Champagne Towers – You Can DIY, But Should You?

14th February 2017

What you don’t want is a champagne tower that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa in any way at all.  You could use plastic, it might even be prudent, but in that case, you probably need to read a blog on a plastics website.  We hire glass, beautiful glass and we don’t really do plastic much.  Or at all for glasses.

Champagne towers are generally square, not round.  Numbers are easy:  for 200 people you need 14 crates of our Coupes, pictured above.  That is 210 glasses but you may need a few spares and anyway they come in crates of 15 and 195 won’t be enough.  Then you need 8 layers, each layer 1 glass per edge shorter than the one before.  (8×8)+(7×7)+(6×6)+(5×5)+(4×4)+(3×3)+(2×2)+1 for a total of 204 glasses in your tower.  The coupes have a neat little edge to help with stacking and have done this malarky a few times before so they know what they are about.

Hire cost including cleaning for these would be £52.50 plus VAT and delivery, which depends on location – typically £45 return.

Building the champagne tower is the easier bit BUT – if you need it towards the end of an event, will you either be able to build it yourself close to lift off, or have you somewhere safe it can stand while the party gets underway?  Pouring the champagne is the tricky part and needs nerve, a steady hand and a sharp focus.  So you can DIY but maybe get a professional bar person.  And please don’t just take our advice to try this one at home!

Private Hiring. It’s time has come.

26th January 2017

Glass Cocktail Jug - No HandlesYou’d think, wouldn’t you, that it would be easy enough to keep a few glasses in a cupboard, dust them off and then wash up.  You’re not having all that many people over for your 40th / silver wedding / fundraising tea party / summer do.  Why would you hire?  Isn’t that a bit, you know, poncy?

No, it’s not.  It’s very sensible.  Take glasses.  You get the right glass – flute or coupe for champagne, martini for…martini, beautiful Burgundy if you need it, hi balls, tumblers – delivered clear and sparkling in sturdy crates for easy service.  At the end of your party, just empty the glasses and put them back in the crates.  Same with plates – scrape and return.  No storage problems, no washing up, more enjoyment.

Hiring serving equipment makes excellent sense as well.  Doing a large-ish buffet?  Chafing dishes are your saviour (and yes, we wash those up too).  The lovely glass jug above is perfect for mixing mocktails or cocktails, looks elegant and stylish – but you won’t need one very often so hiring is the answer.  If you’re doing bowl food or a large afternoon tea, most of us don’t have the right size bowls or multiple cake stands tucked away in our kitchen, so hiring what you need is a practical solution.

Hiring for private events has come of age.

Gorgeous Glass for Hire

19th October 2016

Low Glass Bowl 27cmHiring out glasses to drink from is of course our bread and butter, or red and white.  Sparkling glassware that is just the right shape for your drink is such a pleasure, especially when we take care of the washing up.  It arrives clean and polished, we take it away used and unwashed.  The cleaning process involves specialist materials and machines including a reverse osmosis process, to deliver a shine that is very hard to get in domestic and non-specialist settings.  A bit of hand finishing is the final stage.

But as well as actual glasses, we do have some lovely glass items for hire, including this beautiful bowl fantastic for salads or desserts to show off colours and ingredients.  Also new in the range is a handle-less cocktail jug with stirrer, which is really elegant for water as well (probably don’t need the stirrer for water!)  Bowls, jugs, glasses, we’ve got it all.

Red Carpet Proms

13th July 2016

Year 11 at Copthall School in north west London had their prom last week.  It went really, really well by all accounts.  We were delighted to receive the nicest testimonial from the Head of Year, Simone Marsh-Henry:

“ An excellent and professional service! Great value for money and they catered for our specific needs.

If you need to organise any event Arnold & Walker are the company to use.

Thank you guys, for making our Year 11 Prom a dream come true!”

It was our pleasure.

Glass Hire v Glass Loan

13th April 2016

Why pay for hire when you can sometimes get glasses free on loan from your wine supplier?

First, washing up.  All our prices include cleaning and most event organisers or their helpers don’t want to wash up. It’s tedious at the end of a good do, and if the do didn’t go well, who wants to hang about washing up afterwards, mulling over what to do better next time?    Many venues lack the facilities to wash up or what’s available is cramped and tricky.  Or there’s a queue/jostle with the kitchen.  And – important but often overlooked – doing your own washing up increases the likelihood of breakages which do need to be paid for.  So washing up is a drag.

Range and style.  Clouded, stumpy glassware is not necessarily the look you want but is often the look that comes with free glassware.  And if you want something other than a standard wine glass, slim jim or flute, you’ll struggle. Sparkly, crisp glasses the right size and shape are such a pleasure.

Glass hire is not expensive.  Especially when you consider the hassle of getting, cleaning and returning loan glassware.

And if you’re considering using disposables – please, don’t get us started!

Pancakes and the Year of the Monkey

12th February 2016




We’re now a few days in to the year of the Monkey, more specifically the Fire Monkey whose traits include ambition, an adventurous spirit and irritability – which all sounds about right for February, especially the irritable part. In honour of the Chinese New Year, The Magical Lantern Festival is currently making its debut in the UK at Chiswick House & Gardens. Light sculptures of animals, plant life and Chinese Mythological creatures are all on display over the 65 acres grounds.

