Creating the Ultimate Grazing Platter for Your next Event

The traditional cheese board has come a long way in recent years, with gigantic grazing boards becoming a huge trend that isn’t going anywhere fast. The ideal starter for events of all types, a grazing board combines delicious cheeses and fresh charcuterie with lots of little bites that look as good as they taste. For event planning of almost any kind, grazing boards continue to feature prominently so read on for a few tips to create an amazing platter that will wow your guests.

Start with the Largest Board You Can Find

Size matters when it comes to making an impression (and also for feeding lots of hungry guests). Long wooden boards or large ceramic platters are ideal however they can be expensive to purchase. For a fraction of the price you can rent an amazing board from your local party hire supplier which will provide you with the perfect base on which to arrange all your delectable delicacies. For party hire, Goulburn locals can rely on Barlens for a huge range of high-quality serving ware, dinnerware, glassware and all the wedding supplies you need to create a show-stopping event.

Add Cute Little Bowls and the Right Utensils

You may want to lay everything out on a board like it just came out of a foodie photoshoot, but it’s just not practical. There are some foods that need bowls, think dips, marinated olives, stuffed peppers – all of these antipasto items should be dotted around the board in bowls, ramekins or even shot glasses. For an eclectic look, use a mixture of containers or for a more sleek and contemporary aesthetic, matching crisp white bowls are the ideal choice. Don’t forget to include enough cheese knives and serving tongs, these will ensure guests don’t use their hands which keeps everything hygienic.

Preparation is Key

A grazing platter requires an abundance of little ingredients, so it can be easy to lose track of what you need when you are shopping, and it can also be hard to determine just how much of everything you should buy. You want to make sure you have enough to feed the crowd but not so much that you end up wasting perfectly good produce. Ask yourself the below questions:

  • How many guests are you feeding?
  • Is the platter a starter before a main meal or is it the entire source of food for the event?
  • How big is your board/platter?
  • Dietary requirements – you may need to make a separate smaller platter to cater for gluten free guests.
  • What’s in season?

Fresh is Best

The freshness of the ingredients can make or break a great grazing platter. Buy in-season produce, fresh from a market, deli or a fruit store on the day or morning of your party. Ask for deli meats to be sliced as thinly as possible. Homemade dips and relishes are easy and cost-effective, cut fresh fruit into bite sizes pieces and slice veggies into sticks that can make for easy dipping. The options are endless when it comes to what to include on your board – a selection of cheeses, different crackers, sliced baguettes, olives, dried fruits, nuts, and veggies, you can be as traditional or as creative as you like, just make sure everything is fresh.

Fill the Gaps

Once you have positioned the larger items on your board, it’s important to thoughtfully fill up the blank spots to make the platter look full and inviting. Fresh herbs, edible flowers, berries, and leafy greens are all great space fillers, not only do they look great they can enhance the flavour of the surrounding produce and even emit a delicious aroma.

Don’t Forget the Little Details

You have the best produce on the best platter with cheese knives to boot, but it’s the little touches that really make a difference to the comfort of your guests. Toothpicks or disposable forks to pick up little things that may be oily or slippery, napkins for guests to wipe their hands and a little bowl nearby the grazing board for guests to put their rubbish in.

Play Around with Positioning

Once you have everything ready, place your goods around the board (wrapped and packaged) to see where everything works best. This gives you the flexibility to move things around so the board will look its best and be completely functional. Take a photo and then store your produce until it’s time to plate up, once ready unwrap and place everything as per your photo.

Grazing boards are a great way to feed a crowd and provide a perfect place for guests to mingle and enjoy each other’s company. Whether your event is in a marquee, a backyard or a fine dining establishment, an impressive grazing platter will always be a hit.

Choose Barlens for Party Hire and Wedding Supplies

No matter what you need for your next event, a folding bar table, chairs, catering equipment and more, we are here to help with a carefully curated collection of high-quality furniture and supplies at affordable rates. Browse our range online now or get in touch with us for a free quote by calling 02 6206 2020 / 02 6043 0605 today.

Top Tips for a Planning Winter Wedding

There is something special about a wedding in the depths of winter – it’s easy to create a cosy and romantic ambience, you don’t have to worry about guests sweltering in suits and it can be a budget friendly idea as venues and wedding suppliers usually offer off-season rates. For high quality and affordable wedding supplies and party hire, Goulburn can rely on Barlens – the experts in event planning and equipment hire since 1965. If you’re having a winter wedding, here’s a few tips and tricks to ensure your wedding day is everything you dreamed and more.

