideas for your menu, such as the starters and snacks you’d like to serve.

It can also be fun to plan a high tea – just don’t forget about ordering a beautiful cake! Contact us and we’ll help you find a great bakery with delicious cakes.

wedding shower table setting

Rent Vision Starter and Dessert Forks, as well as small Vision Starter and Butter Knives for sweet and savoury snacks.

Teaspoons for teas and coffees are essential as are the Kings Cake Lifter and Cake Knife for serving the celebratory cake. Don’t forget to choose a cake stand!

To cater for your thirsty guests, rent wine glasses, highball glasses for soft drinks and beer glasses for a celebratory toast.

3. Decor

Silver underplates look stunning when arranged with other items such as Masone Hurricane Vases featuring breathtaking floral arrangements.

For a rustic approach, try Malawi Underplates woven from strands of straw. You could pair this with a Wood Cutlery and Condiment Holder, which blends well with a rustic theme.

Finish off with sleek White Round Stretch Tablecloths, or White Square Table Cloths, depending on the tables you’ve chosen.

You could also go for something with an intricate pattern to catch the eyes of your guests. Check out the Black and White Woven Square Damask Tablecloth, or a classic like the Black and White Striped Tablecloth.

4. Equipment

It’s a popular choice for members of the bridal party, such as close friends and family to contribute dishes and snacks. This way, there isn’t a lot of stress on the bride and you can focus on the celebration.

It’s likely that you will need some essentials in any case, for keeping mouth watering morsels warm and delicious. To help you try the Double Electric Hot Trays and Rectangular Roll Top Chafing Dish.

Outdoor Baby Showers

A beautiful garden is a great natural setting to host a baby shower and gather all your family and loved ones.

It’s a lovely way to celebrate the future newcomer to the family, with all of your loved ones.

For this event, we’re looking to create a refreshing, lively atmosphere that gets your guests in the mood for plenty of conversation and laughter!

baby shower with coloured balloons
baby shower with colourful table setting

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

The size of your guest list will determine how many tables and chairs you need, so start by getting a good estimate.

Depending on the theme and guestlist you should consider round tables versus rectangular tables. The round

8 seater and 10 seater options allow groups to engage better, while the rectangular shutter board table or rectangular trestle table can be more forgiving on seating arrangements.

Great chairs for the garden are usually comfortable, durable..and lightweight. Making them easy to reposition as you please.

For example, Deli Chairs, White Tiffany Chairs, Clear Ghost Chairs or even clear Champagne Chairs (with cushions).

2. Cutlery, Crockery & Glassware

The cutlery required for your baby shower is important depending on what you plan to serve your close friends and family.

Light snacks and refreshments such as mini sandwiches, teas and coffees, sweet and savoury treats are common. Furthermorea beautiful cake is essential!

Take care of your guests with Wiesenthal Tea Cups and Royal Porcelain Tea Pots, as well as Coupe Coffee Mugs, and rent a hot water urn or coffee percolator to make sure you have teas and coffees completely covered.

Remember to hire round side plates for your guests snacks, as well as teaspoons, and dessert spoons for those savoury and sweet treats.

It’s always best to keep some classic highball glasses around for soft drinks and water, and consider hiring a jug to fill and have on the table for your guests.

3. Decor

Keep the linen you pick for your baby shower or wedding shower fresh and light, or intricate and eye-catching.

Have a look at our White Rectangle Tablecloth, and matching White Serviettes for a classic, clean look or for serviettes that stand out with beautiful floral designs – check out the Black Peony Serviette.

4. Equipment

Hiring for equipment for a baby shower is quite straightforward.

It is common to have food catered for you, or for friends and family to contribute dishes, snacks or items to help cater for the shower.

In this scenario, consider hiring a Double Electric Hot Tray for keeping those snacks warm, or chafing dishes for housing larger courses.

For a stylish way to serve coffee, hire the sleek Stainless Steel Coffee Plunger for the table.

Hire parasols for shade on a sweltering summer day, or heaters for warmth on a chilly winters day.

Outdoor Gender Reveal Party

What is a gender reveal? It’s a part of a popular trend for couples (especially on social media) to throw a party and reveal the gender of their future child.

People get very creative with interesting and fun ways of sharing the news with loved ones.

