rent or buy?

Renting vs Buying – no, don’t worry – this isn’t an article your parents sent you debating the pro’s and con’s of interest rates, mortgages and escro.  This will be much more fun...and will yield you with a high ROI! 

A question I get from my couples all the time – what wedding items should we buy?  Which should we rent?  And for goodness gracious, what do we do with all this stuff after?!  Not to worry – BBE is here with answers.


Attire the two VIPs will be wearing.   Wedding gowns, suits & other attire should be purchased to ensure proper fit and on-time delivery.  It’s your big day – treat yo self to the outfit of a lifetime!  

Clear votive candles.  Typically cheap to buy in bulk (via Amazon or wholesale sites).  Also important to note – your caterer may offer clear votives for free - but typically only have the 2hr tea lights in the votives.  Wholesale votives you purchase often have 12hr candles to keep the party going all night! 

Signage.  Let’s get specific here.  Have some fun with your name, fun taglines or your ceremony & reception venues.  One size does not fit all when it comes to signage.  You can find some great stuff via Etsy Weddings!


Catering items.  There is a reason caterers provide glassware, plates and silverware – you don’t want to spend the day after your wedding scrubbing last night’s chicken off your purchased plates.  Yuck.  If you want a more unique option than the typical white plates, rental companies offer a great selection of plates, chargers and glassware.   Another great way to add some uniqueness to your tablescape is purchasing special glassware, silverware and plates for you & your honey (ahem, BHLDN). 

Linens. You will find you can buy most linens for less money than renting.  However, resale is tough.  Most buyers won’t need the exact number of linens you have – leaving you with a bunch of unused linens.  This includes napkins.   Additionally, if you don’t hire a planner, you & your family will be on the hook to get all these linens out of the venue.  Work pickup fees (or planner fees!) into your budget – you won’t regret it.

Bridesmaids dresses.  You’ve complained about buying a bridesmaid dress.  We all have.  So when it’s your big day, don’t be a hypocrite.  Allow your bridesmaids to rent their dresses!  Rent the Runway is a great option – whether you want your ladies in the same or different dresses. RTR gives you the ability to rent for 8 days, allowing plenty of time for arrival of the dress prior to your big day.  Trust me – your friends will thank you.

Other suggested rentals: cake stands, candy bowls & servers, chairs & furnishings

Exit Strategy?

For the items you choose to purchase:

  • Know before your event what items will be a sunk cost and include in your budget (i.e. clear votives, wedding attire) – either you won’t be coming home with those items or they are for use only at the wedding.
  • Resale sites. Below are a few resale sites – a great option for browsing to purchase your items or to sell wedding items. 
    • Ruffled : Essentially a web-host for ‘wedding-wanted ads’.  The site will not take any commission – a pro.  The con is that Ruffled does not manage any trasactions.  High(er) risk / high(er) reward.
    • Tradesy : This site was built for selling items in your closet – clothing, handbags and jewelry - and has transformed to now host the sale of wedding items.  Like Ruffled, purchases for all wedding items are final sale.  However, returns are only processed if the item purchased is not as described or inauthentic.  Risk of losing your cash on a bad item is much lower than Ruffled.  But, as transactions are managed, the Tradesy team takes a 9% commission.
    • Ebay, Craigslist : You know the drill.

For the items you choose to rent:

  • Hire a planner – we can (and will!) collect the majority of your personal items at the end of your event.
  • Pay for delivery & pickup of rented items.  While $150 might seem pricey when you sign the contract, it’ll seem like a real steal at midnight after your wedding.

More later!


Bridget BordenComment