Choose One Venue

Having your ceremony and reception in the one location avoids the need for guests to have to travel in inclement weather. If you like the idea of having your ceremony separate from your reception space, consider walking down the aisle in a beautifully decorated marquee within the same premises.

The More Heaters, the Better

While most venues such as reception centres, restaurants and wineries will have the necessary heating to keep your guests comfortable, if any part of your wedding is outdoors or under a marquee you’ll need to consider hiring an abundance of outdoor heaters. For a rustic style wedding, outdoor fireplaces will create a romantic atmosphere whilst keeping guests toasty warm.

Be Prepared for Rain

A sunny winter day can provide the perfect backdrop for a beautiful wedding, but it’s vital to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at you. Have nice umbrellas for guests to use when arriving and departing or for moving between indoor and outdoor spaces, and plan for an outdoor undercover space for smokers or those who like to go out for fresh air every now and then. You should remember that some of the best wedding photographs are captured in the rain, so even if you experience some showers, get out your brollies and let your photographer take some amazing snaps of you and your guests.

Be Creative with Lighting

The right lighting can transform your wedding into a real winter wonderland. It gets dark early in the winter months, add romance with tea-light candles and incorporate twinkling fairy lights throughout your reception space. Lanterns can let off a subtle glow and work well as decorative centrepieces, and candelabras with softly glowing candles can really set the mood.

Decorate with Seasonal Flowers

Tropical, out-of-season flowers will not only be incredibly expensive, but they will also look out of place. Instead, choose winter blooms for your bouquet and arrangements, and stick to a classic colour palette of wintery white or deep jewel tones.

Embrace the Season

If you have chosen a winter date, use it to set the theme for your special day. You can do this by opting for a hearty wintery menu of hot soup, delicious roast meats and warm drinks such as spiced wine. Choose an elegant long-sleeve wedding dress, faux fur wraps for the bridesmaids, velvet jackets for the groomsmen and a black-tie dress code for your guests.

Wedding Party Supplies for Any Season

No matter when you decide to tie the knot, it’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions. Barlens is the leading choice for premium event hire, with an extensive range of stylish and functional wedding supplies and equipment at highly competitive rates, you can trust us to make your big day as special as possible. From portable heaters and fans to marquees, lighting, furniture and styling accessories, our team is here to help bring your vision to life. Contact us online today for a free quote or call us to speak with our friendly team.

Bar Tab VS Beverage Package – Which is Better?

When planning a wedding or other significant event, the right catering at the right price is always a top priority. When it comes to drinks, different venues have different packages and options available to suit a variety of requirements. You will often come across bar packages or a payment system of drinks on consumption (bar tab). Barlens is a trusted choice for high quality wedding marquee hire, and we have been a part of thousands of weddings and events over the decades. Here we will outline the common beverage options so that you can decide which might be the best choice for your function.

Beverage Package

Typically, available in a range of options to suit different budgets, a package generally allows for a particular array of drinks that will be served to your guests for a set period of time. For example, you would normally choose one of each of the following: a heavy beer, a light beer, a sparkling wine, a white wine varietal, a red wine varietal and a selection of soft drinks. You can choose to have the drinks served continually for 2,3 or 4 hours depending on the duration of your event. You will often have the choice of a standard package or a premium package which may include higher quality wines or craft beers. Some venues even offer packages which include basic spirits and cocktails, and most packages can be tailored to suit your needs.


– You know the price upfront.

– Your guests will receive unlimited beverages within a set time frame.

– It gives you control over what is served and for how long.

– It removes the hassle of monitoring a bar tab throughout the event.


– You must pay a set amount of money per guest – if guests don’t show up or you have a few attendees that don’t consume any alcohol, you are still obligated to pay for those guests.

– Your guests are restricted by what they can drink – this may be a problem for those who do not drink beer or wine.

Bar Tab

Some venues prefer you to utilise a bar tab. This means that guests are free to order beverages as they please, and each drink is added to a tally that is calculated and must be paid at the end of the event. Most venues will set a minimum spend; this amount is the minimum amount that you must reach on the bar during the function. Many event planners will organise with the venue to customise drinks on the tab and restrict drink purchases to beer, wine, sparkling wine, and soft drinks. In some cases, you can choose an ‘open bar’ which means guests can order any drink including spirits, shots, and cocktails. With a bar tab, you can choose to put down a certain amount and when it runs out guests must purchase their own drinks. Alternatively, you can keep adding to it throughout the event.


