What to Rent for Your Wedding

A great wedding doesn’t just happen. A lot of pieces need to be in place. If you’re booking a banquet hall, most of those pieces are part of the package; but don’t just assume that everything is provided. Get out your checklist, and be sure you have these essentials.

Tables and chairs. Everyone knows you need dinner tables, but don’t forget your other table needs, including:

  • Cake table
  • Gift table
  • Favors table
  • Escort card table
  • DJ table
  • Dessert/coffee table
  • High-boy tables for cocktail hour
  • A table for the bar
  • Chair for your DJ

Flatware and serving utensils. You need more than just dinner plates and water glasses. You’ll also need wine glasses, Champagne glasses, coffee mugs, silverware, specialty glasses for your special drinks, various cocktail glasses, serving pitchers and heat plates. If your banquet facility doesn’t provide them, you’ll have to rent.
Floral accessories. Flowers need to be displayed properly, in vases, lanterns, candelabras, centerpieces, arches, trellises, pergolas and marble columns. Don’t assume that they’re all provided. Ask your florist and venue what they provide, even if some of the pieces are optional. Everything else is up to you.
Linens. Napkins are a primary necessity. You’ll also need tablecloths and possibly bunting for your banquet tables and other tables (see above).
A dance floor. Your guests can’t dance on carpet; and dancing on a cement floor can get pretty uncomfortable. A wood dance floor is best, even if you need to rent it. Here’s how to figure the correct size. Assume 40% of your guests will dance at any time, if you have a great DJ. And each guest needs roughly 4 1/2 square feet. So if you have 200 guests, 80 at a time will dance, so you’ll need 360 square feet.  
Power. Be sure you have an ample supply of electricity for your lights, ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and your DJ’s sound system. If your wedding is outdoors, you’ll probably need to rent a generator or two.
Restrooms. Indoor venues usually take care of that. But if your wedding is outdoors, you’ll have to rent portable toilets. Skip the cramped kind you see at festivals and construction sites. Instead, rent portable trailers that are set up with spacious men’s and women’s rooms, complete with vanities and mirrors.
Comfy furniture. Those banquet chairs aren’t comfortable enough for long, late night conversation. You or your venue will need to provide lounge furniture, whether it’s patio furniture or those wonderful overstuffed chairs and love seats. Don’t forget armchairs, coffee tables, and maybe a few Persian or Oriental rugs.
Tents. An essential for an outdoor wedding. A tent provides shade on a hot day, and an alternative ceremony site if it rains. It also serves as the focal point of your wedding. The best tents have side flaps that protect against high winds. Don’t forget enhancements like a clear roof, a marquis entrance, piping and draping, fabric pole covers and so forth.
Ideally, you should reserve your rentals about three months before the wedding. Once you have all the pieces in place for a great party, just add people.  

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© Fourth Estate Audio, 2015 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.  

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