These parties are often fun and lighthearted, perfect for bringing the family together to celebrate a truly memorable occasion!

modern gender reveal

Plan the perfect gender reveal partyand rent additional themed decor to enhance your big announcement.

Coloured smoke bombs, balloons, and streamers are popular choices to give to your guests to join in on the celebrations.

gender reveal party with blue gazebo and paper lanterns
gender reveal party

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

The tables and seating arrangements for a gender reveal party tend to be pretty loose.

The emphasis is on revealing the baby’s gender in a creative way, and isn’t about your guests being seated throughout the party.

Hire a few long trestle tables for laying out drinks and snacks and if you would like some tables for drinks and snacks for your guests, consider some small cafe style tables.

Picking chairs for a gender reveal party is easy!

Find something that’s comfortable but also lightweight and maneuverable. This way, you can plan your garden space effectively, and how you’d like to set up the party.

Some great ideas: Clear Champagne Chair, White Deli Chair, White Woodrow Chairs, and Lotus Chairs.

2. Cutlery, Crockery & Glassware

We’re looking for most of the basics: a cake stand, some side plates, coffee cups and a coffee plunger, tea pots, and maybe a hot water urn.

It would also be handy to hire some teaspoons for guests to prepare their teas and coffees, and possibly a small starter fork for sweet and savoury snacks.

A Manhattan Glass Water Jug to have water on hand at the table, is also a great idea, and pair it with hiball glasses and a breakfast glass for serving some fresh orange juice.

And you can make the way you serve tea and coffee extra special with the Gold Tea Pot, or if you’d prefer, a sleek Silver Tea Pot.

3. Decor

Decor is where a gender reveal party really comes to life.

Use it to emphasise your grand reveal and form the theme for your gender reveal party overall.

Lighting can be used to enhance your garden setting, and you can pick colours according to how you wish to reveal your baby’s gender.

You could also keep a mixture of coloured lights around to keep your guests guessing..but fairy lights work well for adding a spark to your table settings, as well as Gold Geometric Candles.

It’s popular to hire a selection of pink and blue linen to mask the gender of the baby for when your guests arrive at the party, however once the big reveal takes place, you can remove some of the decorative linen.

To reveal your new baby’s gender, you can use items like coloured smoke bombs, pinatas, get your guests to take votes on what they think the gender might be, or a lot of confetti.

This is the part you should personalise, and come up with the best way for you and your partner to reveal the sex of the new addition to your family.

4. Equipment

The equipment you need for a gender reveal party is fairly basic.

Having a hot water urn for guests teas and coffees, and one or two Rectangular Roll Top Chafing Dishes and Double Electric Hot Trays for keeping hot food items warm and toasty.

You may also decide to hire a gazebo or a tent to cordon off part of your garden, or if you’re fearful of the weather on an overcast day.

If you plan to cater for the food yourself, you may need an extra hand! Try the Electrical Anvil Baking Oven for delicious sweet and savoury snacks and a Microwave Oven for reheating.

Formal Outdoor Functions

For hosting large corporate functions and annual company wide celebrations outdoors – it’s best to rent a large open space, and finding a tent that’s the right size to house your event.

The purpose of your event could be an annual prize giving dinner, or the wrap up to a very successful year, with the potential for guest speakers, music and presentations.

large corporate dinner

Large functions require a lot of legwork, and it’s important to make sure you’re completely covered.

Corporate Dinners & Work Functions

To make events like corporate dinners and other annual events a complete success – you need to bring in some style and really make the space you have, your own.

It’s about having stunning table settings, plenty of room for guests to mingle and a variety of snacks and drinks on hand to celebrate with colleagues.

Let’s get right into how you can pull this off.

caribbean outdoor event lighting

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

For a formal dinner, you’ll need to choose round or rectangular tables and plan your seating arrangements accordingly.

Depending on the size of your outdoor space, it may be advantageous to choose between rectangular trestle tables or Round 10 Seater Tables.

Cocktail tables are also fantastic at formal functions where you think your guests will network over drinks.

Consider choosing White Natural Wooden Flush-Top Cocktail Table to suit a clean style with a natural edge, or a Round White Cocktail Table to suit the style of sleek dinner.