– You only pay for what your guests drink.

– There isn’t any set time limit on free drinks for your guests.

– You can check the bar amount at different times throughout the night and add to it if necessary. If you are a long way from reaching the minimum spend you can add other drinks, such as basic spirits, to the tab.


– Failing to monitor the tab may result in a huge bill at the end of the event.

– If you don’t reach the minimum spend, you are still obliged to pay that amount. If your guests drink $2,000 worth of drinks and your minimum spend is $3,000 then you will need to pay the extra $1000 to the venue.

– Monitoring the tab may not allow you to relax and enjoy the event.

Which Should You Choose?

To find out which might suit you best, ask yourself the below questions:

– Do you want to know exactly how much it is going to cost in advance?

– Are you likely to have many no-shows?

– Are your guests fussy about their drinks?

– Will most of your guests drink heavily? or are most likely to just have a few?

– How many non-drinkers will be in attendance?

– Do you want everything to be organised prior to the event?

If many of your guests don’t indulge in alcohol or are likely to just have one or two, a bar tab might be better just as long as the minimum spend isn’t too high. Similarly, if you have some guests that are unlikely to show up, a tab would be best. If you prefer to be in control of your budget and have everything organised and paid for prior to the event a beverage package would be the ideal choice. Whichever option you choose, communicate your decision with your venue to avoid any issues during the event.

Need Marquee Hire for Your Next Event?

If you are planning a wedding, party or other event, marquee hire is the perfect solution. Available in a range of sizes to accommodate intimate gatherings or large-scale soirees, marquees provide a blank canvas for you to make the event truly unique to you. To enquire about our wedding marquee hire, get in touch with our team online or by calling 02 6206 2020 / 02 6043 0605 today.

Top Tips for Having a Party in a Park

Park parties have risen in popularity in recent months and are an excellent way to celebrate a birthday or milestone in a cost-effective and COVID-safe way. Most parks offer a range of facilities including BBQs, seating areas, amenities and loads of space to accommodate a guest list of almost any size. However, if you are planning a party in your local park, there’s a few things to take into consideration. For reliable party hire, Goulburn locals rely on Barlens. As a trusted choice for party hire since 1965, we understand what makes a good party, great. Here’s some of our tips to help you ensure your park party is a fun and memorable occasion.

Find Out If You Need to Book an Area in Your Park

Many local councils require you to book a designated area in a park in advance. The best parks and best locations within a park often get booked up ahead of time so make sure you reserve the space you want before sending out your invitations. If you don’t need to make a reservation, keep in mind that weekends at parks are busy so it’s likely you will need to get there early to secure your spot.

Consider the Comfort of Your Guests

While you might be able to secure a picnic table in your local park, this won’t be sufficient to seat everyone. Hiring a range of outdoor furniture will ensure your guests have a comfortable place to sit and relax in between mingling, it also gives them somewhere convenient to enjoy some party food. A few bar tables and some folding trestle tables along with some lightweight stools should provide enough comfort to your guests. You could even be a little creative and set up a long, low-lying table with cushions for extra seating or beautiful rattan chairs set amongst colourful picnic rugs – the options are endless.

Plan for the Weather

Whether it’s hot, cold, windy or rainy, the weather is something you just cannot control. However, hiring a marquee or tent is a great solution as it will give you a sheltered space where your guests can continue to party in the event that the weather is less than ideal. A marquee also provides a blank canvas for some extra decorations, and provides a protected space if you choose to include a DJ or small band. To really increase the comfort levels, you could incorporate portable heaters or fans to keep your guests warm or cool, depending on the day.

Choose the Right Decorations

Just because you are outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with decorations. Balloons and banners are great decorative options that are affordable and will usually stand up to a little wind as long as they are tied down appropriately. Don’t forget some matching paper plates, cups and a cute table cloth for your picnic table or folding bar table. For the ultimate sophisticated affair, why not style your party with hanging lanterns and string lights? These will create the perfect ambience for a late afternoon or early evening event.

