The last thing on one’s mind when planning an expensive outdoor wedding is washrooms. In the past, guests would simply line up, holding their noses, outside the construction-site-ready porta-potties—or find a private bush. These days, thanks to high-end portable toilet rental companies, the talk of the party is no longer the catering, the band, the guests, or the bride’s dress. It’s all about the washrooms. Haute porta-potties are so sought-after there aren’t enough to keep up with demand—they’ve become the first thing some event planners book.
At a recent end-of-summer party, the luxurious fleet of restroom trailers supplied by It’s My Potty had six private stalls for women, and for men two stalls and four black, vitreous china, waterless urinals. The countertops were granite, with stainless-steel sinks, touch-free faucets and soap dispensers; a TV screen showed off pictures of people at the party. There were two full-length mirrors, hot water, special lighting, linen hand towels and even an attendant standing out front, ready to hold your drink and reﬁll the baskets of lotions/tampons/mints/deodorant inside. Called the Royal Flush, that porta-potty rents for $5,000 a night. “It’s nicer than my washroom at home,” more than one guest was heard to remark.
“People are shocked. They say, ‘Really? This is a bathroom?’ ” says Yasmin Lasry, account manager at It’s My Potty. “It really has everything. They smell wonderful and everything is automatic.” She says the host only needs to provide power. The porta-potty arrives hitched to a trailer and takes “three minutes” to set up. (You do need room for a trailer.) The Royal Flush can handle about 2,000 flushes and rents for $2,000 to $3,000 for eight hours. One client, who owns a huge property in the Muskokas, in Ontario, rented the Royal Flush 8 (same interior, fewer stalls) for the entire summer. “They have a lot of parties. We come by every couple of days to clean it up,” says Lasry. The company’s porta-potties were also out during TIFF. “My favourite was an Indian party because they had a week-long celebration. Each night there was a party.”
Tara O’Grady, of Bliss Events, who plans events with budgets between $50,000 and $250,000, says she once put a tent over a high-end restroom trailer with palm trees, oversize mirrors and chandeliers. There were other tents at the party, like the champagne tent, but the buzz was, “Come check out the bathroom tent!”
The Presidential 3 is the newest design at Room to Go, another high-end rental company. “I would talk to brides and they always want more room for the women. I also have an architect background, so I designed it,” says Keri Ross, co-owner of the company. It features glass sinks, wood flooring, indirect lighting, heat and air conditioning. Or there is the Elegance 400 Mobile Restroom Suite, which includes a stereo system and a skylight. From the outside, they look like movie trailers. “We clean it thoroughly. I’m talking using toothbrushes to get behind the toilets.” Last year, they set up the Presidential for a 50th birthday party where Jann Arden and Sarah McLachlan performed. A lot of famous behinds have sat on their toilet seats; they’ve been hired for stars like John Travolta, Pavarotti, Bill Clinton and Tony Robbins.
The trend is spreading because people are generally terrified by the classic porta-potties. “They used to be for a very exclusive group but now there is a bigger market and even the average party host wants them,” says Ross. David Vallee, an event planner known for his part on Rich Bride, Poor Bride, laments that there is no middle ground. “You have these luxury WC on wheels or you have those construction-worker toilets. There’s not much in between. For most people $5,000 is a lot of money. That could be their entire budget.”
As Liz Wanless of Great Events puts it, “If you are going all out and spending $10,000 on an ice sculpture and a thousand on a cake, then the rest of the wedding or event has to come up to the same level.” Renters beware, though: You don’t want your washroom to outshine your wedding dress.