Surprising Things You Can Rent for Your Wedding

wooden table string light outside wedding reception setup
Photo: Jessica Rieke Photography

In recent years, event rentals have become anything but generic. From unique fabrics to fashion-forward furnishings, vendors loan out all manner of stylish finds to help couples create a magical mood. Best of all, they'll generally ship their pretty goods nationwide. The hard part, then, isn't deciding what to rent or how to get it to your wedding location—it's giving the gorgeous pieces back.

To help you navigate the rental process and determine which items to choose, we've tapped several experts. Their biggest piece of advice? Don't get caught up in what your venue has to offer. "While it's lovely to have an inclusive package, there may be opportunities for upgrades that will make your event stand out from the others," says Danielle Mitchell of La Tavola.

That's the thing about rentals—they can make your big-day dreams come true, without the commitment of a one-time purchase. "Many wedding venues are ripe for customization," says Mitchell. "Bringing in an upgraded linen, lounge, or stemware can help make the venue more suited to your design and aesthetic, truly making your big day one of a kind." Ahead, you'll find a list of wedding essentials that you likely never knew you could rent. From stages to next-level glassware, there's no shortage of accessible and impactful items to choose from.

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Unique Lighting

hanging lanterns over white and yellow reception tablescape
Rebecca Yale Photography

Chances are, you'll want your reception to carry well into the evening. So, what happens when the sun goes down on your big day? That's where lighting comes in. Many rental companies offer a selection of unique options to light your reception—that's why Mitchell suggests picking something that will fit right into your wedding's aesthetic. "There are so many wonderful and diverse rental options out there now that you can truly carry your look and feel throughout," she says.

02 of 11


anika max wedding lounge pillows seating with floral arrangements
A Fist Full of Bolts

According to Jesse Tombs of Alison Events, it's important that your wedding space feels "lived in" and cozy. To create that feeling, Tombs recommends renting pillows for your lounge area. "Renting pillows for a sofa or side chair that already exists in your reception space is a great and cost-effective way to make the lounge feel more custom and unique to your wedding day," he explains.

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Side or Coffee Tables

outdoor balcony wedding lounge area
Gianluca Adovasio

Another way to make your lounge space feel like home? Rent a side or coffee table, adds Tombs. The reason? Not only can guests set their drinks on them, but they're also great for personalizing your space. "We like our events to feel lived-in, cozy, and inviting," he says. "A great way to do this is to add personal photos of the couple in unusual places, like on the side table of a lounge vignette or the coffee table." Adding personal photos will make for an even more unique and sentimental space.

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Chairs or Benches

chaise at head of the table
KT Merry

While your event may already come equipped with chairs and benches, Tombs says it might be worth paying a little extra for rentals you love. "I also always suggest upgrading any standard folding chairs or banquet room reception chairs that a venue or hotel might provide at little to no cost," he explains. "Renting a different chair or bench for your ceremony and reception will make your event feel unique and more custom-tailored to your wedding day."

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thick natural wood chargers
Sara Corona

When it comes to tabletop rentals, Courtney Nelson of Pineapple Productions says small details, like chargers, shouldn't be overlooked. "These days there are so many options for tabletop items," she says. "The sky is truly the limit." Because there are so many choices for table settings, Nelson highly suggests mixing and matching so you achieve your ideal aesthetic.

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lauren alex wedding bar outdoors
Sposto Photography

According to Nelson, one of the pros of renting is that it allows you to include items that are beyond what your venue owns or offers. If your indoor or outdoor location doesn't have a bar, for example, a rental company can provide you with one. However, Nelson also says it's important to take the floorplan of your event into consideration when renting one of these big-scale items. "I think it's important to have an overall design direction for the event before selecting rentals," she says. "Floor plans and solidified design concepts bring context to rental decisions and can help ensure aesthetic and stylistic cohesion."

07 of 11


molly josh wedding place setting
Kati Rosado Photography

Although silverware may be one of the last things you think about for your reception design, it's still important to consider, says Mitchell. Though your venue will likely offer up their flatware, you may want to consider finding rentals that better suit your vision if you're going for a specific vibe (think vintage or bohemian themes).

08 of 11


wedding cocktail
Koby Brown

Much like flatware, your venue may already have its own stemware—but if you're looking for something beyond standard glassware, like colorful options or vintage-style glasses, you will likely need to rent.

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Specialty Linens

jamie and michael wedding reception tables
Sally Pinera

Linens are probably one of the most important elements to consider when designing your reception tables, says Mitchell. "They are the canvas that the rest of the design is built around, so it's best to source linens after furniture but before tabletop and floral design starts," she explains. The types of materials you choose may also affect the overall feel of the reception table. "Even the tiniest details, like having a cotton cocktail napkin instead of a paper one, will make an impact on the guest's experience," she says. "A velvet napkin feels rich and decadent; a linen napkin feels light and airy. Touch as a sense is just as important to the sights, sounds, and smells of an event."

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Band Stages

bessie john wedding band singing
Jose Villa

Whether your entertainment of choice is a DJ or a live band, they will probably need a stage to ensure all your guests can see them. If your venue doesn't come with one, add a stage to your rental list.

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wedding plant wall white roses
Amilia James

Planning on having a photo booth on your big day? Backdrops for this fun detail can be rented, as well. From living walls to a more classic structure, rental companies offer plenty of options. Additionally, Nelson says these backdrops can also cover up problematic spots in your venue. "Faux walls or draping can visually change a space or hide back-of-house or unsightly areas, and façades can transform a tent or indoor space into something entirely new," she says.

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