Cater Appropriately

If you plan to DIY, park party food must be pre-made or easily cooked on a BBQ. Try to pick foods that will keep well in the sun and are bite sized so they can be eaten on the go. Ensure you have coolers with ice to keep your drinks and any food that needs to be refrigerated cold. To make your catering easy, ice buckets, drinkware and catering equipment can all be hired and the best part is most companies will deliver, set it up and pack it up for you!

Party Games and Entertainment

If you’re having kids at your party, a park is absolutely ideal as there’s typically playgrounds and grassy spaces for them to run and play. When the kids get tired of that, some party games are a great source of entertainment and the adults can join in too. Giant Jenga or Noughts and Crosses can be hired from most party hire suppliers and lead to hours of fun for people of all ages.

Don’t Forget to Clean Up

Make sure you pack some large garbage bags and clean up all of your rubbish at the end of the party. Parks are public spaces that everyone can enjoy so it’s essential that you take all of your rubbish away or utilise the bins provided.

If planned properly, park parties are the perfect way to celebrate any occasion. If you want to host your next birthday, anniversary or other special occasion in a local park, Barlens can help with all the party hire equipment you need for a successful event. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more or browse our range online now.

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Theme

Your wedding theme is the ideal way to make your big day a true reflection of who you are as a couple. While it’s easy to pick something that is on trend right now, your wedding theme should be more than just the latest social media fad, it should represent your individual taste and style and incorporate elements that make your day unique to you. For wedding party hire, Canberra couples have put their faith in Barlens since 1965. We understand that the right wedding party supplies are essential in creating a bespoke wedding theme that encapsulates your personality. If you’re having some difficulty picking a theme, here’s a few things to consider that might help you determine the perfect one for your big day.

Consider Your Personal Style

It’s essential to go for a theme that speaks to you and represents you and your partner, regardless of what other people recommend or what is trending at the time. Think about your favourite colours as a couple, take inspiration from your wardrobe and consider the décor of your home of the styling pieces you gravitate towards.

Once you have an understanding of colours you like, play around with different colour combinations and you will likely see a theme appear. These colours will help shape the rest of the design elements.

Does the Venue Inspire a Particular Theme?

Unless the venue you choose is a complete blank canvas, generally the place you choose for your ceremony and/or reception will set the scene for your special day. For example, if you plan to say ‘I do’ on the beach, that backdrop can inspire an ocean or nautical theme. If you are getting married in beautiful historic homestead, that can complement a classic or fairy tale theme. A country wedding inspires a rustic aesthetic, while a modern architecturally designed building is perfect for contemporary decor.

No matter your venue, you will always need to add extra special details which will define your style and make your day a true reflection of you both. 

Seasonal Inspiration

The season in which you hold your wedding can also play a role in setting the right theme. A spring wedding lends itself to delicate pastels and romantic florals, an autumn wedding is often inspired by rich, bold hues with rustic details and winter weddings are perfectly complemented by minimalist tones with a touch of glitter and glamour.

Consider the Dress Code

If you have a specific dress code in mind for your wedding, this can often be a great way to define the theme. A cocktail or black-tie event will create a high-end, upscale atmosphere perfect for an old Hollywood or classic, traditional wedding. A casual or semi-formal dress code will complement a country or garden wedding. It’s also important to think about how different themes will impact the dress code, a black-tie code may look out of place in a Boho beachside wedding.

What Are Some Common Wedding Themes?

Trends come and go, but it’s important to settle on a theme not just because it happens to be in fashion, but because it speaks to who you are as a couple. Here’s a few common themes that continue to resonate with engaged Australians year after year to help with your event planning.

The Rustic or Country Wedding – vintage and natural details blend seamlessly into this theme. Think lace, soft silhouettes, vintage and DIY design elements. Inspiration is taken from nature and the atmosphere is laid-back with a casual vibe.

A Princess Wedding – this is all about creating that perfect fairy tale moment. Dappled lighting, metallic accents, white roses, chandeliers, glamourous centrepieces and a black-tie dress code all contribute to a dreamy, romantic aesthetic perfect for Cinderella and Prince Charming.

A Contemporary Wedding – with clean lines and a minimalist colour palette, this theme is all about “less is more”. An edgy art gallery space or a crisp white marquee decorated with carefully curated furniture with simple statement pieces will make the perfect backdrop for a modern affair.