2. Cutlery, Crockery & Glassware

To serve valued employees and plus ones at a formal function, you’ll need a variety of crockery and glassware as well as the right cutlery for your table settings.

Usually, formal work dinners include starters, main courses and desserts and you’ll need items like the Vision Starter and Butter Knife and Fork, as well as The Vision Main Knife and the Vision Main Fork to complete a classic table setting.

You will also need dinner plates, side plates, platters, servingware and other utensils to cater for your guests.

Try items like the Noritake Dinner Plate, Round Wiesenthal Side Plate, and the Polaris Rectangle Canape Platter. If you’re interested in a side plate with a natural look and feel, try the Wood Rectangle Side Plate.

When hiring glasses, it’s best to keep a wide variety available.

Before and during meals, guests might choose to have a cocktail, glasses of wine, or a beer or soft drinks. You’ll need some of these glasses to hit the mark for a large formal work dinner.

3. Decor

To decorate your formal dinner, you should start by hiring linen for your tables.

A classic is crisp White Rectangular Tablecloth, but you could also go for something with a bit of colour and an eye-catching pattern to differentiate your function. We’d recommend the Black and White Striped Runner.

Lighting is the second  crucial thing to remember for an outdoor dinner. You can hire a variety of fairy lights and large LED multi lights to set the scene inside your gazebos or tents.

If it’s an open air event on a good evening, you may only need gold geometric lanterns for the table, or candlesticks and Mushroom Heaters or Pyramid Heaters for the outdoor space between tables.

It’s also a nice idea to display your menu for the evening. Try gold menu stands to complement the geometric lanterns perfectly. Medium Silver Candlesticks are also great ideas for creating some inviting natural light for each table.

4. Equipment

Large events require extensive preparation.

And catering for your guests properly, requires the right combination of equipment.

When preparing starters, main meals and desserts you will need items like ovens, for cooking and baking, flat top grills for frying meat and a few microwaves for keeping small items warm.

Try Electrical Anvil Baking Ovens for baking sweet and savoury treats, 4 Pan Electrical Industrial Convection Ovens for mouthwatering mains. If you need something larger, we have it! Just have a look at the 10 Pan Electrical Industrial Oven.

Having a foodstation on hand for preparing and serving snacks and mains is also necessary. Have a look at the White Food Station, which you can style to suit your theme!

Similarly, you need at least one beautiful bar to serve your guests they’re favourite cocktails, beers, wines or soft drinks (and keep a Wine Cooler Stand around to keep bottles warm).

Our Mahogany and Birchwood Wooden Bar adds a natural look and feel to your event, but you can also choose a black wooden bar for a bold, sleek appeal. For a really rustic option, check out the Wooden Festival Bar.

A Bespoke Food and Wine Festival

This is a great idea as a product activation, networking event, or company social.

Create a custom food and wine festival, where your guests can sample scrumptious snacks and fine wines from different parts of Cape Town, South Africa, or the world – it’s up to you!

What you'll need

1. Tables & Chairs

Pick long Rectangular Trestle Tables as serving tables at stands as well as for guests to sit at and eat. Pair them with benches to maximise seating.

2. Cutlery Crockery & Glassware

Serve your guests a variety of delicious morsels at your food and wine festival, hire plenty of platters to lay out snacks and starters.

Rent Royal Porcelain Side Plate to accompany your platters. That way, guests can collect a variety of snacks from each table to enjoy!

If you prepare main meals, make sure you have plenty of Wiesenthal Round Dinner Plates on hand to serve your guests delicious dishes.

3. Decor

The decor required for a food festival can be as intricate as you like, but there are some specific items you can hire to convey your theme really well right off the bat.

It’s awesome to incorporate flags and symbols of the specific culture, nationality, or brand on offer.

Hiring Gold Menu Stands or easels and chalkboards to give your guests a clear idea of the snacks and delicious mains they’ll be trying, is even better!

You can also choose items like Fairy Lights, to add some sparkle to a White Heavy Duty Square Gazebo, or brighten a table arrangement.

4. Equipment

When hosting a bespoke food and wine festival, it’s up to you how far you take the preparation and set up for your event.

For a larger scale food and wine festival, hiring White Heavy Duty Gazebos and tents to cordon off areas for specific tables and styles of cuisine is a stunning idea.