February despite being the shortest month can sometimes feel endless. Though it has its bright spots, like Valentine’s Day especially if you’re loved up. However, if you’re single it seems like as good an excuse as any to buy a discounted selection box of chocolates on the 15th and treat yourself to a large glass of wine.

For couples and singles alike the highlight of February 2016 has to be pancake day and although it has been and gone, it is not forgotten. Just like telling your loved ones how you feel doesn’t have to be relegated to Valentine’s Day, showing crepes how you feel about them is not strictly for Pancake Day. If you want to perfect your batter and technique in preparation for next year’s Pancake Day, we have hobs and frying pans to help you master flipping the flat delicacy.



Stocktaking, street food and deep fat fryers.

4th February 2016

These are our February obsessions.  Stocktaking, like many essential tasks, is time-consuming, dull and deeply unglamourous.  But few admin chores are as satisfying as a neatly reconciled stock count, with a firm black tick in both the ‘count’ and ‘check count’ columns.

Street food is an interesting conundrum for us in that plates and eating implements will frequently be disposable, not our thing.  But adapting increasingly popular street food lines and themes to indoor or non-disposable events means chefs getting creative and our lovely range of bowls and small plates coming in to full bloom.  A particular favourite is our white canape bowl with a lustrous coloured inside – a bit like a Paul Smith suit with its gorgeous lining.  If guests are walking about, a bowl is an easy-to-hold alternative to a plate.  Pair it with robust tumblers and street food receptacles needn’t be disposable at all.

And fryers.  Mostly used for chips, but we know ours have been used to deep fry ice-cream, oysters and – yes – the odd Mars Bar.

How many glasses do I need?

22nd October 2015

Not as easy as you think.  You don’t want to hire too many because you’ve got to pay for them (good value though hire is, you don’t want unnecessaries) and store them, not lose them or break them or feel slightly back-footed because you’ve glassed-up for 300 but only got 80 guests.

Neither do you want too few.  Racing round washing up, putting fizz in a tumbler or a – can hardly bear to write this – paper cup or asking people to re-use dirty vessels is not the look you were aiming for.

A sit down meal or a stand up, time limited reception are relatively easy to gauge.  It’s the open-ended party with a buffet and relaxed approach to drinks service that raises the conundrums.  For this you need to consider:

1.  How many people are you expecting?
2.  How long is the event likely to last?
3.  Will things get more casual or rowdy as the night morphs on?  This is when a later-at-night ‘avoid breakages’ strategy is useful and the paper cups may have a place.
4.  What sort of service will it be?  Guests helping themselves, a bar tender or two, waiting staff walking round doing top-ups?  This affects the rate at which guest re-use their glasses.
5.  What mix of drinks?  Soft, wine, fizz, cocktails, beer?

There is no magic formula so please give us a call to discuss it if that would help.  Or you can go for 2 glasses per guest per hour for the first 3 hours and 1 per hour after that, split by the types of drink you intend to serve.

Tables and table linen

22nd October 2015

We often get asked how many people can sit at a table and what size of table linen is best.

In broad terms, round tables take a maximum of twice their width – so a 3ft round takes up to 6 people, a 4ft up to 8, a 5ft up to 10 and a 6ft up to 12.  Often, event organisers prefer to go 1 or 2 less than that for a bit for elbow room, but these maximum numbers are not a squeeze and you shouldn’t be afraid to go with them if space or tables area a bit tight.

Rectangle tables will take 4 people on a 6ft length, giving an 18″ place setting per person but here it is worth considering having 3 per side and a 2ft per person, especially if you’ve got side plates and the like.  If you can put someone at each short end, you will be able to seat a maximum of 10 people.  If you have a tricky, interesting size space, then consider T formations, a U shape or a combination of 6ft and 4ft lengths.

As to cloths, the size depends on the drop around the table that you require.  For right to the floor, a 6ft round table needs 132″ round cloth and a 6ft rectangle need 144 x 70″.  The most commonly ordered size though is 120″ round for 6ft round, meaning the cloth will stop 6″ off the floor which both looks nice and is a bit less cumbersome in some settings.  For a 6ft rectangle that old stalwart the 108″ x 70″ is the top hire giving a 12″ gap to the floor.

And why the industry nearly always discusses tables and cloths in feet and inches and most other things in metric measurements is just a bit of legacy.


22nd October 2015

Stone the Crows and I’ll Go To The Foot of Our Stairs.  Replacing LOL and WTF as tweet and text acronyms, apparently.  Well, LingOL didn’t cross my mind when I saw this complete mess of a mash-up, courtesy of @WeWantPlates.  If you are wondering if you are seeing straight, yes, this real
ly is sausage, bacon, mash and beans in a knickerbocker glory glass.  Served in an eatery in Sheffield, where you’d think traditional northern good sense might have prevailed and stopped the banger horror show.

Sausage and mash need a plate.  Maybe if you are doing a bit fancy, you could run to a suitable bowl, catch the gravy and all that. But never a sundae glass.