Lately I have noticed that event rentals can be such a pain. Not only is it hard to find a good rental company, but they don't seem to understand that counting and estimating how many plates your guests will use for a buffet or trusting them that a 90"x156" table linen will go the floor on an 8 foot long table. You just have to blindly trust rental companies.
I have worked on many events and weddings in many cities, so I've had the pleasure of working with many different companies. Some cities have many, but some like Asheville and Richmond only have one or two to pick from. Prices seem to stay consistent from city to city and all prices are set. Most rental companies don't have any issues with finding work, so they don't ever work with your budget to cover all the rentals you need. You either need to cough up the money, or you won't get what you need. After you know your venue and your types of rentals, it is safe to just go ahead to get a quote on what you may need. Your budget will thank you later!
Some tips for working with rentals and rental companies:
1. HAVE A CLEAR ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GUESTS IN MIND
If you invited about 100 people, then you should estimate about 90% will come if you send "save the dates." So it is safe to say you will expect 90 people. You will end up putting in a deposit, so you can adjust your numbers before your final bill.
2. ALWAYS ADD EXTRA TO THE COUNT - JUST IN CASE
There will always be a couple or two that did not RSVP that end up showing up. I always add the following to my final count for each category:
Dinnerware settings (Plated Meal) +10
Dinnerware settings (Buffet/Stations) +20
Glassware (Reusing Glasses) +50
Glassware (Not Reusing Glasses) +2 per person per hour
Dessert Settings +10
3. PLAN B
If your venue is outdoors and needs a plan B, please make sure you keep this as a separate quote from your other rentals. This is a just in case scenario if you need to pull the trigger the week of the wedding. This can be tents, heaters, etc.
4. CHECK IN WITH CATERING
Your catering team or catering contract may list out the supplies or tents that you may need to rent for them on their behalf. I know - I think that catering teams should just have their own shit, but they don't always. Check with them!
5. DELIVERY, SETUP & PICK UP
I think you should always opt in for delivery, setup and pick up. It is just a hassle, but so is the fee. Think, do you really want your parents or a friend stressed about gathering the rentals at the end of the night or the next day to bring it back to the rental company? It's more trouble than it's worth. Trust me!
* You should also double check with your venue/rental company on delivery time and date. Sometimes venues have events the day before yours, and they can't take in a delivery and set up until the day of your event.
6. READING THE CONTRACT
Rental contracts are usually the worst. You do actually need to read it or have your planner/coordinator look over it just in case - they don't always get the numbers right. To make your life a little easier, when you are listing out what you need make sure to label what is what for yourself. A lot of times the rental company will label it on the contract for you to help their team understand the uses and placement on the day. For example:
12 Banquet tables 8' - Guests
2 Banquet tables 8' - Head Table
3 Extra tables 6' - Cake, DJ, Gift/Guestbook
100 White folding chairs - Ceremony
100 Natural folding chairs - Reception
7. DEPOSIT / FULL PAYMENT
Make sure you ONLY pay the deposit when booking. This ensures flexibility with your final bill when your guest count becomes final. Final payments are usually the week before the wedding or even the day of the wedding or event.
I hope this helps with you planning DIY'ers out there. If you need help or have any questions, please let me know!