Go-To Guide: How to Book Wedding Rentals
By David Darby with Rent-E-Quip
“How far in advance do I need to book my rentals?” might be one of the most-asked questions that rental companies receive. It’s the perfect question to start with! Some rental items are one-of-a-kind while others are stocked by the thousands, so with all this variation, when do you reserve what?
First things first, season matters. If you are having your wedding in the spring or autumn in Virginia you are within “wedding season.” This is when the majority of couples get married and inventory is in higher demand than the summer and winter. If your date falls within this time frame you may want to book further ahead of time.
12 – 8 Months Out
Beat the crowd. After you book your venue and caterer you are able to accurately assess what additional items you may need to rent. Does your venue have a fully stocked kitchen or do you need an oven? Is it an indoor venue or will you need tenting? Some venues are all-inclusive and only require minor aesthetic rentals, while some are more like a perfect backdrop in which you need to bring in the majority of the items.
The rentals you should prioritize booking are specialty items that are only stocked in limited quantities. Lighting and tents are typically a top priority and should be something you lock in early. These items are essential to your space and the choice between different styles of lighting or tents can define the theme of your wedding. A sailcloth tent is going to create a vastly different mood than a clear tent, and many other services are going to depend on choices like this. You would typically use different lighting methods for each of these tents and each type offers different attachment points for both lighting and florals.
This is also the time to book your statement pieces. Are you looking for that perfect archway? Or maybe custom manufactured wooden poles for your tent? Don’t forget the fabulous chairs that make the room pop! Get these booked before everyone else!
8 – 6 Months Out
Life is good! You have your guest count narrowed down to an approximate number and are working on your first layouts. At this point, you want to have a general style in mind. This is going to help when reserving tables, chairs, dance floors, and all the other hard goods for your wedding. These items are going to be the core of your space, where your guests sit, where the food is served, and so on. Having a style in mind will help you make choices between various rental items. Would you rather have bare wood tables or beautiful linens? Would you want rustic-style chairs or something more modern? When determining how many tables and chairs to rent a good rule of thumb is to reserve for your highest estimate guest count and then back the numbers down after you start getting RSVPs.
6 – 4 Months Out
It’s getting real! You’re just a few months out and your vision is coming together. Your Pinterest board is full and invitations are about to be mailed. By now you are refining your style and are ready to choose your tabletop items and decor. Schedule an appointment with your wedding rental vendor, get in the showroom, and start mixing and matching! You’ll want to determine your ideal plates, flatware, glassware, linens, and napkins at this point in time. This is the perfect time to see your vision come to life and get a glance at how your full space is going to look and feel. It is also common to bring your planner and florist to these meetings to make sure the items you picked compliment the rest of your decor.
4 – 2 Weeks Out
Your wedding is right around the corner! You have RSVPs back in hand and it’s time to refine your orders. Hopefully, this involves slightly lowering quantities of tables, chairs, and place settings. Remember, it is always better to reserve higher than your estimated guest count and reduce quantities than to reserve for less and scramble to find additional items last minute. At this point, you also want to further refine your delivery and installation time windows. Once that is done you can kick back and relax!
We know it sounds overwhelming, but your rental professionals will be there to help. Getting these big decisions squared away early will leave you at ease and relaxed as you start your wedding planning.
David Darby is a Wedding and Event Specialist at Rent-E-Quip, an award-winning, full-service rental company based out of Colonial Heights and serving all of Central Virginia. Be sure to visit Rentequip.org, Instagram at @rentequipva, or call 804-520-7100 to get in touch!