The Traditional Wedding – a timeless aesthetic with a personal touch. Traditional styling incorporates round tables with white linens and expensive silverware, floral arrangements of roses set in a classic ballroom or heritage inspired building.

Not sure which theme to choose? Choose colours and décor that both of you like and watch your theme come to life!

For High Quality Wedding Hire Supplies, Contact Barlens

For bespoke marquees, hire furniture and all the styling pieces you need to create the wedding of your dreams, our team is here to help. Browse our range online now or get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements. Enquire online or give us a call to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable team now.

How to Host a COVID-Safe Christmas Celebration

After a turbulent year of lockdowns, rules and restrictions, most of us are eager to plan a fun end of year Christmas celebration. While COVID-19 has thrown the world into chaos and has forced us to do things a little differently to pre-pandemic times, you can still throw a big bash and have a toast to surviving the last year – just in a COVID-safe way. Barlens is the party hire supplier trusted for providing high quality, affordable tents hire as well as the furniture, lighting, décor and accessories needed to put on a memorable event. Here we will explore a few things you can do to ensure your Christmas party is as COVID-safe as possible.

Social Distancing

Social or physical distancing is a critical component of controlling the spread of COVID within our community. When it comes to parties and events, you must ensure you pick a venue that allows for space, fresh air and ventilation. While most venues will guide you in the number of patrons that are permitted in a space, it’s important that you understand the capacity limits and ensure your guests RSVP (and stick to it!) so that you don’t have more people than you intended show up on the day.

Opt for Outdoors

To ensure you allow for sufficient social distancing, you should also consider the size and location of your party. If you are unable to find a venue that will accommodate having all guests in the same area and suitably distanced, you could think about having multiple smaller events or hosting an outdoor event this year.

Outdoor venues such as parks, beaches, gardens, rooftop spaces and open-air terraces can make excellent Christmas party venues, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. This is where marquees hire comes in – marquees and tents are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes and can be customised to suit large and small events. The walls can be removed to allow for natural ventilation whilst keeping guests protected from the hot summer sun or a sudden rain shower.

Make Cleanliness and Sanitation a Priority

We are all used to the concept of washing and sanitising our hands but sometimes it’s easy to forget, especially after a few well-deserved end of year drinks. Ensure the party space is clean and sanitised before the event starts, and arrange for surfaces to be cleaned and sanitised throughout the duration of the party. Another great idea is to have hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue and appropriate signage around the space to give guests a subtle reminder that hygiene is still a top priority.

Providing branded or personalised hand sanitisers and even masks for the taxi trip home are a fun and practical Christmas gift idea that you can give to guests; these little details will go a long way to ensure everyone feels safe to celebrate together.

Avoid Sharing

Christmas parties are often stand-up cocktail events, buffets or barbeques, and often guests may have to touch multiple glasses, plates and utensils and serve from shared platters throughout the day or night. In 2021, it’s best to avoid the sharing of food, drinks, plates, cutlery and glassware, and any form of catering where guests have to touch communal items, multiple times. Move away from the shared style of catering and choose a sit-down event, in which people use their designated cutlery and eat a plated meal served directly to them. Another great tip is to utilise glass charms or labels so that every guest knows which glass is theirs.

The end of this year is definitely something to celebrate, especially for those in NSW and Victoria as they exit a long and tedious lockdown. Christmas celebrations are a great way to reconnect and relax, and get together as work mates, teams and friends, after such a stressful and tumultuous year, but it’s important to remember that we are still in the midst of a pandemic and steps must be taken to keep everyone safe and healthy.

For Marquee Hire, Canberra Relies on Barlens

If you are planning to host a Christmas party this year, we can help make your event fun, exciting and most importantly, COVID-safe! Our range of tents for hire can ensure your party has enough space for all guests to celebrate in a socially distanced manner, and our range of chairs and tables can complete the perfect sit-down dinner event where guests can celebrate in style. If you are after chair hire or tents hire, for party hire in Canberra get in touch with our team today. Enquire online or give us a call on 02 6206 2020 (Canberra) or 02 6043 0605 (Albury).

How to Plan a Wedding Quickly

Whether you’re newly engaged and eager to walk down the aisle, or you have had your nuptial plans upended by COVID-19, you might be looking to plan your wedding in a shorter time frame than the standard year or two. The good news is, it’s totally possible to plan a wedding in just a few months, it just takes an organised and decisive mindset. Barlens have been helping couples with premium wedding marquee hire and wedding party supplies since 1965. We’ve been a part of so many weddings throughout Canberra and surrounds, so here we will share some of our tips on how to successfully plan a wedding in a matter of months (or even weeks).

