When to Rent Wedding Decor and When to Buy It

Photo: Kristyn Hogan

When you're spending so much money on a single day, it can be tempting to buy everything you need for your wedding to curb the feeling of you're throwing away your money. But some things are simply better to rent. How's a bride-to-be supposed to know the difference?

First, before you buy anything, says Jesse Tombs, managing partner at Alison Events, ask yourself three very important questions: How many of each item do you need; will you be able to sell the item or must you keep it after the wedding day; and can the item be used for a gift at a later date? Beyond that, Tombs says, follow these guidelines for items that are black-and-white rent-or-buy.

3 Items You Should Always Rent

1. Table linens. Not only are linens expensive to buy, says Tombs, but “they are a pain to clean, fold, press, and store. Renting linens is the smartest way to go, because they come pressed and ready to use.” And after the wedding, they go right back to the vendor, with no cleanup or storage required.

2. Tuxedos. Says Tombs, “I don't own a tux, because I only wear one, two, or three times a year.” If a wedding planner who regularly attends swanky fetes doesn't own a tux, that should tell you that you don't have to either. Renting your day-of attire ensures it will arrive a “few days before your event ready to go, and will look great and be pressed.”

3. Votive candle holders. “Buying simple glass candle votive holders may seem like a great investment,” Tombs commiserates, “but what are you going to do with 300 wax-covered glass votive holders after your wedding? Are you ever going to use them again? Is it worth the minimum savings to have them for keeps? Renting them is cost effective and allows you to not have to worry about clean up and storing them.”

3 Items You Should Always Buy

1. Napkins or table runners. While purchasing all your linens might be madness, buying the smallest fabric items may save you money. “Depending on how large your guest count is, buying these may be less expensive than renting them and you can use them again,” says Tombs. “They don't take up a bunch of room, and you can get something that is truly custom and one-of-a-kind. You can keep them and use them for holidays for years to come.”

2. Jewelry and accessories. Admits Tombs, “I don't get these celebrities who borrow jewelry for their wedding days. Don't you want to own the necklace you wore on your wedding day? I know I would.” Sure, not everyone can afford a $1 million bauble, but you can “buy something you can afford, treasure it forever for its sentimental value, and let it become part of your family heritage,” says Tombs. “That has so much more meaning in my book!”

3. Custom wedding signage. While you can rent generic signs to point guests in the direction of your ceremony, reception, and more, creating something custom ensures you have something you can hang on your walls forever. “Last year, we had a client who created a custom a neon sign that now hangs on a wall in their living room,” says Tombs. “It's something you can keep forever to remember your big day!”

This article was written by Jillian Kramer for Brides.com.

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