As you start planning your wedding, you should be prepared to make a number of different design decisions. Although these are certainly some of the more exciting details to finalize, there are a number of logistical questions related to décor that can feel more overwhelming. One such example: Should we rent or buy our wedding décor? When it comes to things like glassware, vintage plates, or even lounge furniture, renting is nearly always the more affordable option. However, there are some occasions when buying décor makes more sense. Here, we discuss how to decide which option is right for you.
When it comes to planning a wedding, there are so many important details to keep in mind, from picking a venue to coming up with wedding decoration ideas to setting up catering to choosing music, and many, many more. Because there is so much that can go into planning a wedding, the event can also get expensive. If you want to avoid unnecessary spending when planning a wedding, one potential option is renting some of your wedding decorations instead of buying them.
When you rent wedding decorations instead of buying them, you can find pieces that will enhance your event without having to acquire them permanently. You may be able to find all of the items that you need from one rental company, or you can find specific pieces from specific companies.
If you want to consider renting wedding decorations, but you’re not sure where to start, check out the guide below. It can help you understand the benefits of renting over buying (and vice versa), as well as which items you may want to rent as opposed to purchasing.
Table of Contents
- 1 Rent: If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum
- 2 Rent: If you’re looking for an easier option
- 3 Buy: If you’re looking to have a wedding keepsakes
- 4 Buy: If you want something customized
- 5 Rent: Anything you need in bulk
- 6 Unique/statement pieces: IT DEPENDS
- 7 Buy: If the item can fill another need in your life
- 8 Renting Wedding Decorations: Pros and Cons
- 9 The Pros of Renting Wedding Decorations
- 10 The Cons of Renting Wedding Decorations
Rent: If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum
Because it’s usually more affordable to rent decorative items than to purchase them, any couple who’s trying to keep costs down should research prices at local rental companies. As a bonus, renting decorative items is the more eco-friendly option. Event designer Nicole Sillapere, an owner of Sillapere Design and Production, says she likes to use rentals “as a way of keeping costs in check and keeping an event’s environmental impact to a minimum.” You can think of the event rental industry as a champion for reuse.
Rent: If you’re looking for an easier option
Whether you’re bringing in vintage flatware, modern ceramics, or cozy lounge furniture, renting is without a doubt the easiest option. Once you select what you like, your rental company will deliver the items and may even offer setup services. After the event, you don’t have to clean, wash, or launder anything-simply send it back, or organize a pick-up through your vendor. Plus, rentals are made to handle a little wear and tear, so you don’t have to worry about your crowd treating every last detail of your reception with care.
Buy: If you’re looking to have a wedding keepsakes
If you’re thinking about buying decorative pieces for your wedding, it’s worth considering whether or not you’ll be able to use them in some way after the wedding. Assuming the answer is yes, it could be worth the expense. “I commissioned a wonderful artist to crochet a butterfly, and heart-themed tallit for a client’s butterfly themed wedding a few years ago, and they now have it is hanging over their bed,” Sillapere says. The same goes for vintage dinnerware and glassware. Pretty coupe glasses and floral dessert plates are items you could certainly use again, so long as you have the space to store them.
Buy: If you want something customized
While things like glassware and tabletop rentals aren’t easily customized, you may be able to rent and return things like linens that are made to suit your design needs. I love the idea of DIY napkins as special favours for guests, but if you don’t have time to do something labour intensive like that, having a fun patterned napkin or our custom monogram napkins adds a special touch that you don’t have to spend hours making yourself.
Rent: Anything you need in bulk
There are going to be a ton of things that you need A LOT of – mostly pertaining to your reception table settings—tablecloths, napkins, plates, silverware, glasses, etc. I have to say, and I was sceptical at first. We thought for sure we could buy something more affordable, but it turns out that even disposable place settings would have been more expensive! And don’t forget to calculate the cost per item. Even if the price seems lower initially, you also have to consider the cost of reselling after the wedding. Rental companies offer these items at an unbelievably affordable price, and you won’t end up with 150 place settings after the fact!
Large items such as tents, seating, and lighting belong on the rent list. Not only will it save you a ton of time and money, but the rental company will also get everything set up for you. Talk about easy!
Unique/statement pieces: IT DEPENDS
If you want a major statement piece, you may be able to rent it or buy it. You would be surprised at some of the amazing unique items you can get from local rental companies. From velvet chairs to antique vases to letter boards, there are some cool items you can rent! You may also want to buy something that is super custom but will make a significant statement, like a custom menu board, or mismatched antique frames.
Buy: If the item can fill another need in your life
Sillapere usually recommends clients purchase their decorative details if it’s something that can also fill a need in their home or business. Rather than thinking short-term and just about the wedding, she encourages couples to consider whether or not there’s anything they could use in their everyday life. For example, building customized tables may sound like an extravagance for a wedding, but she once worked with clients who owned a winery and needed tables for tastings, so the cost was reasonable since they could use them again for work. You can think on a smaller scale, too. If you’re planning on displaying family photos at the wedding, purchasing frames you could then use for a gallery wall of wedding pictures are worth the price tag.