Be Flexible with Your Date

Popular dates including public holidays, and days (Saturdays) are often booked out years in advance. Look at your calendar and determine any dates that you absolutely can’t have, such as a family member’s milestone birthday or a pre-planned holiday and go from there. If you have your heart set on a particular day or date, it’s likely you will may need to delay your big day until you get what you want – there goes your quick wedding!

Be Realistic

Many custom wedding dresses have at least a six-month lead time, the best vendors can be booked years in advance, and if you want bespoke little details or custom-made centrepieces you’ll need to look for expedited services and make some compromises where necessary. When speaking to vendors or making appointments, make sure they understand the tight timeline. Look for bridal boutiques that offer off-the-rack dresses or opt for a non-traditional wedding dress from a retail store. Ask suppliers and about cancellations, you never know, you might get really lucky with who is available on your date. Shop locally for décor and accessories so you won’t have to wait weeks for them to arrive.

Keep It Simple

Almost anything can be pulled off in a short time frame if you have a wedding planner and a limitless budget, but for most brides-to-be the easiest way to pull off a fast wedding is to minimise the bells and whistles and keep it simple. The more you customise your day or the more frills you add, the more time, money and organisation that will be involved.

Choose One Venue

If you can have your ceremony and reception in the one location, you won’t have to coordinate dates and times between multiple sites which will make finding a date in the near future much easier. If there’s a reception venue that you just have to have, but they don’t have the space to accommodate the ceremony too, wedding marquee hire could be a great option. As long as they have an outdoor space on the property, you might be able to create an all-inclusive venue for your big day.

Think Outside the Box

It’s unlikely you will be able to secure the top vendors in your area so close to your desired wedding date, but that shouldn’t matter if you are prepared to be a little creative.

Can’t find a caterer? See if your favourite local restaurant can cater and serve the foods you love buffet-style. Purchase your beer and wine in bulk and hire a folding bar table and set up your own bar. For a professional touch you could enlist the service of a bartending student to serve for the night.

DJ or band unavailable? Skip them altogether and play your favourite music through Bluetooth speakers from your smart phone or tablet – you can even get guests to take turns at picking songs throughout the night.

Florists all booked out? Visit your local flower market and DIY some simple table arrangements and see if a florist can do the main items such as the bridal bouquets.

Custom cake going to take too long? Order a standard cake from a bakery and add a unique cake”padding-top:10px;”

Enlist Some Help

Planning a wedding in a short space of time means you need all the help you can get. Ask a professional wedding hire supplier for advice on current trends and styling and take advantage of friends and family who offer to help by delegating certain tasks to them. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming so lean on your loved ones for help and support.

For High Quality, Cost-Effective Wedding Hire, Canberra Locals Trust Barlens

Planning a fun and memorable wedding all comes down to being organised and decisive, collaborating with reliable vendors and understanding your priorities, and while many brides would shy away from planning a wedding in a short timeframe, it certainly can be done in a seamless and stress-free manner. For a great range of wedding party supplies, browse our products online now or get in touch with our friendly team. Industry leaders in the event hire business for over 50 years, we have extensive knowledge and can help with all the supplies you need to create the perfect celebration.

Tips for Creating a COVID-Safe Wedding

With the gradual easing of restrictions in most parts of Australia, weddings are getting back into full swing. However, for the foreseeable future, weddings will be quite different to those celebrated in pre-pandemic times. Barlens is one of Australia’s trusted providers of wedding party supplies and we are dedicated to offering high quality marquees, hire furniture and all other supplies you need to create a memorable event. If you are planning your big day, in addition to staying on top of and adhering to government restrictions, there’s a few things you can do to help ensure your big day is as COVID-safe as possible.

Smaller is Better

The number of guests that can attend a wedding varies from state to state, the size of the venue, and whether the wedding is inside or outside. However, even if you are permitted to have 100 guests or more, the fewer you invite, the better and that is for a couple of reasons – the first to reduce the risk of transmission if there happens to be a guest who attends unaware they have the virus, and to reduce the risk of culling your guest list if capacity limits are reduced again.

