It's your wedding day, and there are so many plans to be made. You want the day to be spectacular. Between budgets, traditions, choosing a location, considering the time of year and weather, and, most importantly, your idea of a dream wedding, it's enough to make your head spin.
You may choose an all-in-one venue that comes with its own gorgeous setting, catering, waitstaff, tables and chairs, and hope that the cost is within your reach. DIY wedding plans may or may not be more economical, but many excited couples opt for more personalized settings and control over the way things are done. One thing is for sure: You probably don't own enough chairs, tables and service to make it happen without help.
You could always buy the folding chairs and tables, linens and glassware for your event, but then you need a place to store everything before and after the party. Owning everything makes you solely responsible for cleaning and ironing linens, polishing service, and washing all of the dishware before and after use (especially if it's been sitting awhile). It is often more efficient to simply rent what you need for each occasion if you plan to throw several parties.
Let's go rental.
Every bride in your family before you was married in Aunt Fran's parlor, and that's the beginning you've always dreamed of, with a reception in the backyard. But then you remember the light rain shower during your cousin's gala and how it chased everyone away. You'll need seating and decorations for inside, and you'll want to add a tent to the tables, chairs and buffet setting outside. Or maybe the old barn could be gussied up for a fancy do, but the dirt floor leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to dancing -- but that's not a problem if you add a rented dance floor (or more).
Party rental companies offer everything from aisle covers to wine glasses. Choose table linens, centerpieces, pole covers (to hide tent supports), dance floors of various sizes, stages and more. If you are worried about the weather, find tents for outdoor parties; they come with sides or open, with options for fans or heaters for comfort. Serve delicious meals with gas or charcoal grill rentals and buffet-style chafing dishes. There is no limit to what you can do. Paper plates are great for picnics, but if you prefer restaurant-style service, find china, charger plates, silver service, goblets and flutes, and linen napkins and tablecloths.
Check out the party supply rental companies in your area to find out what they offer and compare prices. Make sure to include delivery costs, as well as delivery terms such as how far in advance they will deliver and when they will pick up after the affair. Visit the showrooms to see the quality of merchandise they offer. By all means, get recommendations and warnings from other consumers; you certainly don't want to find out on the day of the party that the tablecloths are stained or that you were shorted on the glassware. Ask about their reputation for reliability, their willingness to work with you, and whether there is an extra charge for setup. Also find out in what condition the items have to be returned -- e.g., do the dishes need to be washed or simply scraped, do the linens need to be laundered, and what are the costs for breakage? If possible, compare the prices, quality, service and reputations of a few companies before making a final decision.
Some party rental suppliers will work with area vendors, such as caterers and wait staff, to help you find a complete package for your magical day. Make an appointment to sit down with your chosen rental company, and explain your vision to them. A party planner can make helpful suggestions based on the company's experience with previous weddings and parties. They can tell you how many plates, glasses and flatware sets to rent based on the number of people invited; always order a few extra pieces in case of breakage or unexpected guests. Read the contract carefully to verify that all dates, quantities and service details are spelled out correctly.