There may be some items that you can find a place for in your home after the wedding. Maybe you feature a cool cake stand and some romantic candles on your dessert table, or a custom sign with your names and wedding date. For the most part, these are going to be one-off or small groups of items.
Renting Wedding Decorations: Pros and Cons
When you decorate for a wedding, there are lots of pieces that you need to either buy or rent. These items can range from table linens and flowers to canopies and carpets. There are pros and cons to both buying and renting items and decor, and you should consider each before you decide whether you want to buy something permanently or whether you want to pay money to use it for your event.
The Pros of Renting Wedding Decorations
There are many pros of opting to borrow and return your decor pieces instead of purchasing them and keeping them or trying to resell them after the wedding. Here are some of the best.
You Can Save Money
If you rent your wedding decorations, you may be able to make a more economical choice than purchasing them. This means that if you are on a tight budget for your wedding, renting is a smart option.
You Can Save Time and Reduce Stress
You may also want to rent wedding decorations if you want help with planning. Many rental companies can deliver items and set them up for you, as well as take them away when your wedding is over. This means that renting wedding decorations is a convenient choice and can ultimately save you stress and time. This can be especially helpful if planning your big day feels overwhelming, or if you are too busy in your daily or work life to focus on the logistics.
You Can Get Them Where They Need to Go More Easily
Linens and other wedding decorations can be heavy. They can also be bulky. Because of this, it can be tough figuring out how to get them around. If you rent big or heavy wedding decorations, you can rely on the rental company to transport and carry them to your event, which means that you won’t have to worry about the logistics of transportation.
You Can Have Help with Laundry and Cleaning
Also, renting wedding decorations like linens means that someone can do the cleaning and laundry for you after your event is over. If you will be busy celebrating or going on a honeymoon after the wedding, then renting wedding linens will allow you to do that without any added stress of additional responsibilities. Also, laundering and dry cleaning linens are expensive. Using a rental company will take that expense off of your plate.
You Can Ensure They Look Good
Finally, if you want your wedding’s decoration ideas to be cohesive, seamless and matching, renting is a good idea. Rental companies can give you pieces that they know work well and look good together, which means you can be sure that your wedding event is one that will make a lasting impression on you and your attendees.
You Can Choose from a Larger Selection
When you rent things like table linens from a rental company, you can choose from a greater selection than you can in a store. Rental companies stay tuned to the latest trends and buy products regularly, so you can ensure you’re getting to pick from a wide and varied choice of items.
You Can Stop Worrying About Reselling Them
Linen trends are quickly changing, so reselling your linens can be difficult. People who buy their wedding decorations end up having to eat the cost instead of reselling them because they become dated quickly. If you rent from a company, you won’t have to worry about the risk of not being able to resell your wedding decorations, and thus ensure you don’t waste money that you can never earn back.
The Cons of Renting Wedding Decorations
While renting wedding decorations can save you time and money, there are some drawbacks to paying for decorations you will borrow and return. Here are some of the main cons.
No Customization Possible
First, you usually cannot customize wedding decorations that you borrow. If you want to make an item in your decor completely yours, then you should consider purchasing it so you can customize it completely.
You Can’t Reuse Items You Rent
Next, you may also want to buy wedding decorations if you think you can use the pieces again in your regular daily life. However, if you rent wedding decorations, you’ll have to return them, and you won’t be able to reuse them again once they go back to the rental company.
You Won’t Have Items to Keep as Keepsakes
Finally, you may simply want to purchase wedding decoration pieces because you want to keep them as keepsakes so you can use them to remember one of the most exciting days of your life. When you rent wedding decorations, you won’t be able to keep them after it’s over, so they will not be able to serve as mementos in the future.
In theory, buying your decor items and selling them after the wedding might seem like it will save money. But factor in the extra labour it will cost you, and it isn’t worth it. There are so many steps that go into using these items for an event—purchasing, shipping, unwrapping and taking the tags off, cleaning all the items, transporting them to the venue safely, dealing with them during the wedding, and then going in late at night after the celebration to collect them all. And then there’s the business of selling (and packaging and shipping) post I dos—amid the honeymoon and thank-you notes! Let a professional handle this and save elsewhere.
Now I want to mention that what usually works best is to pick and choose what you buy and what you rent. Buying or DYing everything usually isn’t the best idea. You’ll want to be strategic and weigh each item.
Small things are usually a good choice for DIY. Larger items or bigger quantities are the ones where renting can be better. But you’ll have to assess each item and make the decision for yourself.
In the end, just think about what will be easiest and most affordable. You don’t want to spend months after your wedding surrounded by wine glasses you’re trying to resell on Craigslist, but you also want to make sure you have some keepsakes from your big day that will last a lifetime!