Ahhh, the ubiquitous wedding checklist. If you’re planning a (big outdoor?) large wedding, we hope you have a wedding planner to manage it for you.
If not, take heart in the comfort of knowing there are a lot of quality sources to pull it off without a hitch.
Wedding Safety in the Age of COVID
COVID-19 is wrecking big planned celebrations everywhere.
While we hate that with a passion, we’re absolutely not advocating that you throw a big wedding during these dangerous times. The safety of your guests, support staff, yourselves, the community at large- pretty much everyone, has never been more important.
That said, if you’ve postponed your big day then why not use that extra time for planning? A good thing to come from a bad situation. The circumstances may have convinced you that when the time is right, taking your venue outdoors is a better plan.
That’s why we’ve put together this can’t-miss essential list of items to rent for your outdoor wedding.
Wedding Rental Staples
Hopefully you’ve done a little homework on what is best to rent vs purchase. If not, take a gander at our buying guide to help you decide, then come on back here to learn more about renting swag.
1. Rent a Tent
In these bizarre days of COVID-19, outdoor weddings are more popular than ever. In some places, they’re required by law if you have a large wedding party. (More on this in a minute.)
You don’t need us to tell you that having a tent just in case is non-negotiable. Yet it’s not as simple as simply throwing up a tent, et voila, you’re good.
Here are some basic things your tent should feature:
- Rain gutters
- Pole covers or canopy drapes
- Decorated marquee entrance
- Clear sides (if preferred)
- Separate tents for catering and anyone else who needs more space
2. Dance Floor
Dance floors can be rented if your venue doesn’t already include one. Tally your guest list and ask your rental company what they recommend.
Industry standard is usually 4-5 feet per guest, but you’ll have to assume your uncle and the best man will probably have a b-boy battle at some point. You may want to measure generously!
Don’t forget the stage for entertainers, and a custom backdrop for a photo space if that’s on the agenda.
For some, this is the most important part of the night.
Whether you’re going for the full gamut of beer and wine, or non-alcoholic cocktail options, it’s about the libations and the gathering space.
People tend to congregate around the bar. Choose wisely when it comes to style, space, and service (or none if you create a DIY bar situation). Whatever makes for a friendly drinking situation.
Oh, and the cardinal rule? Assume everyone will drink way more than you anticipate.
There’s no bigger buzzkill than running out of drinks. If you purchase your own alcohol, you can take it home after the shindig, or divvy it up between the members of your bridal party if you’re feeling generous.
4. Tables and Chairs for Everyone
The reason we emphasize ‘everyone’ here is because sometimes the plan for seating is based on the guest list alone.
Don’t forget about your musicians, catering staff, and anyone else who may need to take a seat and get off their feet at some point.
The same goes for tables. Designate a table for favors, gifts/cards, the cake(s), etc.
5. Furniture for Lounging
We love the less formal, social area idea to include in a wedding space. If you’ve ever been to a wedding with big round dining tables only, you’ll know that can be awkward to communicate over.
Set up a little space reminiscent of a family room complete with sofas, chairs, benches, coffee and/or end tables. Many companies offer decorative touches such as fancy pillows and some really neat lighting options to make it extra cozy. Speaking of lighting…
6. Don’t Forget the Generator
When hosting an outdoor wedding, you may not have a choice except to use a generator. Even if your venue does have a power source, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
Think very carefully about all of the things you need power for beyond lighting:
- A PA system for toasts to the bride and groom
- And more
Being stuck without power is almost as bad as running out of drinks.
One wedding Love & Lavender planned at a beautiful old castle venue in Ireland ended in flames, literally. The power source got overloaded and a fire in the engine room ensued. Thanks centuries old castle without adequate power!
Long story short, we had to hastily move the entire party to one of the nearby buildings on the grounds. If we had a backup generator on hand, we likely could have stuck with our Plan A for the wedding reception festivities!
7. Flatware, Dinnerware, and Barware
We don’t have to tell you to provide guests with things to eat, drink, and be merry. Depending upon your caterers, they may insist you rent theirs, or choose from an affiliate company.
If they do let you rent your own, don’t be afraid to get really different. Colorful stemware or vintage/retro-themed bar and flatware is super neat to include as well as unique dinnerware.
Don’t even get us started on the cool things you can do with chargers and cake stands!
8. Linens and Napkins
These usually include items such as:
- Table runners
- Table skirts
- Chair covers
Depending upon your style and theme, you may choose to omit some or add other touches, like fabrics to decorate the ceiling of your tent, for instance.
Don’t forget to plan insurance into your budget for linens that get stained or damaged, and delivery and pick-up.
Flowers are so impactful at a wedding, it’s really not a stretch to say that visually speaking, they’re the icing on the cake.
TheKnot has a great article full of tips on how to handle the flower situation for your wedding. Also, how much you can expect to pay for your flowers and essentials such as vases, centerpieces, and candle holders.
Hint: probably a lot. We have a trick or two to help take the sting out of that price later in this article.
10. A Word On Restrooms
If you’re having an outdoor wedding without access to indoor facilities, renting restroom trailers is a must. Of course, we’re not talking “port-a-potty” here. You’d be amazed at the number of options available for restroom trailers with plenty of space and accoutrements.
As you can imagine, the fancier the trailer, the higher the price tag.
You’ll need to budget in things like how many trailers you’ll need to accommodate the size of your guest list, delivery, set up, and pick up.
It’s not like you can go without them. Pardon the pun.
Ways to Save Without Sacrificing Style
Harness The Infinite Expanse Of The Web
- Create your own free wedding website where your guests can find updates, communications, leave RSVP’s, and registry information. It’s a great way to save some dough on communications you may have ordinarily sent through the mail, and your guests will be happy for the convenience.
We suggest Minted for wedding websites.
- If you can, skip the wedding planner and use a site that offers planning tools like checklists, budgeting, timelines, guest lists, and much more.
- Put social media to work for you. Instagram, FaceBook, even LinkedIn are great places to seek out up-and-coming talent for your DJ or band, photographers, etc.
- Use web-based companies like Wedit. They are an extremely creative (and less expensive) option for visually documenting your celebration and sharing it with your guests. Again, they’ll thank you for the convenience, and you’ll love the finished product.
Do The Best You Can With What You’ve Already Got
- Put your flowers on double duty from ceremony to reception. Ask your florist for options, chances are they’ll have an ingenious trick or two for making that happen.
- Strategic linen use can be a game changer when it comes to saving a buck or two. Consider using the most quality pieces like table dressings and draped chairs for areas where your guests will be dining and drinking the most. For the cake or gift tables, go for the less expensive options.
If you’ve got the time and inclination, you can also purchase and resell your linens. Minted.com sells some beautiful, independently designed linens that you’ll have zero problems finding some takers for.
Go green and cut back on your printed items. Limiting your number of programs to one per party to share, consider ordering all of your printed items at once to cut down on printing fees, and reconsider how you spend money on cardstock and extras like envelope liners.
Many are opting for RSVP postcards instead of traditional cards to cut down on spending as well, and TBH, some of them couldn’t be cuter.
No two weddings are alike, and the things on our list are just suggestions for common things people need to pull off their weddings without a hitch. (Or fewer hitches, anyway.)
You should always talk to your planners, vendors, and especially your caterer for any other items you’ll need for your unique situation. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, and let them know exactly what you want.
In the list of the most special days of your life, this one ranks among the top. The idea of that can be stressful when it comes to planning, don’t fall into the stress trap. Take time and be present for every moment (as best you can). Keep in mind, once those moments pass, they’ll be gone forever. Use them wisely.