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Local Party Planning Ideas

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My Top Local Party Planning Picks
By:  Rachel Harris, 

Hard to believe but holiday party planning season is once again upon us.  Not to mention birthdays, fall college graduations or other events that may be on your calendar.  If you are party planning, check out my top local Phoenix party rental picks.  I have put several to the test several times now for my son's big graduation party, a few other events and most recently, my own 50th birthday bash.  I believe that these suggestions below are the best of the best and I even found a company that will rent Moscow mule copper mugs and that was not an easy find!  So, read on to see my top referrals for everything needed to make your event the party of the year! 
Party Pick 1:  Chic Cocktail Truck – The Duke Truck
As seen on Your Life Arizona multiple times (and always great), the Duke Truck rental is festive, fun and is the talk of every party.  Now the local mom and pop company have added The Duchess cocktail truck, which is what I recently had at my 50th birthday bash.  It is painted a pretty gold hue (was perfect for my golden birthday).  I rented this brilliant bar on wheels and my guests loved it!  About a week before my bash, we worked out a fun and creative drink menu complete with catchy cocktail names that were fitting for my milestone day.   Clever drink names were Still Bubbly at 50 Champagne and suggestions from Nicole, owner of The Duke Truck, like the Hot Mama Moscow Mule.  Too fun!   Nicole was fabulous to work with.  All details were spot on!  I highly recommend The Duke Truck for a truly unique event!  Owned by a local husband and wife team, they travel to Europe to find and purchase old Dutch trucks that they refurbish and bring back to Arizona (and California) and hence, The Duke Truck and The Duchess are born!  Once we signed the agreement, I kept Nicole abreast of the RSVP count and one week prior to party time, she emailed me a drink calculator so I knew how much of what to purchase based on my drink menu and final headcount.  I bought the spirits from Sam's Club and Nicole provided our bartender, Brittani with all the non-alcoholic liquids, ice and garnishes needed to make the perfect drink every time.  She even brought, made and served my teenage daughter and her pals Shirley Temples.  So fun!
Party Pick 2:  Hacienda Outdoor Comfort Rentals 
The best outdoor cooling and heating rental company I have found hands down is Hacienda Rentals.  Now I know why this company is used by the resorts and hotels here.  Not only did the cooling units look nice, but my backyard was cooled to 70 degrees.  It was awesome.  Hacienda also has the very modern and newer cooling misting tower that look like the nice heating towers seen in restaurants and resorts.  Now the same sharp looking towers are made to cool, too.  In the other end of the yard, I rented Hacienda’s classy and giant white fog misting fan that also worked great to keep our guests comfortable and cool.  Hacienda was perfect to work with from start to finish.  The set-up team hooked the units up to my outdoor power box and didn’t leave until all items were functioning and looked just right.  I highly recommend Hacienda for your outdoor heating and cooling needs. 