Outdoor Wedding Spaces Should be a High Priority

The best venues for a COVID-safe wedding are outdoors in the fresh air, with natural ventilation and lots of space. An ideal solution is to hire a marquee as these allow flexibility and fresh air whilst still allowing amazing views and a cosy ambience. When considering hiring a marquee for an outdoor wedding, you should hire the right size to ensure you have an abundance of space to allow for a socially distanced seating plan and ensure continuous air flow and natural ventilation by hiring marquee with open sides or removable sidewalls.

Make Use of Glass Tags

Wine glass charms and tags have been around for years, but never have they been so important. By placing an easily identifiable tag on each guest’s glass, there will be no confusion about which one they should use. This is a great way to minimise the chance of contaminating glassware and possibly transferring the virus. You could even make a personalised tag for each guest as a unique wedding favour.

Skip the Buffet

It’s important that food and utensils aren’t shared, so this means buffets, serveries and sharing platters are out. That certainly doesn’t mean your loved ones will go hungry. Opt for a lavish multi-course feast or a lengthy tasting menu with more attention to detail such as matching wines or spirits to accompany each course. You could even work with your caterer to create a bespoke menu, inspired by a family recipe or personal love of a particular cuisine.

Be Creative with Decor

Planning a COVID-safe wedding doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style. While you may need to incorporate sanitising stations, masks and social distancing signage there are clever and fun ways to it. There are now many companies offering personalised face masks and mini sanitisers that you can use instead of traditional favours. You can make sanitising stations pretty to tie in with your theme, and use cute signage such as “spread love, not germs” to remind guests to be COVID-safe throughout the event.

Be Inventive with Entertainment

Currently the general advice is to forgo vigorous dancing as it invites close contact combined with aerobic activity. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have live music. Instead of band, opt for a duo or string quartet. While there may be less dancing, soft live music creates a warm atmosphere and a nice backdrop for guests to listen to whilst they eat and chat with friends and family. If you have your heart set on a buzzing dancefloor, try to incorporate one outdoors or in an alfresco area where dancers can be easily socially distanced. Another great way to entertain guests without dancing is with contactless outdoor games. These are the perfect way to entertain people of all ages and they don’t necessarily have to be in close proximity to each other to have fun.

In this uncertain time, it’s difficult to plan and host a wedding, but if you are flexible, adaptable and open to incorporating some unique ideas, you can still have the wedding of your dreams and celebrate with your nearest and dearest.

If you are planning a wedding and want it to be as COVID-safe as possible, the team at Barlens is here to help. We have a great range of marquees for hire to accommodate outdoor wedding parties of all sizes, and our experts will help you select the right size and style for you to ensure maximum safety. We can also help with all the wedding supplies you need from glassware to outdoor games. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Things to Consider When Planning a Big Birthday Bash

There’s nothing quite as exciting as planning a birthday party. From an exhilarating 18th to well-deserved 100th, deciding on the theme, decorations, catering and entertainment makes the days leading up to the event seem like part of the celebration. At Barlens, we are the local choice for party hire in the Goulburn area and we have been helping Australians throw memorable parties and events with high quality marquees, chair hire and party supplies since 1965. Planning a birthday party takes a little thought and consideration, so here’s a few things that are important in creating the ultimate celebration.

Day and Time

It may seem obvious, but choosing the wrong day and time for your party can affect guest attendance and their behaviour. Parties on Sunday nights or week nights or even mid-week public holidays may seem like a good idea especially if your actual birthday falls on that day, however expect your guests to leave early or not be in the full part spirit if they are working the following day. Also opt for an age appropriate time. A 18th birthday may start in the evening with guests partying into the night, whereas an afternoon event may be more conducive to older adults and those with young children.

Venue Size

If the venue is too big, you will struggle to create a party atmosphere. If it’s too small, guests will feel cramped and uncomfortable, while too many rooms will make guests feel disconnected. It is important to match the venue size to the approximate number of guests. Marquee hire is a great solution, not only can you choose any location that you want to host your party, you can adjust the size of your marquee according to your guest list. You can also incorporate lighting, furniture and decoration rental to create the perfect ambience.

Food and Beverages

Not enough food and all guests will remember is the trip through the drive-thru on the way home, the wrong type of food can cause mess and serving issues. If you are serving a meal, ensure you have enough places for guests to sit and eat comfortably, if you are having a cocktail event, ensure food is circulated regularly and guests have access to stools and a folding bar table to rest their drinks and nibbles. When it comes to drinks, an exciting drink option like a signature cocktail will make your party unique, while having beverages that are not cold enough can be unpleasant, especially on a hot day.