For a more intimate food festival, you could just hire the parasols and provide the essentials to cater for your guests – including the 4 Pan Electrical Industrial Convection Oven or 4 Burner Gas Braais for meals requiring a flame grilled approach.

Electric Flat Top Grills are also useful to craft dishes and cook meat evenly, and a double electric chip fryer is perfect for making crisp potato chips!

Pick chafing dishes and double electric hot trays to assist you in keeping your main meals and snacks the perfect temperature.

festival with gazebos and tents
food festival

Outdoor Concerts and Shows

For dance and musical performances you will need a range of equipment to host performers outside, and provide them with a platform to “wow” your audience.

You might also need specific decor and items like large gazebos to structure a performance space for your musicians or dancers.

product launch type vibes
outdoor perfomance stage at event

For musical and dance performances, you may need to hire a dance floor and a company to set up the stage for your event, and we would recommend sending us an enquiry with some information about your event and we can help you assist you.

The same can be said for hosting guests speakers at an outdoor event.

To help you prepare, have a look at our breakdown below.

What you'll need

1. Chairs & Tables

In this case, some of your seating will align with your stage set up so guests can have a great view during presentations and/or performances!

For this, we would recommend comfortable lightweight seating that can be rearranged easily.

Try options like Mahogany Tiffany Chairs, Eames Chairs for a timeless look and Woodrow Chairs.

The types of tables you need depend on whether you plan to serve snacks, or starters and main courses.

For this kind of event, it would be good to prepare snacks for your guests to enjoy with their drinks while they wait for presentations to begin.

To serve your guests drinks and snacks, consider our sleek White Wooden Bars for a tented outdoor venue. Consider adding a White Natural Wooden Flush-Top Cocktail Table to the mix, so your guests have somewhere to mingle and network.

2. Cutlery Crockery & Glassware

You’ll need basics to cover serving snacks, such as Matte Black Country Road Round Tapas Platters or Rectangular Porcelain Large Platters and Royal Porcelain Round Side Plates for your guests to grab a few snacks at a time.

Glasses require a bit more variety. Prepare adequately with Willy Beer Glasses, Pilsner Beer Glasses, Mondial Red Wine Glass, Mondial White Wine Glasses, Classic Champagne Glasses as well as our range of cocktail glasses and shot glasses.

3. Decor

Decor and lighting are quite important for performances and presentations.

If you plan to host a large outdoor event with performances and presentations, then it’s best to cover your primary lighting with the company handling your stage set up.

You can compliment the kind of show you wish to create with natural or artificial lighting that makes table settings and tents more inviting.

Try twinkling fairy lights for some fun artificial lighting, as well as Large Silver Candlesticks and Gold Geometric Lanterns to provide natural light for any tables used and improve the atmosphere.

The choice of linen is up to you. A classic option would be crisp White Rectangular Tablecloth, however, your event may look stunning with patterned runners and less traditional options.

4. Equipment

So, if it’s going to be cold inside your tent during the evening, or if it’s truly an open air event then it may be a great idea to hire Pyramid Heaters or Mushroom Heaters to create a bit of warmth for your guests.

They also provide lighting for small spaces which can be handy.

For catering purposes, the equipment you require will vary.

If you plan to cater for multiple courses, consider Double Industrial Ovens, Electrical Anvil Baking Ovens as well as Medium Round Chafing Dishes and Double Electric Hot Trays to keep mouth watering morsels warm and tasty.

But, it’s more than likely that you’ll just serve snacks and drinks.

In which case, consider hiring a bar as we mentioned above, as well as items like ice buckets and wine cooler stands to keep bottles cool as well as hot water urns and coffee percolators for hot beverages like teas and coffees.

A microwave and some chafing dishes can also be an asset if you need to keep any snacks delicious, warm and ready for your guests to devour!

Wrapping up


We’ve covered a variety of small and large outdoor events, each involving varying degrees of preparation.

If you’re looking to craft your own approach, and you need specific items to make events like birthdays, weddings, baby showers, wedding showers, gender reveal parties or formal functions come to life, browse our hiring categories.

Find anything you need for the outdoor event you have in mind and hire it online, with easy delivery right to your door from EHIRE!