Unless they've booked a full-service wedding venue, most couples have to rent items for their wedding, like tables, chairs, linens, tents, dinnerware, and lighting. Although most brides and grooms often factor the cost of borrowing furniture and décor into their budget, they rarely plan for the entire cost. Why? Because there are a handful of unexpected charges associated with rentals, and couples are often surprised that their total rental cost is considerably higher than planned. Here are a handful of "hidden" rental costs to be aware of, and how to prevent them from causing your bill to skyrocket.
Set-Up and Delivery Fees
When booking rentals, the cost of items seems simple enough: $8 per table runner, $4 per chair, $1.50 per napkin, and so forth. Most companies have a deposit for renting items, which usually costs around 50% of the total rental fee. But they also charge extra for delivery, setup, and cleaning of the borrowed items. According to Ann King of Borrow Vintage & Eclectic Rentals in Cleveland, Ohio, "delivery charges can range from a fixed dollar amount of $50 up to a percentage of the rental." While some companies include setup and cleaning in their delivery fee, others will only drop off the items and leave—meaning the couple would likely need to pay an extra charge (usually up to $500) for setup and cleaning.
Special Delivery Requests
The timeline of rental delivery also affects the fees. King says that same-day drop-off and pickup usually garner additional charges, as does needing something dropped off at a very specific time. "Almost every time you require a night-of pickup, you will also see additional charges, and these can range in price from $150 to $350 depending on the company and date," she says. If a couple returns the rentals late, they may also have to pay an additional fee, depending on the policy. To prevent surprise costs, always ask the rental company exactly what's included in the delivery beforehand.
With all of your guests drinking and partying at the reception, an accident or two is bound to happen, and you may end up with stained linens, broken chair legs, or scratched tables. "There are two types of damages we see often to our furniture rentals," says King. "The first is damage to upholstery by water (items left in the rain) or spills. The second is nicks and scrapes to our wooden tables and chairs usually caused by items being moved." Since these damages are common, many companies charge extra for damage waivers or an Equipment Protection Plan (EPP), which can add $25 to $75 to your overall cost, depending on the plan. The damage waivers typically cover anything that requires additional labor or causes damages the product—whether it's stickers and wax on a tablecloth linen or food stained to the glassware. Some companies charge extra for missing, lost, or severely damaged items. Always make sure to understand the policies and fees before reserving rentals with a company to prevent any unforeseen costs.