The Guide to the Guide
3 – THE ESSENTIALS | TABLES CHAIRS LINENS
4 – THE TABLE SETTING | DISHES GLASSWARE FLATWARE
5 – THE SETUP | TENTS FLOORING LIGHTING HEATING/COOLING
Every couple planning their walk down the aisle is hoping for a day that is memorable and special. Some create entire new worlds of their own; others bring out the sentimental and traditional elements of this time-old celebration.
In today’s world, nearly any atmosphere is possible with the assistance of props and décor. Of course, you cannot expect the couple to purchase every single piece of their wedding décor and set up. We are all looking for convenience and practicality.
Enter the wedding rentals shops and online marketplaces (like For The Love Of Parties). Wedding rental companies can provide almost any item or decor required to create your own magical space. For those who are planning a wedding or perhaps helping to plan one for their first time, dealing with rentals and vendors may seem daunting. Lay the stress aside– we have collected the best rental advice online and put it all together just for you in our Ultimate Wedding Rentals Guide.
1 – PLANNING YOUR VISION
Reaching out to rentals without a definite idea of your wedding will cause you unneeded stress and plenty of changes as your details emerge. Do yourself a favor and the first thing you do when you sit down to plan and design your wedding – figure out your vision and what it will specifically require. This will allow you to explore your options effectively.
Experienced event designers typically recommend creating a 4-column chart to assist you in turning your vision into a thorough vendor-shopping list.
Nowadays, when creating a wedding, a couple has practically no limits. “If you can dream it, you can do it”- is a phrase we often hear. This also rings true in regards to parties and weddings. Bohemian, modern, garden party, whimsical, vintage. We are sure you have been inspired by various wedding themes all over social media.
First Column | The Vision Once you have settled on your style, use your first column and jot down what you specifically want to do to produce your vision. For example, your primary desire is to serve a plated sit-down dinner and/or display a timeline of the couple photos. Break down the event into bite-size elements.
Second Column | The Items Use your second column to determine the specific items required to achieve your idea. For the dinner, you would possibly list tables, chairs, linens, plates and silverware. As for the photos, you would put down a table or some kind of flat surface.
Third Column |The Execution Use your third column to determine what your true need is. You could, of course, use your venue’s basic rentals or maybe place the photos on a pretty table, or you could switch those out for place settings with more personality or hang the photos on a gallery wall.
Fourth Column | The Contacts In the fourth column, consider who you can call for the items you will need. For the tables and chairs, you can talk to your venue provider or find a party rental company in your area that has what you’re looking for. As for the photo showcase, you may want to search unique wedding décor sites or, may we recommend, the decor section of Love Of Parties to find frames and side tables among other options.. If you do some online digging, you will be surprised at how much is available, no matter your wedding locale.
In addition, a great source of rentals recommendations are those who have been playing in the field for some time. Ask your florist, caterer or venue manager for referrals. These folks know which rentals do great and reliable work repeatedly. It never hurts to do your research. Call up a few different wedding rental companies and inquire about their offerings and pricing. You may be able to score some great discounts and find a big difference in pricing for the same items.
Getting this clear picture of what items you really need will help you be prepared and help you avoid canceling and rescheduling rental items.
2 – COVER YOUR BASES
Before discussing specific wedding rentals, we found a checklist of questions for you to ask during any rental agreement to avoid miscommunication, assumptions and to be aware of the specifics of your contract with them.
The essential questions to ask your vendors are as follows:
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Have you worked events at our ceremony/reception venue(s) before? (A very important question, especially for tent rentals!)
- Can we view item selections before renting?
- Will we be able to view actual rental items from your supply, or will we be shown samples?
- Will we be able to contact you on the day of our event? (Get the name and cell phone number of an in-charge person in case of problems and needed solutions.)
- Are setup and delivery fees included in our order? Or are they extra?
- What are delivery charges for our locations?
- How much is required for deposit?
- When is deposit due? (Most companies require a non-refundable deposit, roughly equal to one-third of the total rental package price. This amount is usually due when you book your rental items.)
