To rent or to buy
It can be tough to differentiate what things you need to buy versus rent for your wedding day. Which items are better off borrowed? That depends on both your vision and your venue.
“Many things can be rented nowadays, from furniture to floral vessels to signage, so consider saving yourself the headache of transporting décor to your destination,” advises Megan Velez of the Destination Weddings Travel Group, a firm coordinating romantic travel events across the world.
What to borrow, what to buy
Furniture, like tables and chairs for the reception, are pretty standard on the “to rent” list. An increasing number of couples are also borrowing lounge furniture, according to Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Management Group, which coordinates luxury events globally.
“Lounge set ups have become especially popular as of late — think couches and chairs paired with ottomans and coffee tables,” Orlando says. “It’s a great opportunity for your creativity to shine with such additions as textured throw blankets and pillows to dramatic rugs.”
Furniture and décor items, such as photo booths, continue to be trendy rental choices for couples. But why stop there? The possibilities are practically endless for rentals to make your wedding unforgettable.
“Love the whole winery look? Start looking into renting wine barrels. Planning a garden wedding? Rent an arbor to adorn with greenery and florals for the perfect ceremony arch,” says Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a California-based business that provides videography, photo booths and more.
Other popular rental trends include customizable bars with functional back bars, donut or dessert walls/displays and upholstered sweetheart seating, according to Erin Petty of Paisley & Jade, a rental company serving Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.
Which items should you purchase instead of renting? While some brides have rented dresses, most people agree that’s a must-buy. Tuxes, however, are ideal to rent unless your fiancé anticipates additional uses.
Requirements for rental success
Petty suggests renting as much as your budget will allow, but make sure the rental company provides delivery and pickup. Also, see if they will set up the gear you rent, so you don’t wind up unfolding chairs instead of getting your hair done. Otherwise, you will need to designate a pal who understands your vision to take the lead, so you can focus on other preparations.
“No one wants to think or worry about the logistics of these details on their busy wedding day,” Petty explains.
To protect yourself, be sure to ask all the right questions upfront so the process doesn’t turn into a headache, says Kylie Carlson of the International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning.
“Always ensure they are licensed and insured so that you know everything is covered if something goes wrong,” Carlson advises. Ask for referrals from other couples and a portfolio so you can see their work to get some third-party credibility, she adds.
Finally, verify that the rental company is able to work within your venue’s rules. For example, things can get dicey if the venue won’t let them deliver and set up items the day before the reception.
Pulling in a pro
If you aren’t sure about what to rent versus purchase, bring along your wedding planner to the venue during the planning phase. They can assist with selecting the right pieces to bring your event to life, which can save you from renting or buying too much.
“They also have the experience that will allow them to anticipate factors that may not come to mind immediately, such as venue guidelines and delivery schedules,” Orlando says.