What to Rent vs. What to Buy for Your Wedding

June 6, 2023
By: Marquee Event Rentals

Weddings require a lot of stuff, from dresses and tablecloths to flowers and furniture.

When you start planning your big day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The world is at your fingertips, and you can find just about everything you could think of online—which is a dream come true. And today, you also have the option of renting instead of buying nearly all the items and materials needed to pull off the perfect party.

Renting vs. Buying

There are clear benefits and disadvantages to both renting and buying items for your wedding. Your choice of venue will play a significant role in what you can and cannot do, as will your theme, color palette, style, and budget.


The Pros & Cons of Buying

Buying items for your wedding means you can keep them after the wedding is over, and you get to decide what to do with them next, whether that’s reselling them, passing them on to loved ones, using them for other special events, or integrating them into your home.

At the same time, when you purchase your wedding items, you also have to store them before (and after) the wedding as well as take care of transportation to the venue(s), setting up the items, and breaking them down afterwards. Do you have the space to store everything? Who is available to help you install everything? Consider these questions before deciding to purchase your furniture, linens, dance floor, or other rentable items.

The Pros & Cons of Renting

Renting wedding items and décor means you might have a limited selection of items, and you’ll have to plan ahead to reserve what you want in advance. However, renting items also means less work scouring the internet for 25 versions of the same unique flower vase, storing boxes and boxes of string lights in your garage, setting up a massive wedding tent, scrambling for an extra plate, or staying late to break down decorations at the end of the night.


By renting, you will have these items dropped off, installed, and picked up from the venue. You will also save money in the long run by not purchasing items outright, and you don’t have to worry about storing anything or buying flatware for hundreds of people.

What to Buy for Your Wedding

Consider purchasing the wedding items you want to use again, pass down, or save for future use.

Wedding Attire & Accessories

Wedding attire—a dress, suit, or tux—is designed to fit you perfectly. Since you can’t alter a wedding dress or gown, you should purchase your wedding attire and make it yours.

Jewelry and accessories like shoes, hairpieces, cufflinks, and ties are all important pieces for your wedding day, so purchase these items. They can be passed down for future family members to enjoy or simply worn later for another special occasion.

Custom Signage

From directional signs to a welcome sign to a cocktail menu by the bar, printed signage is a gorgeous addition to your wedding décor. Buying and customizing signage for your wedding day usually requires you to buy it outright, but that means you can personalize it to your exact specifications.

You can even frame your favorite signs as a wedding memento.


Rental companies often have fake flowers for rent, but since florals are such an integral part of a wedding, buy real ones from a florist. These flowers will make up the bouquet, add to the ambiance of the event space, and take your wedding theme to the next level.

Cake Knife & Server Set

The wedding cake is a focal point of the reception. Purchase a cake knife and server set to display near the cake, and keep it as a sentimental item in the years to come.

What to Rent for Your Wedding

Renting is the best option for many of your wedding items—especially for things that don’t have sentimental value or items you won’t use again.

Table Linens & Napkins

Table linens, such as tablecloths, table runners, chair sashes, napkins, and other linens, add to your tablescape. Event rental companies have linens in a wide variety of colors, styles, materials, and textures. So, instead of buying 400 napkins you won’t have any use for after your big day, look into your rental options.

China, Chargers, Glassware, & Flatware

Gorgeous, high-quality china and glassware like chargers, plates, flatware, and other dishes are the perfect touch for a gorgeous table setup. Rent these items to find unique pieces that will wow your guests—and don’t forget to add a few extras to your tally so you don’t run out of plates if guests use more than one.

Tables & Chairs

Many venues offer tables and chairs as part of their wedding package, but that’s not always the case. If not, you’ll be responsible for bringing in and setting up all the furniture for your guests as well as taking it down after the party stops. That requires a lot of time and energy, unless you rent them instead.

However, if they do have simple chairs and tables, consider renting more interesting options that contribute to your wedding theme.


