Rentals – What, when and how many?

There are so many awesome venues out there that provide you with a really cool space. And that’s it. Leaving you with the task of figuring out how to FILL the space- make it usable, flow well, and look good. It’s actually a tough task- and can end up being way more expensive than people think. If you do a bit of research, that venue that seems really expensive but includes all the tables and chairs could be worth the thousands of dollars more than the empty space. I don’t say that to veer you away from doing it all yourself- but if I had a nickel for every client who said “holy crap $500 delivery for same day and pick up!” or “$12 for one damn chair!!!” I would have at least 75 cents.

So, for those of you who need to get rentals, here is a cheat sheet of what you will need, what it means and some of my tips…


– 60” round tables are the standard sized rounds you normally think of- fits 8-10. 72” round tables are a bit larger and seat 12 comfortably.

– 8’ long tables can seat 8 using only the sides, 10 using ends of tables. Combine to make longer, family style tables, but only if you have lots of space- if you are seated in the middle of a super long table and have to squeeze in between it can be awkward.

– 30” is standard cocktail style- tall or short- tall is usually good for a lounge or cocktail space because you don’t have to get extra chairs as well.

– Talk to your vendors about who needs a table- You will probably need extra 6-8 foot tables and linens for- welcome/gifts, buffet/dessert, escort cards, DJ, photobooth etc.

eagle rock dinner


– Vary wildly in style and price. Wooden chairs with padded seats always looks fine, Chiavari look best for more formal events. Please don’t use chair covers. Yuck.

– Using the same set for the ceremony and reception works great 99% of the time, don’t waste your money on double chairs if you can help it!

– Many rental companies have fees for the actual setting up and picking up of the chairs- they will just drop them off. It takes a while to set them all up!


– Always request the appropriate linens to fit the table size you want- Linens that go all the way to the floor look best. For long tables, they have “drop” linens that fit the corners exactly.

– Order one extra of each linen just in case- They do occasionally come dirty or faded and setup spills happen!

– Colored linens really warm up a big open space- white can be great, but don’t underestimate the power of some color!


– Consider your menu, but you most likely will only need one dinner plate- salad plates and bread plates are usually not necessary. Appetizer plates and dessert plates usually work better if they are disposable vs. renting china.

– Many rental companies offer a larger dinner plate for buffets (often called buffet plates)- these work well and look nice.

– Rental plates must be scraped and rinsed before they are returned- ensure your caterer/staffing will do this and pack them back up.


– Consider your venue and bar setup, disposable bar glasses work best outdoors. is my favorite for disposables. Also ensure your service matches your rentals- for example- you only want water glasses on the tables if you have someone to pour water!

– Champagne toasts are a waste. Getting special glasses, and champagne that only half the people drink- when everyone already has a drink in their hand! Just have them toast with what they get from the bar.

– The bigger the glass, the more they will drink. If you are providing you own booze, consider this, because a guy will drink a 14oz. cup of beer just as fast as a 10oz and your beer will go further!


 – Really consider your menu- do you need spoons? Probably not. One fork and knife is usually enough for any menu.

–  Again, consider disposables for appetizers and dessert.

–  Serving utensils for buffet or family style dinners



–       Order triple the paper cocktail napkins – the same ones get used at the bar, with appetizers and dessert.

–       You may want linen napkins for dinner settings. Ensure your caterer/staffing will fold or set them. Order a few extra for the guests that drop theirs on the floor :)


– Talk to your rental company about number of guests and they will recommend the correct size. Also depends on indoor or outdoor.

Coffee Service

– 2 percolators – one for decaf and one for regular coffee. Ensure your caterer or staffing will brew- takes about 30-45 minutes. Also consider a third for hot water for tea service.


– Rental companies offer physical bars, or you can just use a regular table with a linen in most instances. Talk to your caterer or staffing about other needs (ice tubs, scoops, bowls for garnishes, openers, bar towels, etc.)

– Self service tubs, for sodas, waters, beer etc.

– Keg rentals- extra tubs, taps, jockey boxes

– Self service dispensers for punches, signature cocktails, water and lemonade

More Tips…

– It is the most expensive to do same day drop off and pick up. Often unavoidable, but talk to your venue about options if they are flexible.

– Check into any extra charges- most charge for setup of chairs, and sometimes breakdown. Request a full quote including all taxes and fees to get a clear picture.

– Be clear on what needs to be done with items to be returned. Do plates need to be rinsed, linens need to be gathered, chairs need to be folded and stacked etc.

– Use what the venue provides! Think about creative ways to use what is already there to save on rentals.

Any other rental tips to share with couple’s planning?

3 thoughts on “Rentals – What, when and how many?

  1. Joy Butler says:

    It is very true that the use of 8 foot rectangular tables for an event can create a closer knit atmosphere for a family styled event. I think that if you are having a larger and more diverse group, 60″ tables is a great option, especially if food is going to served buffet style. I think that 8 foot tables are easier for plated dinners because it is easier for servers to navigate the venue space.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s