Party Pick 3:  Classic Event & Tent Rentals
To save on money and space, I decided not to rent full size tables and instead rented cocktail tables that people can stand around.  My pick for these rentals is Classic Event & Tent Rentals.  Classic has an extensive selection of pretty linens and bows to customize the tables. The tables were set up perfectly by Classic’s team and I appreciated that because I had used a different company for my son’s graduation party and the bows fell to the ground during the party.  That company didn’t tie them down right and they looked sloppy.  Not so with Classic.  Plus, when Classic misquoted me a few dollars due to the wrong linen size for the table size, she discounted the order for her mistake without me having to ask.  I will always use Classic from here on out. 
Party Pick 4: American Mule Copper Cup Rentals 
We almost gave up on having the cool copper mugs that chill the Moscow Mule drink so beautifully because the only local rental company we could find quoted us $12 a mug for rentals!  We needed 50 cups, so there was no way we could do that!  I got lucky and typed in copper mug rentals on Google and American Mule came up, but I thought the company was out of state, so I left an email inquiry.  To my pleasant surprise, the company emailed me back 24 hours later and told me that they would rent the mugs to me for only $3.20 a cup!  Yay!  Then I discovered that they operate out of Mesa.  So awesome!  So, they delivered two crates of the lovely mugs and picked them up the day after the party dirty...they told me not to clean them.  No problem there!  The one thing to note is that if any of the mugs go missing, the cost to replace them is $30 a cup, so I made sure that all were returned to our cocktail truck!  Our guests loved the mugs and the drink making our party so fun.  I highly recommend American Mule for your Moscow Mule copper cup cocktail party needs!
Party Pick 5:  Robert’s Catering
For over 20 years, I have worked with and used Robert Richter and his longtime delicious catering company, Robert’s Catering.  Back in the early 90s, I was a marketing manager for Southwest Airlines so he would cater flights to new cities with that destination’s themed food, like Cajun fare when we started serving New Orleans.  For big and small events nationwide, Robert never disappoints and always exceeds expectations with his large assortment of menu items, incredibly tasty appetizers, main fare and his specialty, beautifully adorned and luscious cakes.  He provides servers that are professional, top notch and friendly.  They put the class factor in the event.  Robert’s food is all good and my faves include his Chipotle mac and cheese and the mouth-watering grilled teriyaki chicken with toasted sesame seeds and chive garnish. That is part of the Robert’s Catering Hawaiian Luau Buffet, which is the theme I chose for my recent 50th birthday bash.  That included the teriyaki chicken, roasted pulled pork served with Hawaiian dinner rolls, honey hot maple sauce and Hoi sin sauce. Also included in that yummy grouping is spring greens with romaine ginger miso dressing and a stunning and colorful fresh tropical fruit display that offers pineapple, yellow papaya, honey dew, orange, cantaloupe, grapes and strawberries. Also included is a good island rice pilaf with sliced macadamia nuts, dried cranberries and pineapple with saffron butter.   I asked him to swap the incredibly irresistible Chipotle mac and cheese instead. All was a hit and every time I have Robert cater my celebrations, my guests always tell me that I have the best food hands down at my parties!  And Robert’s cakes are incredible!  He has an extensive assortment of all sorts of flavors and cake décor.  He surprised me at my son’s graduation party with two beautiful giant cakes that displayed a sharp picture of my son’s graduation announcement and a second cake with my boy’s senior pictures.  They were stunning and scrumptious.  For my birthday, I chose one chocolate, his Heath Bar Bavarian Crunch and Robert’s Cherry Rum Vanilla Cake.  So incredibly good! 
Party Pick 6:  Décor – Party City, Kirkland’s & Hobby Lobby

Party City almost always has exactly what I need for my décor.  My daughter surprised me this time around with Fab 50 items (and a few over the hill things, too) all from Party City.  I especially liked my “50 Looks Good on Me” sash and crown that she added to my party outfit.  The hot pink cane with a horn, oversized silly reader glasses and other fun over the hill items made for fun party décor.  

I asked that instead of gifts, guests pay it forward in some way.  To display the awesome charitable acts done, I bought a beautiful bulletin board where folks could add a post-it note with a short description of what was done.  That was so cool!  I also did a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card for all that put their name in a drawing box for doing a charitable act.  Hobby Lobby had the big bulletin board and the handy store also had a large chalkboard on an easel with lights all around the edge.  It is a perfect way to write something fun with colored chalk to invite folks in or to direct them to the food, etc.  Kirkland’s also had some terrific accessories for décor.  For fall and holiday events, the inventory is plentiful and unique. 

Party Pic 7:  Centerpieces – AJ’s Fine Foods Mini Bouquets

AJ’s Fine Foods has the cutest and prettiest mini bouquets of all types of flowers and some come in fun little mason jars.  These worked perfectly in the middle of the cocktail tables and can be given as party favors to guests as well.  

Are you ready to party now?  Did I leave out a great local party planning tool or service that I need to add to my list?  If so, share in the comments section and happy party season to you!  Be sure to check my blog at for more festive fun ideas.  Tis’ the season to party plan yet again! 

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