- When is final payment due?
- Which methods of payment do you accept?
- When will our rented items be delivered to the venue? Arrange for a time that allows setup without pressure, at least several hours before your event starts.
- Will delivery workers bring all rented items inside the venue and set everything up? Or do you offer ‘tailgate service’ delivery, wherein the company just drops off your rented items in a driveway or at the venue entrance, leaving you to carry everything inside and set up yourself?
- Will someone instruct us on how to operate the rented item? (Especially key for lighting rentals.)
- When will delivery workers return to collect all rented items after the wedding?
- How do we prepare rented items for pickup? Do we have to clean dishes, glasses, flatware first, or do we load dirty dishes into their crates?
- What are the costs and details in case any items are broken or lost?
- What is your cancellation/refund policy?
3 – THE ESSENTIALS | Tables, Chairs, Linens
Average starting price: $8 per table.
Ask your venue if they provide tables for complimentary use or rent. Some venues may include this essential and you may get to skip the extra hassle of delivery/pick-up. However, some do not –or you may not particularly like what your venue has to offer and need to rent out anyway.
Let us start with the basics. A regular wedding rental company usually provides tables for rent in two classic sizes. The 60″ round and a rectangular table measuring 6’x30″. When planning the number of tables you order, take into account how many people the table properly seats.
It is recommended that the fewest people you want per 60″ round is six—less than this and the table will feel oddly empty and big. Eight is the ideal number—it feels full, but not crowded, everyone is going to be able to pull their chairs in all the way, and still have some elbow room. Make note of how close the place settings and the chairs are to each other. Ten people is the maximum you can put at a 60″ round—there’s simply not enough space to squeeze an eleventh in and still have enough space to pull chairs close enough to actually sit (or, more importantly, eat) at the table.
The most common size of a rented rectangular table is 6′ by 30″. They seat either six or eight people, depending on if you use the endcaps (short side of the table.)
Table Layouts for Guests
As you create your table layouts, keep in mind how many tables can you fit into your room. To maximize your space try mixing table size and shapes. The biggest mistake you can make when creating the floor layout is to forget to leave room for people to walk between tables and to get into and out of their seats. The recommended minimum is 60″ between tables, and this is very important. Putting tables closer seems reasonable at first, but this attempt to save room leaves you crammed as the guests pull the chairs out and sit in them. You will find that there is no room for the waiters to get in between those chairs or for a guest to get out of their seats once the seats fill up.
To avoid this state of awkward floor space lock-down –keep tables 60″ away from each other and at least 30″ away from a wall. If in doubt about table positioning and counts, you always have the option of bringing layouts of your ceremony and reception sites to your rental agent, so that he or she can advise on your table choice and arrangements.
After you have determined the guest tables in a collection of rounds, long family-style, or a mix of table shapes and sizes, you should define what type of tables you want for the sweetheart table, buffet, gift tables and guestbook or photo displays. Rustic wood tables, glass top tables and unusual dressers are becoming popular table alternatives. Look into local craigslist and online for vintage and eclectic table finds to help you complete your desired style.
Most Popular Table Rentals.
Average starting price: $2 per chair.
Renting chairs seems like a simple task compared to other wedding rentals and for the most part, it is. That is after you make a choice of which chairs to rent. Standard folding chairs in covers, elegant Chiavari chairs, modern acrylic ghost chairs, folding bamboo chairs… and those are just some of the options out there.
When tallying up the amount needed, make note that you will need several chairs per guest – minimally seating for the ceremony and seating for the reception. Of course, you can use the same chairs for both ceremony and reception if your wedding ceremony and reception are held in the same venue. To succeed in this frugal move, your cocktail hour should be in an entirely different part of your venue so that your staff may easily move the chairs from one area to another.
To ensure less stress add at least 10 extra chairs for your ceremony and reception in case any chairs arrive cracked or broken and don’t forget to count in your vendors: DJ, performers, musicians will need a seat as well if you’re not planning to leave them standing all night. If budget permits, you might like to take into account your junior guest list and consider adding high chairs and booster seats for the comfort of your littlest guests.
