The 'wow' factor
By Connie Lannan
June 20, 2023
For years, couples have customized their wedding receptions in various ways, including having their event rental company use gobo lights to shine their initials on the top of a tent or a dance floor. That evolved to applying vinyl monograms on the dance floor. Today, many weddings and even corporate events are bringing that customization to the next level with entire dance floors being covered in colorful vinyl patterns that coordinate with the event’s theme.
“We used to shine the lights with their initials, but once people started dancing, you couldn’t see it anymore. Now they have gone to this. We’ve been offering this service for about 10 years, but it has become more prevalent lately. It is primarily because of Instagram and Pinterest and the whole idea of wanting to make it customized for a particular bride, bringing out a theme as well as the initials for the bride and groom. Some brides have even created their own logos for their dance floors,” says Dan Hooks, CERP, president, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C.
Amanda Jones, CERP, owner, Tyler Tents and Events, Tyler, Texas, has seen the same trend. “We have offered this for several years, but it has changed in the last year or so. Whereas before it was a monogram of their initials, now they want the entire dance floor covered with a pattern,” she says.
The brides or wedding planners who ask for this treatment “are those who want to go back to the classic traditions and go all in. They go all out on the stationery, theme or décor,” Jones says.
“The dance floor covers follow their stationery suite,” Jones adds. “If they have a pattern on their lining or the background to their invitation, that is typically what we use. A lot of times it is a floral pattern. It brings out the color, theme and floral design. You will see it used on their signage, invitations, on their bar and dance floor. While it is not an everyday occurrence, we do see it mostly for the higher-end weddings because there is a cost to it. It’s not just for weddings, though. We are also having a corporate event coming up in which we will wrap the entire dance floor. It is for an employee appreciation event this summer. We will have a logo and a theme.”
As far as cost, “It is much more expensive than the dance floor itself,” Hooks adds. “If you are wrapping the entire floor, it can double the cost of the dance floor. It depends on how elaborate it is and how many different colors. It is labor-intensive.”
“You also have the cost of printing the vinyl sheets. That’s maybe $800 to $1,200 just to print them and then the labor to install it and take it off,” Jones says.
Hooks and his team install smaller jobs, such as monograms and logos, but they leave the larger full wraps to a trusted sign company.
Jones, on the other hand, likes to do these jobs herself. “I am a bit hands-on and kind of a control freak, so I like to do it myself typically. A lot of times we do it the day before or the morning of and I get to see that reaction from the bride and the family. They go gaga over it. It is nice to be there and see the reaction from the client,” Jones says, adding that she has had her sign company do some jobs if the timing doesn’t work in her schedule.
Hooks suggests using an older dance floor for the full wraps. “If it is just a simple logo or initials, we can do it with a good floor because that is pretty simple. The only time I would use an old floor is if we are covering it completely, like a floral pattern,”
Jones agrees that “if you have a worn-out dance floor, use it on that because no one will see that. We don’t have a dance floor that doesn’t go out, so we have done it on our nice white one,” she says.
As far as difficulty, Jones says “it’s not too bad. It is a little more than like taking price tag stickers off a wine glass. It takes a little bit of pull. For a 16-ft.-by-16-ft. dance floor, it takes us about two hours. We want to make sure all the pieces match up. After we build the dance floor, we roll out the vinyl, then line it up, tape it in place with painter’s tape and then start backwards with the bottom piece and then go up to the top one and start from the middle out. We come with kneepads and I use yoga socks, which are grippy on the bottom, so I don’t slip. I use a long metal ruler, which I can stick the vinyl to so the end piece doesn’t stick down where I don’t want it to. You need a sharp knife to peel the backing off and something to help smooth it down to get rid of the air bubbles.”
“There has been a learning curve to this whole thing,” Hooks says. “When you work with a sign company that produces it, you need to ask for adhesive that is very temporary because you want something that can be easily removed. These sign companies can use an adhesive that allows the vinyl to stay on there for 10 years or a couple of months. You want to get the adhesive that can come off easily,” he says.
That is why both Hooks and Jones say it is imperative that event rental operators who do this need to have a good working relationship with their sign company or third-party vendor who can help them with this service.
“We have a great working relationship with our sign company. We even took them a piece of our dance floor so they understood what we needed,” Jones says.
There are some challenges to this process. “The vinyl goes across all the separations. When you go to pick up your dance floor, you can’t even see the separations,” Hooks says. “You are putting the dance floor together with screws, so you have to cut around to get to the dance floor screws so you can take it apart. It adds a little degree of difficulty. If it is just a logo or initials, it isn’t that big a deal. It may go across several pieces, but it is pretty simple to cut apart. It is when you do the whole wraps that it becomes a problem,” he says.
For Jones, the major limitation comes “in the design of the files we get,” she says. “We have had some problems where we had to send the file back to the bride and her designer to have the artwork redone. Something that comes as a small file or PDF for their invitations, then has to be blown up to 16 ft. by 16 ft. can become blurry and pixilated and you can’t understand what it is. The last one we did, we had to go back to the bride and her designer twice and still couldn’t get it to where we needed. Instead of blowing the pattern up, we just repeated it and then we got on site and turned the tiles so it didn’t look like it was a repetitive repeat and not quite so boring. We did it in smaller sections and did the pattern on a smaller scale. We made it work, but it was more difficult to do it that way instead of using the longer sheets.”
If your rental operation is thinking about offering this service, Jones says to “start by asking your sign company or third-party vendor if they could install it. If you are just getting started, you want an expert. Then I would ask them what they need from you, such as what type of file they will need. That will allow you to tell your bride and wedding planner that you are happy to do this, but you need the file in this particular format to get it done. Make sure you get your sign company to understand what you need and that you are looking for an easy on and off.”
Both say event rental companies shouldn’t hesitate to offer this to clients.
“It is a huge wow factor for the client. It also is a great way to save an old dance floor and use it,” Jones says.
Hooks agrees. “It is a great addition if you are trying to make something custom for the bride and groom,” he says.