What You Should and Shouldn’t Rent for Your Wedding

Diving into wedding planning is one of the most exciting things you and your partner will tackle. It can also sometimes feel like it’s the most complicated. All of the little details may seem tricky (and expensive!), but there are certainly ways to make it easier.

While planning, one of the most important considerations is what items you’ll want to buy and which items you’ll want to rent. Some items may serve as the perfect memento to keep and enjoy for years to come, while others only serve a purpose for one day.

Your choice of venue can often play a role in guiding what you’ll need to buy or rent, as well as the overall vision and scope of design for the big day. To learn more about wedding rentals, we consulted expert planner Jennifer Pletcher, owner of Gemini Event Planning.

Meet the Expert

Jennifer Pletcher is the owner of Gemini Event Planning, a wedding planning and design company based in Vail, Colorado.

Read on for all the tips and tricks you need to know about what you should and shouldn’t rent for your wedding.

What to Buy

The bottom line when it comes to determining if something is worth buying for your wedding is all about future use. Typically, if the item can be used again for a special occasion, or passed down, it’s worth buying. Buying items may also help to make your ceremony or reception more unique, offering more options than what a rental company offers. “This is where buying your own items may be helpful—to break out of the rental company inventory and get more custom and unique,” says Pletcher.

Wedding Day Attire

Photo by Ke-Li Photography

More often than not, you’ll want to purchase your wedding attire, whether it’s a wedding dress, jumpsuit, tux, or any other ensemble. This is such an important part of your day, and you may want to put it on for a special occasion later on!

Wedding Jewelry and Accessories

Photo by Yes Love

Your wedding jewelry and accessories may be passed down as family heirlooms. If not, purchase those important pieces. Necklaces, earrings, shoes, hairpieces, cufflinks, and ties are all on the list. These items can be used later on, or even passed down to future family members tying the knot.


Photo by Terri Baskin

From your welcome sign to direction signs, and even the cute signs at the bar, buying is the best way to go. This will ensure you get exactly what you’re hoping for, each customized with the correct wording needed.

Decorative Trees


Want to make a big splash of greenery? Bringing in live, potted trees is absolutely an option. These are tricky items to rent, as very few nurseries offer that option. Plus, if you purchase them, you can later plant the trees at your own home to continue growing after the wedding.

Ceremony Rugs

Photo by Holtz Wedding Photography

If you’re planning a beautiful altar or wooden arch, those are typically rented. Or, they may even be included with the venue. But if you’re going for a boho vibe and including rugs, consider purchasing them. These can then be incorporated in such fun ways in your home! 


Photo by Peyton Byford

Pletcher notes that chargers can often be more costly when rented versus when they’re purchased. Plus, they don’t take up too much space for storage and can be pulled out to use later. Of course, it’s important to weigh your options and find the best fit for you. If you don’t think you’ll use purchased chargers for any other occasion in the future, stick to renting.

What to Rent

Utilize rental companies for items that you won’t want to use again. This is especially useful if you’re planning a large wedding.

Table Linens, Napkins, and Runners

Photo by Alexandra Lee Photography

Ready to deck out the most beautiful tablescape? Most of the linens you plan to incorporate should be rented! Rental companies offer a wide variety of tablecloths, table runners, cloth napkins, and more in a range of colors and textures. “There are so many options and so many ways you can go,” says Pletcher.

Candle Holders and Vases

Photo by Hannah Costello

Often, adding small touches to your reception tables, bar, or other spaces can truly elevate the look. According to Pletcher, tiny details such as votives and vases typically come from a florist. You could purchase these items as well for a smaller wedding, but be sure to consider what you plan to do with them after the wedding. 

Upgraded China

Photo by Taylor and Porter

You may choose to use the options available to you at your venue already, or upgrade the china for a more unique tablescape. Choose to rent these items so you’re not stuck with plenty of plates you don’t need later on.


Photo by Pat Furey

Obsessed with the look of colored goblets? Or do you prefer classic crystal? Glassware can make a statement. Check with your venue on what might be included. Otherwise, these essentials can be rented to add a splash of color and interest. 

Tables and Chairs

Photo by Scarlet O’Neill

Tables and chairs are often included in a venue price, but that isn’t always the case. Especially if you’re choosing a more remote venue, you may have to bring in all of the furniture on your own.
Tables really set the scene, whether it’s the table itself or the linens,” says Pletcher. Even if your venue offers simple tables, consider renting another, more interesting option, if what’s provided doesn’t quite fit.


Photo by David Bastianoni

There’s no need to purchase intricate lighting to use later on. It’s meant for your wedding day! Your venue may offer lighting options, or you can work with a rental company that is familiar with your venue to plan the perfect setup.

A Beautiful Bar

Photo by Ana Hinojosa

Beautiful, statement bars are always a welcome addition to receptions. Work with a rental company to find a unique fit to match your wedding’s aesthetic. And remember, this can always be spruced up with purchased items for a custom look.

Lounge Furniture

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Setting up a lounge can be such a great addition to a reception space. Your guests will love having a space to rest their feet. Work with a rental company to find a unique couch and set of chairs to complete the look.

Dance Floor


Pletcher says the dance floor should always be rented. After all, that’s a pretty big item! You may also rent or buy items to dress it up, such as purchasing a custom vinyl cover to make it unique.

Wedding Décor Rental Tips

Choosing décor from rental companies boils down to the uniqueness of the company and its offerings. You may not be able to find exactly what you’re hoping for. “You might purchase linens if the rentals don’t match the goal aesthetic,” notes Pletcher. “Purchasing tabletop items, whether to then keep or sell afterward, is a way to have items that are not the same rental items as everyone else.”

When it comes to finding vendors for rentals, be sure to check out examples of their past work. It’s definitely a bonus if they’ve worked at your venue and know the ins and outs of the space. And if they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for in their lookbook, be sure to ask. It may still be possible they can bring it in to make your big day that much more special.

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