Chair Setup and Delivery
Remember to ask your vendor how will rented chairs need to be arranged for pickup? Some companies require you to fold chairs closed and some require sliding them into padded delivery bags in which they came. Of course, if your venue has chairs available on site, they will most likely require nothing of you in this department.
Now, how about a pair of especially decorative chairs for you and your love at the sweetheart table? Vintage armchairs, a tufted settee, rattan peacock chairs, or perhaps simple chairs dressed up in tie-on ruffled fabric covers – these you can rent out, as well. Online rentals are teaming with fantastic options for the perfect seating for you.
Leading into our next topic, consider chair linens: they are a terrific way to add texture and color to your location as well as cover some scary-looking, old folding chairs that might come with a venue should you choose to go the frugal route.
Most Popular Chair Rentals.
Average starting price for linens
Tablecloths: $6-$10 for each.
Table skirts: $1.10 to $1.50 per foot.
Table runners: $3 to $8.
Table overlays (square tablecloths): $6 to $12.
Chair covers: $3.50 to $5.50 per chair. (This fee often includes a contrasting color sash.)
Cloth napkins: $0.40 to $0.65 each.
A wedding usually has plenty of linens: Guest table tablecloths, table runners, napkins for both cocktail party and reception, as well as elaborate or vintage linens for the cake, gift, sweetheart and photo tables.
Cotton vs Polyester
Cotton and polyester linens usually cost about the same. Cotton is always considerably nicer to touch and visually appealing, so if you can- request cotton. If your caterer is running your rental order, be sure to request their tablecloths.
Tablecloth rentals always beg the question: how far you want your tablecloths to “drop” over the edge of the tables. If they come with the caterer you might have no leeway, otherwise here is a general guideline: Extravagant receptions (or for those tables with extremely ugly legs that you want to be covered) use 30” drops that go clear to the floor. For formal affairs, drops generally range from 10″ to 15″ so that the tablecloth comes to the guest’s lap. More casual occasions drops usually range from 8″ to 12″. For your special sized tables where a traditionally sized linen might not quite fit, elegant table skirts can often be a great solution. Table skirts are normally 30 inches tall and rental cost varies by length.
Linen Colors and Styles
Some venues provide white, ivory, or black tablecloths as part of their wedding rentals package. If so, consider adding color in the form of table runners or table overlays. A long table runner adds elegance to a banquet table. While a smaller square overlay placed over a round tablecloth also adds color contrast and dimension.
One online linen vendor offers the following advice in regards to mixing those rental linens:
“Mix and match colors! Different shades of table linens in the same color family (monochromatic color schemes) make for a rich, classy tablescape (like dark purple tablecloths with lavender napkins, for example.) High contrast color combinations make a bold statement. There are so many choices! Picking table linen colors is a really fun part of planning a special event, so if you’re still unsure about colors try a free fabric swatch program” – blog.brightsettings.com
That’s right—a fabric swatch program. If you are looking for a specific color that a local rental company does not carry, ordering a fabric swatch is a lifesaver. No one wants their peach wedding to become construction cone orange because of your computer monitor color settings.
Table napkins usually come in white but can be colored. They are normally 20-by-20 inches in size or smaller. As you check the linens off the list, grab a few extras in case of a setup mishap. Make note that the balance on linens is typically due 24 hours before picking up the linens, which allows changes to the order to match the guest list changes.
You should expect the linens to arrive cleaned and pressed. Your wedding rental company will clean the linens after the event, and most policies will protect you against normal stains on the linens, like spilled food, drink or candle wax. If the linens incur burns, rips or stains that cannot be removed, there will be charged for the replacement cost as determined by the rental company. Always read the rental contract carefully.
Linens on a Budget
For the budget conscious couple, remember that fancy tablecloth can be very expensive (sequins, lace, velvet, etc.) Consider forgoing the pricey linens for every table. Instead, use the fancy table coverings for your cake table or sweetheart table only. You can also mix and match table linens so that not all of your tables require the expensive tablecloths.
