~ TABLE LINENS, NAPKINS AND RUNNERS. Not only are linens expensive to buy, but they are also time-consuming to clean, fold, press, and store. Renting linens is the smartest way to go. You won’t have to iron or steam the linens before the party, since rentals arrive ready to go. After the wedding, they go right back to the vendor, with no cleanup or storage required. Just toss them in the bag. And be honest: When will you ever need dozens of tablecloths and runners for home entertaining?
~ CANDLE HOLDERS AND VASES. Sourcing inexpensive candlesticks, vases, and votive holders may seem like a great idea but think realistically about what it means to have dozens—or hundreds—of glass and metal items post-wedding. You likely won’t be using wax-covered candle holders again, and cleaning them will take much longer than writing out your thank-you notes. That goes for vases for your florals, too. Many florists allow you to rent vessels from them and some even have eclectic options for holding your stems. They handle the pickup, setup, and cleanup, meaning you won’t have to lift a finger on the wedding day or haul boxes of vases out of the venue the next morning. It’s generally not worth the minimal savings, or sometimes no savings, buying can offer over renting in this category.
~ UPGRADED CHINA AND CHARGERS. If you’re splurging on upgraded place settings, be sure to rent. While it may be tempting to order your wedding china and chargers for the big day, you likely won’t need 150-plus plates in the future. Consider renting a pattern that fits the decor. If you’re really set on dining with your own china, have your venue set the places for you and your spouse with the special plates while guests dine on rented porcelain. Want the look, but don’t have the budget to rent plates? Splurge on a fancy charger to impress your guests. You won’t believe how it will upgrade even a plain, white dinner plate.
~ FURNITURE. Consider using the venue’s furniture first to keep costs low, but if you’re budgeted for lounge furniture and dining chairs, go the rental route. There is really no value in buying these items. If you want your guests to be wowed when you walk into the room, those ghost chairs will really pull it all together. You can also have chairs pull double duty by using them for both the ceremony and reception. For lounge furniture, choose seating that will fit several guests, such as cozy couches, since you know they’ll want to take a break from the dance floor. Make sure to include places for drinks, such as a coffee table, so that guests who take a seat have a comfortable place to socialize.
~ SEATING ASSIGNMENT DECOR. While a custom escort card display may be on your dream list, for many couples, simple signage noting where each guest should sit is sufficient. In this case, consider renting a large mirror or chalkboard and write guests’ names and table numbers on it with a chalk pen. You could buy this item, but before you decide if that’s the cost-effective way to go, pick a place for it in your home and make sure you like it. Otherwise, you’ll just be tossing it.
~ GLASSWARE. Many event spaces, especially those in hotels or part of hospitality establishments, have glassware on hand for you, but if you’re upgrading the look or bringing everything into an industrial space, choose to rent. Ikea may seem tempting, but glassware rentals still come out cheaper. Sometimes flutes are only a few cents each. Just make sure to ask for more glasses than your guest count—many guests put a full drink down to pick up a new one, and, inevitably, someone will knock over a stemmed wine glass.
need some wedding reception decor inspiration?
Following are suggested items you should rent, rather than purchase for your wedding: