11 Questions You Might Not Think to Ask Rental Vendors

Rentals can be a big part of your wedding day, whether it’s that gorgeous velvet loveseat for your lounge area or basic flatware for dinner. You may know your style and your budget, but you also need to know all the questions to ask when talking to your rental vendors.

1. What’s your most popular item?

Why you want to know: This is good to know for a variety of reasons. First, it’s helpful to see what other couples are gravitating toward because it may end up being something you love, and that gives you a starting point for what style you’re leaning toward. It will be that much easier to tell the vendor what you don’t like about it and what you want instead. Second, if you’re really feeling that blue glassware, it’s beneficial to know other people are interested as well because the more popular an item, the less available it could be. It may also be in a wedding right before yours and you’ll want to make sure the company will have it back in time for your date.

2. Will there be enough time to repurpose pieces?

Why you want to know: Say you’re planning to use a few rugs as your aisle runner. To keep your day cohesive and on theme, it might be nice to have these rugs make an appearance later at your lounge setup or under your sweetheart table. If you’re interested in doing this, ask your rental vendor if they’ll be able to quickly create a new setup with the same items as guests are milling about during cocktail hour.

3. Will you pick up the rentals after?

Why you want to know: The last thing you want to worry about after the party’s over is who’s going to transfer all those chairs and tables back to their proper home. Make sure it’s in your contract that your rental vendor will take care of breaking them down and taking them back after the reception has ended, or that your venue will store the rentals until the next day.

4. Does servingware need to be cleaned before being returned?

Why you want to know: This may seem like a silly detail, but it’s a good idea to ask if your vendor will expect dishes, glasses and flatware returned bright and sparkly or if they expect to do the dirty work themselves.

5. What happened if a couch gets scuffed?

Why you want to know: This goes for all rentals, including furniture. If someone spills a glass of wine on your loveseat, are you expected to pay for the cleaning/replacement, or is this part of the service?

6. Are all taxes and service fees quoted up front?

Why you want to know: Always, always, always ask about any fees that may not be very clear, like service charges or sales taxes you may not realize are included. If your wedding runs a little over your expected time and the rental company is coming by to pick up all the chairs, will there be an overtime fee? Don’t forget to ask what the shipping and packaging fees are because, unfortunately, many don’t include that in the per-item costs and this can range from $50 to more than $500.

7. What’s the right number of servingware pieces for my guest list?

Why you want to know: You may think this is a pretty straightforward answer—you have 144 guest, so you’ll need 144 dinner plates, glasses and sets of silverware, right? But there are a few things to consider. One: You have to account for vendors, your photographer and the band having to eat too. Two, you know your sister is a total butterfingers and she’s probably going to drop at least one glass, so make sure to have extras in case of accidents like this. Three, don’t forget to count you and your partner in the guest list.

8. How long is the rental period?

Why you want to know: Typically, you have about 24 hours from drop off to pick up. For a local wedding, that’s pretty straightforward. However, if you and your partner are throwing a destination wedding, this time frame will likely need to be extended. You may want some of the items for the rehearsal dinner and possibly through brunch the day after your wedding, so 24 hours won’t cut it. If you know the flexibility of a vendor’s rental period, you can know up front whether or not they’ll work for you.

9. What happens if an item is unavailable and we have to switch it out?

Why you want to know: Things happen. Those grand Louis XIV armchairs you had to have for your sweetheart table are now stuck in customs from someone else’s wedding. So now, not only do you not have your dream seating, but you and your partner don’t have any seats period. Ask your vendor beforehand what happens in this scenario or if one of the chairs breaks in transit. Do they have a similar backup that can easily replace your first choice, and can get to you quickly? If they don’t, see if they’re willing to give you a discount if you have to go with another item that doesn’t quite match that original vision.

10. We have a strict budget, so how can we stay within it?

Why you want to know: This may seem awkward to bring up, but don’t be afraid to make it known. Wedding vendors want to help you create your dream day. It’s better to be very clear about the amount you’re willing to spend than for them not to know and you end up unhappy because you went way over budget. Starting with a specific amount in mind will allow your vendor to find the best items for you, and the most reasonable prices.

11. Do you have a plan B?

Why you want to know: Hey, as we said, things happen. Ask your vendor if any nightmare scenarios have happened in the past and how they handled it. Hopefully, they’re used to last-minute changes and can roll with the punches.

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