Finally, if you are holding your wedding outdoors, inquire about hidden clips to keep table linens from whipping up in the breeze.
Most Popular Linen Rentals.
4 – THE TABLE SETTING | Dishes, Glassware, Flatware
Average starting price for a set of flatware:$5 per person for a low-end table setting in clear glass and up to $10 per person for high-end gold or silver-rimmed china settings accompanied by gold- or silver-plated flatware with crystal stemware and glasses.
A set, in this case, includes wine glasses, drinking glasses, bread plates, salad plates, dinner plates, hot beverage cups, saucers and dessert plates.
If you are hiring an onsite catering company, you can blissfully ignore this topic as they typically have plates, glasses, and flatware available with the venue. However, for those creating your big day without such a benefit, or those who prefer something unique on their tables the rental dish world has much to offer.
As you determine how many dishes you need, depending on the nature of your meal, note that event directors recommend you order at least three to four dishes per guest as part of your wedding rentals prep. Consider cocktail dishes, salad, main course, and dessert. If you are serving cake, don’t forget about a set of plates to serve it on!
Aside from the dishes, you will be eating off of, don’t forget to consider the following for your checklist: Footed serving bowls, candy station glass dishes, and dainty mismatched tea sets.
It is currently popular to add color through plates, but the chargers add a special flair. Gold and metallic chargers lead current trends, as well as boho-chic china collections. Antique silver platters and vintage trays are also fashionable today.
If you are renting exquisite china, but want to invite some adorable little ones, don’t forget to rent or purchase some unbreakable plates— you don’t want to deal with expensive breakage.
As a rule, always order approximately ten extra plates/forks/knives/napkins. You may have one or two show up chipped, or have a guest drop one, or realize you forgot to include your vendors in the headcount (and they need to eat off of something!).
Most Popular Dinnerware Rentals.
GLASSWARE & CUPS
Unless you have someone washing racks of glassware throughout the event, you are going to need to order quite a large amount of glasses (perhaps three per guest) or you will need to come up with a system that limits people to one glass for the whole time. A clear sign at the drink stations asking people to please hold onto and reuse their glasses is also an option. To lessen your chances of breakage fees, consider renting stemless glasses as they are more balanced.
For those guests preferring a hot beverage, make sure to rent some coffee cups, which can also come in handy if you decide to set up a cozy hot chocolate station. Mismatched teacups or coordinating teacup sets can serve a stylish cup of relaxation as well as accentuate your décor.
Most Popular Glassware Rentals.
FLATWARE & OTHER UTENSILS
Aside from the knives, forks and spoons for the reception dinner remember to account for cocktail party needs and utensils for cake eating. Luxe gold flatware is a wedding rental item that a caterer probably doesn’t provide but can rent out to create a trendy look at your tables. Also available for rent are vintage, heirloom-style silver and mix-and-match utensil patterns.
For those not inclined on keeping a fancy set of cake serving tools, the rental world offers an array of sets from simple to stylish.
Finally, if you will be having a family-style service at your reception or a candy station, don’t forget to rent some serving utensils.
Most Popular Flatware Rentals.
5 – THE SET UP | Tents, Flooring, Lighting, Heat/Cooling
Average starting price: $300.
Is your wedding outside? Be prepared and add this to your wedding rentals checklist!
First things first: when choosing your event location, make sure they allow tents. Some venues do not permit tents on their lawns due to damage from tent pegs and poles. For those that do permit tents, asking for recommendations of tent providers that have worked there before, is a great idea. These companies will already know what they’re working with and can suggest the best way to make the tent work for you at said location. Otherwise, it is a good idea to have your tent rental company conduct a site visit to assess the space, and suggest the ideal tent size and flooring options.
Wedding planners suggest that you choose the squarest tent your site will allow. This will result in a tall, visually appealing ceiling and a natural tent cooling option. Guests also feel more included when seated in a squarer tent. The two common tent types available for rent are the pole tent and the frame tent.
