Some other general things to note about rentals:
If you’re not sure exactly how many guests you’re going to have (i.e., if you’re placing your order before the RSVPs are in), put your initial rental order in for the high amount. The vast majority of rental companies will let you change your order with no penalty up to about three days before delivery, which means that if you need to drop two tablecloths, it’s no problem. However, if you need to add two at the last minute? There’s a chance they’ll be entirely out of your color of choice.
Generally you’re going to pay a flat delivery and pickup fee, no matter how many items are in the order. Because of this, it’s best if you can only have one rental order, so if you want to rent specialty items, talk to your caterer or venue to see if they’re placing a rental order and you can add onto their existing order. (Note: Most catering companies don’t actually own full sets of dishes/glassware/linens; they’re renting them for every event. See: Storage.) This also makes it easier on the return side. With two orders you have to make sure things get separated appropriately and not sent back to the wrong company.
Make sure to line-item read your rental order carefully a week before the event. And maybe have someone else read it carefully too. You want to realize that they put the wrong pickup time on the order before you’ve sat around for an hour at the end of the night waiting for the truck to show up. (Um, let’s just say: personal experience.)
Have you ever wondered why most weddings feature floor length tablecloths? Standard event/rental tables are…ugly, even when they’re not beat up.
Cotton and polyester linens almost always cost the same. Cotton is always way, way nicer, so request it if you can (and make sure to request it from your caterer if they’re running your rental order).
If you don’t have someone washing racks of glassware throughout the event, you’re going to need to either order a ton of glasses (think: three per guest), or come up with a system that really gets people to only use one glass. (I recommend a mix of name tags and a clear sign at the bar asking people to please hold onto and reuse their glasses!)
Always order approximately ten extra plates/forks/knives/napkins. You may have one or two show up chipped, or have a guest drop one, or realize you forgot to include your vendors in the headcount (and they need to eat off of something!).
If you’re serving cake, don’t forget about an extra set of plates and forks to serve it on!
photo credit – Emily Elizabeth Studios