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Renting vs. Buying Wedding Décor: How to Know Which Option Is Worth It for You?

Don't buy the chairs. You might want to buy the chandelier though.

Contributing Writer
caitlin amit wedding outdoor lounge
Photography by: Sally Pinera

As you start planning your wedding, you should be prepared to make a number of different design decisions. Although these are certainly some of the more exciting details to finalize, there are a number of logistical questions related to décor that can feel more overwhelming. One such example: Should we rent or buy our wedding décor? When it comes to things like glassware, vintage plates, or even lounge furniture, renting is nearly always the more affordable option. However, there are some occasions when buying décor makes more sense. Here, we discuss how to decide which option is right for you.

 

Related: Wedding Décor: When to Customize and When to Refrain

 

Rent: If you're trying to keep costs to a minimum.

Because it's usually more affordable to rent decorative items than to purchase them, any couple who's trying to keep costs down should research prices at local rental companies. As an added bonus, renting decorative items is the more eco-friendly option. Event designer Nicole Sillapere, owner of Sillapere Design and Production, says she likes to use rentals "as a way of keeping costs in check and keeping an event's environmental impact to a minimum." You can think of the event rental industry as a champion for re-use.

 

Rent: If you're looking for an easier option.

Whether you're bringing in vintage flatware, modern ceramics, or cozy lounge furniture, renting is without a doubt the easiest option. Once you select what you like, your rental company will deliver the items and may even offer setup services. After the event, you don't have to clean, wash, or launder anything—simply send it back, or organize a pick-up through your vendor. Plus, rentals are made to handle a little wear and tear, so you don't have to worry about your crowd treating every last detail of your reception with care.

 

Related: Wedding Planners Tell All: The Big-Day Details You Should Splurge (or Save!) On

 

Buy: If you're looking to have wedding keepsakes.

If you're thinking about buying decorative pieces for your wedding, it's worth consider whether or not you'll be able to use them in some way after the wedding. Assuming the answer is yes, it could be worth the expense. "I commissioned a wonderful artist to crochet a butterfly and heart themed tallit for a client's butterfly themed wedding a few years ago and they now have it hanging over their bed," Sillapere says. The same goes for vintage dinnerware and glassware. Pretty coupe glasses and floral dessert plates are items you could certainly use again, so long as you have the space to store them.

 

Buy: If you want something customized.

While things like glassware and tabletop rentals aren't easily customized, you may be able to rent and return things like linens that are made to suit your design needs. Emarie Van Galio of La Tavola Fine Linens says, "I love the idea of DIY napkins as special favors for guests, but if you don't have time to do something labor intensive like that, having a fun patterned napkin or our custom monogram napkins adds a special touch that you don't have to spend hours making yourself."

 

Buy: If the item can fill another need in your life.

Sillapere usually recommends clients purchase their decorative details if it's something that can also fill a need in their home or business. Rather than thinking short-term and just about the wedding, she encourages couples to consider whether or not there's anything they could use in their everyday life. For example, building customize tables may sound like an extravagance for a wedding, but she once worked with clients who owned a winery and needed tables for tastings, so the cost was reasonable since they could use them again for work. You can think smaller scale, too. If you're planning on displaying family photos at the wedding, purchasing frames you could then use for a gallery wall of wedding pictures is worth the price tag.