From the ceremony to the dinner table, your wedding guests will spend a good portion of the day sitting in a chair. The quest to find perfect seats for dozens of people—ones that are budget-friendly, comfortable, and visually appealing—often leads brides to a wedding rental service. Before placing an order, read our guide on everything you need to know about renting chairs.
The Basics of Renting Chairs
First and foremost, a couple needs to determine how many chairs they need to order for the big bay. You'll need seating for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, so if your venue comes without any seating, think about rentals for all three parts of the day. For the ceremony, rent one chair for every seated guest plus five- or ten-percent extra to make sure all couples and families can find seats near each other. Cocktail hour requires fewer chairs, since most guests will stand and mingle, but still provide sufficient seating for older guests, children, and women needing a reprieve from uncomfortable shoes. During the reception, all guests require a chair for dinner and dessert. To slash rental costs, you can use one set of chairs for the ceremony and reception if both parts of the day take place at the same venue.
Details and Designs
You might be surprised to discover the wide array of seating options available at rental companies, from antique upholstered dining chairs to wooden bar stools. Most chairs also come in several different colors and materials, like plastic, wood, and metal. Some of the most popular styles of wedding chairs include chiavari chairs, folding chairs, ghost chairs, Versailles chairs, cross-back chairs, bentwood chairs, and marais-style chairs. Aside from availability and functionality, your wedding theme and desired aesthetic should determine the exact style of chair you choose. For example, wooden folding chairs work for a rustic lodge wedding, while elegant white seats with a cross-back designs better complement a garden setting.
Oftentimes, the chairs you rent for a wedding will be plain and simple. That understated style may match some wedding themes, but many couples opt to decorated their chairs with sashes, ribbons, covers, or bows. In addition to serving as a décor element, accessories can effortlessly transition seating from the ceremony to the reception. These special decorations also dress up special chairs—like the bride's and groom's chairs or reserved seats at the ceremony—to help them stand out. Most rental companies supply these linens for an additional cost. Call the company or check its website for exact details on pricing and availability.
The Rental Process
When renting chairs for a wedding, start searching for rental companies four to six months before the big day. Working in advance will guarantee your desired chairs won't already be reserved, and you'll have time to plan logistics with the company. Before settling on a renter, figure out the company's policies, confirming whether or not the company will deliver the chairs to the venue, help set everything up, and remove the rentals after the wedding, and at what additional cost. Keep in mind that delivery and set-up often cost extra, or at least require a minimum order cost. As an alternative, a bride and groom can pick up the rentals themselves at a supply house.
Pricing and Policies
Most of the time, the couple will pay a deposit on the chairs—sometimes as much as 50% of the total rental cost. Then, in addition to delivery and setup fees, a bride and groom need to pay for the chairs themselves. The cost will depend on the style of chair and the company, but expect to shell out anywhere from $1 for a simple non-padded folding chair to $8 for an elegant chiavari chair. Accessories like sashes, covers, and ribbons create additional costs; plan on $3-$5 for each chair cover and about $1-$3 for each sash and ribbon. Broken or damaged chairs typically require additional fees upon pickup. By understanding a company's policies and prices, you'll be able to enjoy your beautiful wedding seating without worry.