If there’s too much seating, it may impact the energy of the party, but you do need to ensure enough chairs for guests to sit and rest their feet between dances, or incorporate a lounge area for relaxing whilst still allowing guests to mingle. Bar stools and bar tables can be scattered for cocktail events, and outdoor furniture should be considered for those guests who like to step outside for fresh air. It’s also important to consider the average age of your guests, youthful guests are less likely to need as many seating options as elderly guests.


Music is the soundtrack of your party. Having the right music is really important and creates an energetic party atmosphere. Guests who are up and dancing will stay longer, whereas bored guests will usually go home early. Whether you go all out with a live band or DJ or stick to playing tunes off your Smart Phone, getting the music selection right (as well as the volume) will ensure a party to remember.

Ultimately, while a birthday party is all about you, if you focus your event planning on creating an exciting and enjoyable experience for your guests, the better the party will be. You will have a lot more fun at your birthday bash if your guests are partying the night away and aren’t itching to leave!

Planning a party is fun, however, it can also be stressful and overwhelming if don’t have much party planning experience. For expert advice on the best marquees, hire of furniture and catering equipment, guidance on chair hire or general help with event planning, speak to a friendly Barlens team member today. Get in touch online, visit us in store or call us on 02 6206 2020 (Canberra) / 02 6043 0605 (Albury).

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Marquee for Your Next Event

If you are planning a wedding, party or other significant event, you may have spent hours searching for the perfect venue or function room. However, finding one that is just the right size, in the right location, is within budget and fits with the style or theme of your event can be incredibly difficult. Barlens is the leading choice for marquee hire and wedding party supplies in Canberra, Albury and surrounding locations. If you haven’t considered hiring a marquee for your wedding or party, here is a few reasons why it might just be the ideal solution.

Choose Any Location You Like

Hiring a marquee for your celebration allows you the freedom to host your event almost anywhere, from your own backyard to a country estate, old industrial site, or even beside the beach. Marquees enable you to create an exciting experience in unique surroundings, ensuring your event is memorable for years to come.

You Won’t Have to Worry About the Weather

Marquees are ideal for parties all year round as they provide shelter from wind and rain in the cooler months as well as from the scorching sun in summer. Spring and autumn days may be sun-drenched but evenings can be frosty so don’t risk your guests having an unpleasant experience, consider high quality marquees for hire. Incorporating extras such as heating or cooling creates a lovely temperature inside, perfect for any event in any season.

Personalise with Décor to Suit Your Unique Style

Venues and function centres are rarely blank canvases, they all have certain features and design elements that can limit your ability to put your own stamp on the event. When you hire a marquee  for a party, you can personalise that marquee  so it provides the perfect backdrop to your theme. Transform the space with a creative layout and bespoke decorations to create a party venue that is unique to you. Opt for a transparent roof and festoon lighting to create a warm and cosy ambience, drape silks from the ceiling for an opulent and elegant wedding or decorate the entire space with your colour of choice. The options are endless feel free to be creative!

Enjoy a High Level of Flexibility

When you hire a reception centre or function room there’s often many limitations you have to abide by. There’s usually a maximum capacity, a specific caterer you need to use, restrictions on the type of music you can have as well as how far you can go with styling and decorations. Hiring a marquee offers an abundance of flexibility. If you add to your guest list, simply adjust the size of your marquee. Want a specific cuisine? Choose your favourite caterer. Get the live band you have always wanted and create the exact aesthetic you want with your choice of lighting, furniture and decor.

Perfect for All Event Types

Whether you are throwing a casual backyard gathering, corporate event or a large-scale celebration event such as wedding, marquee hire is the perfect solution. No matter the size or style of your event, a professional marquee s hire company will work with you to configure the ideal set up for your site and provide all the extras you need to ensure your event is exactly as you expect it.

If you are planning an upcoming event, consider renting a marquee for your festivities. With many shapes, styles and sizes available, you will be sure to find the right one for your event and space.

Since 1965, Barlens has been an industry leader in event and party hire. If you need marquee hire, wedding party supplies, furniture, lighting, catering equipment or décor and styling pieces to create a bespoke and beautiful celebration, get in touch with us today.