Lounge furniture, like armchairs, sofas, and ottomans, are a cozy, comfortable addition to your reception décor. Your guests will have a place to gather and rest after spending their time on the dance floor. Rent a few unique furniture pieces and have the rental company set them up in quiet corners of the venue—it’s much more affordable than buying furniture.


When you buy lighting, you are responsible for installing it before the wedding and then taking it down after the reception. If there’s an electrical issue, you’ll be in charge of fixing it.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Instead, rent chandeliers, string lights, and everything in between. You’ll get professionals to handle everything to do with the lighting and create an unforgettable atmosphere for your guests.

The Bar

Some venues have their own bar, but you’d be surprised by how many event spaces don’t come with a bar. Rent a bar that matches your wedding style and theme or even a mobile cart that will delight your guests.

The Dance Floor

The dance floor is a big part of your reception, but after the wedding is over, there’s no reason for you to keep one in storage. Instead, rent a dance floor and customize it with accessories to dress it up. You and your guests will be able to dance the night away.

The Wedding Tent

Hosting an outdoor wedding? A wedding tent will protect your guests from the sun, rain, heat, cold, wind, bugs, and pests. You can hang string lights or chandeliers inside and even install a dance floor.

There are some surprisingly cheap event tents available for purchase on the market today, but be warned: They aren’t good quality, and you’ll be responsible for setting up the tent yourself.

That’s why it’s better to rent a high-quality, premium wedding tent. Let the professionals take care of delivering, hanging, and returning it.


Small touches make all the difference, but if you won’t use the items in the future, it makes more sense to rent them. You can rent everything from candlesticks and vases to wooden arches and sculptures. These details will elevate your venue and create your dream atmosphere.

Wedding Rental Timeline

Just like you have to choose and schedule wedding vendors months in advance, we highly recommend giving wedding rental supplies plenty of notice so you can reserve exactly the items you want to rent.

Follow this wedding rental timeline to stay organized for your big day.

12 Months Before the Wedding

Start planning your wedding day by choosing a theme and booking a venue. Whether you have two separate venues for your ceremony and reception or host both events in one location, deciding on a wedding venue and date as soon as possible is key—especially because the venue will determine what items you need to rent in the first place.

If you are considering hiring help to plan your wedding, now is the time to find an experienced wedding planner.

10 Months Before the Wedding

Eight to ten months before the wedding, research local event companies and see what items they have to offer. Some organizations may have showrooms set up that you can visit and see exactly what your options are.

Reserve your rental and décor items during this time frame, ideally before the eighth month mark.

6 Weeks Before the Wedding

Six weeks to one month before the wedding, contact the rental company and schedule delivery of the items you selected.

Don’t forget to ask about installation, set up, and take down options, too. Some event vendors offer these services as part of their rental package, while others charge an additional fee. Additionally, certain types of items require electrical or power hookups, so get in touch with the venue manager and ensure the rental company will have everything they need to set things up.

The Week of the Wedding

A few days before the wedding, call each vendor and confirm arrival and pickup times. Share parking information, the day-of schedule, a floor plan layout, and the contact information of your wedding planner or a designated assistant in case of further questions. Then, everyone will have what they need to throw the perfect party.

Rent Wedding Essentials at Marquee Event Rentals

At Marquee Event Rentals, we have the finest selection of wedding rental equipment in the Midwest, including furniture, tents, and lighting. Our resources, experience, and inventory allow us to help our clients throw the wedding of their dreams, no matter the size, venue, or theme.

Every day and every event, we’re here to make your vision a reality.

Are you ready to bring your dream wedding to life? Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Photography @autumnsilvaphotography  
Venue: @watersedgedl  
Dress & Earrings: @graceandlacebrides  
Hair & Makeup: @beautiquetiffany  
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Catering: @celebrationonwells  
Chairs & Flatware: @marquee_rents  
Lounge Rentals: @parkerdrive  
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Paper Goods: @purejoyink