The pole tents are the ones with the eye-catching swooping roof. They are on the less expensive side and do not require a liner as they do not have a frame that needs covering up. Nevertheless, their center poles might be an obstruction if you are planning to have something in the very middle. These tents require anchor ropes and are staked into the ground requiring a five to eight-foot clearance on all sides.
The frame tent, on the other hand, can be set up on any level grounds and is not limited to grassy areas. This pricier option can be attached together to create sheltered walkways outdoors and does not have any center poles to obstruct the view. However, the visible inner frame can be an eyesore with the only solution being an expensive liner (which can cost almost 3 times the cost of the tent).
Most tents come with the option of adding sidewalls. The options to consider are solid, cathedral (with windows) and fabric. If you are looking for protection, stick with the first two. Fabric walls should be used for decorative purposes only. Only the solid or windowed walls will keep any rain or cool weather out.
Whether you need a tent simply as sunny day shade or for a dramatic statement with chandeliers and luxurious draping, having professionals do the installation is vital. Nothing is worth a tent mishap in the middle of a supposedly magical moment.
When signing off on your rental tent ask how long the setup time will take. Ordinarily, a 40 x 80-foot pole tent takes on average four and a half hours to set up. If your venue allows, you may want to have the tent set up and ready for you a few days prior to the wedding—this way you will have time to play around with the floor plan and to decorate. Finally, for those who would prefer to bring your own tent lighting be advised that tent companies will not hang them up for you and will require you to remove them before the tent is scheduled to be broken down.
Average price: $300 for 12-foot-square to $2,000 or more for 30-foot square and larger.
For tent or open-air weddings, the options for flooring are plain old ground with or without a dance floor, or perhaps a full floor under the tent. The ground is the least expensive option but has a few drawbacks. Lawns and heels are not the best of matches; therefore, it is very important that you inform your guests to wear appropriate shoes. In addition, if it rains in the days before your wedding, the ground can get soggy or muddy. If you will be placing a tent on land that is uneven or slopes, you should consider adding flooring in order to level things out. Although the price does not seem steep, it really adds up. A 12″x12″ wood parquet dance floor typically rents from $215 to $250, so for those looking for a budget-friendly option, consider renting just a dance floor instead of full flooring.
Average starting price: $5-$19 per each.
Whether your wedding is outdoors at night or at a ‘no candles allowed’ venue (insurance risk), you just might need to rent out some lighting. Lighting options available to rent include—bistro lights, lanterns, twinkle lights, can lights mounted on the ceiling or theatrical style stage lights with gels. For evening tent weddings, you can rent chandeliers at about $50 to $85 each. For those looking for mood lighting, you can also get lighting placed on a dimmer. If you would like to transform a regular ballroom and add ambiance, consider renting uplighting (special lights placed on the floor, up against the walls). When colored, these lights can attract attention away from unsightly colored walls and create a different colored room altogether.
When planning your lighting wedding rentals, consider if your site provides the necessary access for powering your light sources. If no power is available for your use, you may need to rent a generator.
As with most big-ticket rental items, get several quotes. Some brides in sharing their experience online mention that although the first lighting company they talked to was a very reputable company and do great work, they received a much lower quote at a smaller, newer company for the exact same request.
HEATING & COOLING
Average starting price: $175 to $250 for tent heaters.
You don’t want your guests to slip away early from outdoor weddings during the summer heat wave or from poorly heated winter receptions. For warm outdoor summer weddings, you might want to invest in some cooling equipment. Sometimes air conditioning isn’t the best solution; renting fans or evaporative coolers are far less expensive than air conditioners. For a 40 x 60 tent, you can be looking at rental rates for the air conditioning from $2400 – $3600. Fans work great to circulate the air and large ones are generally economical to rent.
For a wedding with cooler temperatures, you can rent a tent furnace with a thermostat to warm up the tent. Some couples consider renting patio heaters to place inside the tent, but they can be fire hazards and they take up space, whereas a tent furnace can be placed outside the tent where partying people cannot knock it over.
Don’t forget to check that you have an appropriate power source to power your units or rent a generator.