Rental Equipment for Your Party

What you need to borrow (not buy) before your bash.
by the knot
Mango Studios

Whether you need tables, linens, chairs, arches, silk plants, or a sound system, we invite all rental rookies to join us for a close-up look at the basic tips, trends, and terminology of party rental equipment.

Getting Started


Which should you grab first to get started -- your phone or your laptop? Neither! Instead, grab a sheet of paper and sketch a plan of your dream wedding and reception set-up. This technique will help you gather your thoughts and organize your ideas prior to a consultation with a rental company.

Talkin' Shop


Brush up on your vocabulary with the help of the American Rental Association, a leading personal and professional group dedicated to maintaining high quality service in the rental industry.

  • Renting: The occasional and temporary possession of goods and services, usually charged by the hour, day, or week, at lower than retail prices.
  • Rental Contract: A legally binding agreement between the rental center and consumer, stating the rights and responsibilities of both parties. A contract goes into effect when you take physical possession of rental equipment and continues until the merchandise is successfully returned to the rental center.
  • Rental Deposit: Usually one-third of the total cost of the rental price, due when you make your reservation.
  • Inventory: The products you rent. Anything from gazebos, portable beverage bars, tents, banquet tables, chairs, fine linens, and table settings.
  • Tailgate Delivery: A service where the delivery truck pulls up to the party site (your garage, lawn entrance, or banquet hall) and unloads the rental items. Getting them into place from that point is your responsibility.
  • Custom Delivery: A service where the delivery truck comes to the party site, unloads your order, sets up the equipment before the event, and takes it down afterwards.
  • Set Up and Tear Down: A service where qualified persons unpack, assemble, and secure rental items. After your event, they return to the party site to disassemble the rental items, load them back into the truck, and return them to the store.

Reservations & Fees


Get everything on your rental "wish list" by reserving your rental equipment early, usually three months in advance of your celebration date. However, during the popular summer season, June brides should make reservations as early as six months ahead of time to ensure the availability of certain equipment.

Most companies require a non-refundable deposit, roughly equal to one-third of the total rental package price. This amount is usually due at the time the rental equipment reservation is made. Typically, the balance is due before you take delivery of the goods and services.

Working With Vendors


You deserve party rental perfection, so don't be shy about posing important questions to potential vendors.

  • Prior to your first appointment, do a background check on the company you are considering.
  • Check out how the company fares with national industry trade associations like the American Rental Associations (ARA) and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask if you can contact previous clients, and stay away from companies that won't furnish references.
  • If possible, inspect the inventory before placing your order. Is it in good condition? Do you see any marks, dents, or dings?
  • Review your delivery slip to verify your shipment. Take a moment to assess the condition of the products you've rented.

Rental Packages


You may find if you rent the bulk of your equipment at one party rental store, you qualify for a package or discounted deal. Canadian-based Festival Tent and Party Rentals arranges such packages for clients who are looking for the convenience of one-stop shopping. For example, for a flat rate of $525, Festival Tent and Party Rentals will provide a 20' X 40' Tent, 72 wooden chairs, 9 banquet tables, and lights.

Specialty Rentals


As we mentioned earlier, party rental equipment doesn't just include chairs, tables, and tents. You can also rent electronic equipment, camcorders, party music systems, and ceremony extras like arches, aisle runners, candelabras, silk plants, kneeling benches or whatever your heart desires.

If the rental vendor you're using doesn't stock special extras, be sure to ask them to refer you to a store or service that does. Additionally, many party rental companies will have good leads on other wedding services and can often recommend photographers, musicians, and caterers.

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