I recently met with a bride who had a tight budget and was having a hard time deciding if she should rent from me or buy certain items herself. It's definitely a valid question, and I appreciated her honesty! I'm not going to be one of those people who tell you 'it's the most special day of your life, you shouldn't worry about money'. That's crazy, and it will cause you to start your marriage with financial stress. You don't want that, and I don't want that for you. However I realize that when you are looking at your list of wedding expenses you may be hoping to find every creative way possible to get the wedding you are dreaming about.
So I thought I would share a few practical reasons why I think you should rent decor for your wedding. I could call this "Seven Ways I Can Help You Save Time and Money On Your Wedding" or "A List Of Ways To Reduce Wedding Planning Stress" (or even "This Is What I Do And Why My Hair Is Always Frizzy" but that sounds crazy).
1. Shopping Time - I spend time each week searching for new (okay, old!) inventory. Some weeks I'm successful, some weeks I'm not. I recently needed a black skirt for my daughter. I went EVERYWHERE and could not find it. A week later - when I no longer needed it? - you guessed it, the black skirt was in every store. Vintage shopping can be like that - you may not find everything you are searching for on time or maybe that eBay item won't be exactly what you were hoping. Or you could spend that time doing other wedding related tasks and leave the shopping to me. If you are looking for a specific item, let me know. I may have it, I may know where to get it - and it will save you time from running around.
2. Space - Storing items for a year or two takes space. Space free from water damage, dirt, pests. Do you have an empty dry basement or garage/barn to store items in? Will you be okay with a pile of boxes in your family room for the next 18 months? If you want a lounge set up at your reception, it's almost the equivalent of a full room of furniture. I store the inventory and make sure it is cleaned and repaired as needed prior to your wedding. You are welcome to stop by and touch it, photo it, gaze lovingly on the sofa as many times as you want without having to trip over it for the next several months.
3. Organization - Once your wedding arrives you'll realize some of your decor will need to go to the reception location and some of it will need to go to the ceremony. Do you want to spend the week before your wedding sorting through boxes to make sure everything is organized? My clients know once they've selected their items, inventory will be delivered to the right locations for the right event. You can contact me to change your layout up to 24 hours prior to your setup and I'll have it sorted and organized for you.
4. Transportation - Moving large amounts of decor takes large vehicles or small vehicles with many trips. Do you have an easy way to move all your decor? Do you have time in your schedule for lining up items, loading them in, driving to the ceremony location, unloading, setting the items up, driving to the reception, unloading, and setting the items up? It does take time and effort but again, you won't even need to consider all those things - let me know when and where you want the items, I will make sure your items are delivered without any effort from you.
5. Set Up - As I alluded to above, the day before your wedding you can spend hours decorating your wedding, or you can spend hours relaxing with your bridesmaids and walk into a fully decorated ceremony and reception. Some people love to decorate and want to experience that the weekend of their wedding as well. My suggestion would be to pick one area (family photos, guestbook, dessert table) to decorate personally, and use wedding pros for the remaining areas. You would do a wonderful job, but you don't want to spend the day before your wedding standing in your reception hall stressed because someone keeps asking you where the scissors can be found. Once you've provided me with a layout, I can place each item exactly where you've specified. When you (or other vendors) walk into your venue, it will be exactly as we discussed, and you can immediately see your vision for your wedding come to life.
6. Clean Up - After you've said your vows, after the DJ has stopped the music - what do you want to do? You are going to be amazingly happy - ecstatic even! - walking on clouds with your true love. Do you want to tell your guests goodbye and then walk out to your car to get boxes so you can clear off the reception tables and pack up your decor? I actually did this at my own wedding and it has been a huge regret of mine! If there's gravy on an easel, I clean it up (this has happened). If walnut oil has dripped onto a sofa, I take care of it (this has also happened). The truth is, once your wedding is over, you don't want to clean anything up. And although your mom may volunteer, you really don't want her to do it either. Many reception locations want the venue emptied by, say, midnight after your wedding. Do you have a plan for transporting all your decor back to another location and then going through the load/unload/transport/unload process again? What you really want is to say goodbye to your friends and family and drive off into the sunset (or starlight!) and not think about your wedding decor at all until you admire your photographs later. When your venue needs your inventory removed, I'll come on schedule to clean it up, pick it up, and transport it without you lifting a finger.
7. Cost - I saved this one for last, because I know a reader is thinking "But that all costs money and I can resell anything I buy!" It's possible, but remember 1. renting IS cheaper than buying and 2. that reselling decor could take time. When you are ready to start moving to the next phase (newlyweds!) of your relationship, you'll still be winding up tasks from your wedding. Writing 300 thank you notes is simple but SO time consuming! You will again be dealing with boxes of decor sitting around your (newlywed!) house, as you wait for buyers to pick them up, as you look for boxes to ship, as you find out if your brother's-coworker's-sister's-niece still wants them. It's also possible that after you factor in all the points I listed above, buying-to-resell doesn't save any money after all.
Weddings are a wonderful, happy, beautiful time - but in this Pinterest-everything era, some couples can get excited about creating their wedding without realizing the time and effort that may result when they decide to do it all themselves. I hope this list gave you some points to consider and if you have any questions you will let me know!