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  • Writer's pictureEmily Gustafson

When to buy and when to rent for your wedding?

Photo courtesy of Brittany Conner Photography

We've all felt the excitment of looking at spectacular Pinterest photos and breaking down exactly what it would take to create that stunning, usual look for your wedding decor. Maybe it's your signature shade of pink, or peacock feather, or handwoven baskets. But there's something in that unique decor style that captures your attention, and your mind is made up! You're ready to do whatever it takes to make your decor dream come true - even if it means you buy 1/3 of Hobby Lobby's current inventory. Here are my two cents on the issue, based on years of working with couples and seeing what happens to all that "dream decor" once the big day passes.

But before you run out the door with coupons in hand, take a moment to consider the question of "should I buy this or can I rent this?" "Can I create my dream decor without laying waste to the wedding budget?" These are the questions that we address today.

Every decor item in this photo is a rental! Photo courtesy of Brittany Conner, rentals by Anderson Party Rental

First let's talk about why this issue matters. Why is it a big deal to buy 45 glass bottles for your centerpieces? Well, for a lot of couples getting married, they see something that they desperately want to replicate and rather than ask their planner, venue, floral designer, or event rentals company if that kind of inventory is available from them, they head out and purchase items like this, and MANY, MANY more. And for some people, it makes sense. If they are purchasing items that they know will have a usage after the wedding in their own business or if they have a buyer already in place for these items once they are no longer needed for wedding decorations, then go forth and purchase. I give you my blessing.

However, sometimes, quite often actually, this stuff becomes a burden after the wedding. It fills up your closets and your parents' garage with things that you don't really need or want in your house and don't know what to do with it. Or worst case scenario, you throw hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars away in items that go straight to goodwill when you're finished with them after one day's use.

Also keep in mind that you're going to get back roughly 35% of what you paid when you resell them. So, you might recoup some of your money, but you'll still be out the bulk of your investment.

Ok, now that we've identified a potential issue, let's come up with some solutions and tips to help you make the rent/buy descision wisely. Here's a little list of things I think are important to remember as you scroll through those incredible Pinterest boards of yours.

Florals by Samuel Franklin, Photography by Brittany Conner

1) Pinterest is meant to be aspirational. Photographers, floral designers, wedding planners, etc, we tend to post the largest most not run-of-the-mill photo shoots, arrangements and set-ups possible. Often times they're staged shoots where we elaborately decorate one or a few tables to the max for the beauty of the shoot. This can sometimes create unreal expectations of what is feasible to do on 25 tables. I recently shot this summer and our table had three large arragements and five small ones. That's several hundreds of dollars on a single table. Along with candelabras, accessories, specialty linens, you get the point - it was big! It was aspirational. Would I suggest going over the top in this way for a real-life wedding? Not unless you have a $25,000 floral budget. The point is, much of what is on Pinterest is not meant to be real life. It's meant to give you an idea of what's possible and then work with your design team (planner, floral design, rentals) to make it realistic.

Now, this is not me raining on your parade. We will create an absolutely SPECTACULAR space for your wedding and reception. It will have the vibe that you want, I promise. But, it's the job of a good planner to show clients every option and make their money go further for them. Which brings me to my next important point...

Cake by Kimmie's Kitchen, florals by Samuel Franklin, accent/cake table and linens are in my rental inventory. Photography by Brittany Conner

2) You can rent almost anything. Really! If you work with a planner or an event styling company, they will assist you in finding what you need. Often, it's a question of calling around and getting the inside scoop from event rentals companies. If you request something, they will do everything that they can to track it down for you. And often, your venue will have a collection of items available for your use also. Don't forget to ask what items are included with your venue rental! You might be pleasantly surprised to find that many of those items you were about to buy are available (and possibly included in what you've already paid) through one of your contracted vendors. Yes, it takes a few extra phone calls, but it can save you hundreds of bucks that can go towards something else. If you need some help making those phone calls, that's where a planner comes in!

Florals by Samuel Franklin, rentals by Anderson party rentals, photography by Brittany Conner

3. Buy things that can become a special part of your home. A custom, live wedding painting. A sign from your reception with your names and wedding date, a table that you intend to use in your home daily - these are examples of good things to purchase. Perhaps you want to buy a special set of candle holders, or a beautiful vase that will be on your cake table and then sit on your mantle in your living room - these are more great reasons to buy. But, what's important is that each of these items has an immediate place or use in your home. You don't want to buy an item without any idea of where it's headed after the reception is over. If the items will become a burden to you after your wedding, then it might be time to rent.

Florals by Samuel Franklin, photography courtesy of Brittany Conner

3) Bottom line, communicate before you buy. A design meeting with your wedding planner is a great first step to discuss the colors, styling, and overall feeling of that decor that you love. You planner will them start putting the wheels in motion to help you choose whether renting of buying is the most prudent choice for you. It's easy to drop a lot of money on purchasing decor items that could go to more beautiful flowers, a menu upgrade at the reception, or that really sassy pair of heels. Remember that there are lots of options available for procuring your decor items and talk to your planner before you purchase.

I hope that this little discussion sheds some light on all of the options available. Get in touch with me if you have any questions, I'd love to help!

Happy planning,

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