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Rent, Buy, or DIY?
May 24, 2014

Since your engagement (or since you were 5?) you’ve spent some time imagining your beautiful, flawless, budgetless wedding. While many couples have grand dreams for their day, tight budgets can quickly nix those big plans. But don’t go running for the $.99 tulle and crepe paper just yet. Thrifty doesn’t have to mean cheap, and with hundreds of weddings under our belt, we know the ins and outs of this game. Let’s talk about what you should rent, buy and DIY:


Linens- The patterns and textures of specialty linens make a big visual impact, but table linen can be a pricey item to invest in, leaving you with 15 identical pieces to find a home for when the wedding is over. These statement pieces are much more affordable to rent than buy.

Ceiling Draping- Speaking of visual impact, professional draping can turn the most boring room into a fairytale ball, softening up your space. No matter where you need to cut to make it happen, draping is one of those items that should never be DIY’d. This element takes a high level of skill to be done correctly.

To avoid ending up with large quantities of similar items, rent:

  • Sashes
  • Vases
  • Dishware
  • Cloth napkins
  • Votives


Wedding Cake- Whether you choose a 4-tier cake or a table of fresh pies, wedding “cakes” represent a significant time investment. While you might be capable of tackling this task any other day, a DIY wedding cake adds a considerable amount of stress to the days leading up to your wedding. Give yourself a break and select a simple, affordable design that you can accent with fresh flowers.

Vaseware- While you likely won’t need 20 of the same vase, it is nice to have a few arrangements in purchased vases to give to your attendants or other special friends
and family at the end of the evening. This can get expensive, so purchase no more than 6, and rent coordinating glassware from a décor company.

Buy items that you could potentially use later, such as:

  • Cake serving set
  • Small accent pieces


Customized Details- DIY projects are a perfect way to add a personalized touch to your wedding. Unique guest books, place cards and wedding favors are the small pieces of your wedding that guests will remember, and keeping it DIY prevents the projects from becoming too pricey.

Set-up- Chipping in for portions of the set-up can decrease the labor costs associated with your wedding. Perhaps you can learn to install your own chair covers or have friends and family set up the tables. A word of caution, though: if the schedule is tight, cut back in another area in order to hire additional help and prevent exhaustion among your family and friends.

DIY projects to consider:

  • Tying your own sash ties 
  • Custom photo display
  • Table Numbers
  • Flower girl basket

For the couple on a budget, just remember cheaper is not always better. You can have the wedding of your dreams on a dime, just by knowing what to rent, buy, and DIY.

Questions to ask for decor or rentals

  • Is the first visit a free consultation? 
  • Ask for references as well as the decorator’s experience in the industry. 
  • Ask if the decorator has any special deals or other ways to give you the best value for your money. 
  • Ask for a “door quote,” which is the full amount you will pay, including all fees, before signing a contract. 
  • Ask about the policy on deposits and refunds. 
  • Are there any photos of similar weddings that may be emailed to you, or is there a portfolio available for you to look at? 
  • Do you have delivery fees, set up/tear down fees or a damage deposit requirement? 
  • What is the payment schedule?
  • Do you take care of renting items needed, or do we need to rent them?