Weddings can be costly, and it is easy to go over budget when making all the essential purchases… the dress, the flowers, the venue, the catering, the list can go on. Understandably, it can be tempting to buy everything you need for your wedding. However, some things are better to rent. 

If you are trying to decide if you have options, one effective way to decide on renting vs buying is to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many of each item do I need? Could this change with the count of my guests?
  2. Will we be able to sell the item or do we have to keep it after? 
  3. Do we want to take the time to meet up with strangers over and over to sell the items? 
  4. Can the item be used for a gift at a later date?
  5. Is this one item that we can and want to use in our new home?

Now that you have asked yourself these questions, and have a little more clarity, we’ve captured some further details to help you work through the process of renting vs. buying.

Candle vases by The Meaningful Details.
Image by Angie Lyons Photography

Rent your event decorations. In theory, buying your own decor, to try and sell after might seem like it will save money, but don’t forget to factor in the hidden costs, including your personal time. There are so many steps that go into using these items for an event that you need to consider: purchasing, shipping, unwrapping and taking the tags off (yes those vases all come with sticky white tags that need to come 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, pack them up and if using real candles, you will now need to clean them. Also, if you rent them you can adjust your order to fit your table count, but when you buy you are now having to ship back unused or you’re stuck with too many items.

We love renting décor items as it really gives couples a chance to think outside the box and rent all silver serving trays for a donut station to make it fancy.  Or perhaps you want to carry the theme of your wedding from the invites onto your rented framed chalk boards that are custom designed for you.  We even will rent books to create elegant table settings and tissue holders for the moms, and really are you going to reuse that gift card box? 

Rent the table linens, please. Not all linens are expensive to buy, HOWEVER, they are a pain to press out all the creases from shipping.  I had a client buy all her linen and on the day of her wedding gives it all to me still in the bags and boxes from shipping. (we instructed her to press them a month prior and she stated she just got so busy and didn’t have the time)  We tried for an hour to press and steam the head table linen with no luck. They needed to be first washed then pressed.  Renting linens is the smartest way to go because they come pressed and ready to use.   And after the wedding, they go right back to the vendor, with no cleanup or storage required.  PLUS you get to select great colors and patterns!

Tuxedos. Most men only own one or two tuxedos and wear them less than one time a year or never again. It is better to rent this item rather than to add another to your collection that won’t be able to be worn at another event, assuming you are part of the wedding party. Most newlyweds want everyone in the same matching tuxedos.

Items You Should Consider Buying

Napkins or table runners. Buying the smallest fabric items may save you money and best of all they are truly custom and one-of-a-kind. You can keep them and use them for holidays for years to come.

Napkin rings.  Unless you can have staff to grab them off the tables as soon as guests take the napkin out of them, you will be losing some to kids playing with them or some finding their way into an oversize purse.  So you will pay for the replacement of these items, we strongly encourage you to consider buying if you don’t have staff on hand.

Jewelry and accessories. Don’t you want to own the necklace you wore on your wedding day? Buy something you can afford, and treasure it forever.  Buy some fun ties for the guys for them to keep vs. renting.   The KnottyTie is our go to place as you can customize each one with design, color and type.

A Custom wedding sign. While you can rent signs for your ceremony, reception, creating one custom sign gives you something you can hang on your walls forever.  Make it a sign that just has your names and date with a saying that represents your love.

One or two décor items that are customized.  Maybe a neon sign with your initials that you can place at the bar or a love sign, or maybe you’re having a garden wedding, consider buying some small ceramic birds to place on the head table that you can keep as a momentum of the day.

Just remember to have your wedding planner or whoever you have helping you on the day of your wedding know what is rented and what is yours to keep.  And have a clear plan on packing up all items and who will be doing it.    Clearly label on the bottom of items that are yours and you want to keep.  We had a bride that was given her grandmothers vase and had created a centerpiece with it for the head table.  The Aunt was giving away all the centerpieces and the head table one went to the DJ without anyone knowing anything about the significance of the vase.  A few days after the wedding the bride called and ask where that vase was at, but before the wedding she stated all the centerpieces could be given away.  Needless to say that was an awkward conversation with the DJ.  

We could tell you many stories like guests walking out with custom rented framed signage, stating it’s theirs and the couple borrowed it from them.  To catering companies tossing vases with lit candles into bins to “help” only to have wax over everything.  Or couples having bought their linens and family just took everything and stuffed them in garbage bags with food and wet stains from beverage spills, to only come back after their honeymoon to moldy linens or worse, bags ripped open by animals because they left them outside the entire time.  

I bought a large box of fairy lights from a couple one summer for about 10% what they paid.  When I opened the box they had never been opened, I was shocked and asked what happen.  They just never had the time the day of to put up all the lights and make their vision come to life.  They wished they had just hired a wedding planner that would have taken care of all the details as they really wanted those lights to be up, but now they are selling them a fraction of the cost.  Of which all our couples are now enjoying those lights as they rent them from us.

Who’s putting up all your lighting?

As planners that manage all aspects of a wedding, here at Blue Wings Events we work hard in managing our clients’ budget to be able to say after the event we came in under budget.  So we really know a thing or two about renting vs. buying.  We want everyone to consider renting as much as you can it really is better.

Listed below are some of our favorite rental companies.