Planning a wedding can be tricky business. As a bride-to-be, it’s probably the first time you have ever had to organise a big event, let alone your very own WEDDING - a.k.a one of the most important days of your whole entire life, no pressure or anything!
It’s safe to say that when it comes to tasks like hiring furniture for your wedding - well, without having any previous experience, then where the heck do you even begin?!
We speak with hundreds of brides every year, usually in the very early stages of the whole planning process, and we've noticed that there can be an initial sense of overwhelm and confusion with knowing exactly what to hire, how much to hire, when to start booking things in, and just generally making sure it's all going to come together on the day.
Something we hear a lot with newly engaged brides when it comes to hiring furniture is "I have no idea where to start!", closely followed by "I feel like I've forgotten something." Any of this sounding familiar? If so, it’s totally understandable to be feeling confused.
But for us, we can (and do!) talk enthusiastically about furniture for hours on end. We have a never-ending wealth of knowledge and information when it comes to hiring furniture for your wedding - in fact it’s kind of exactly what we’re here for! So, we thought we would go through some checklists to outline the furniture you might need to hire, some tips and tricks to keep in mind, and answers to our frequently asked questions. Our aim is to get you feeling a little more educated and organised so that you can finally tick “furniture hire” off your list of things to do and focus on other more important things. You know, like getting married ;)
Lets begin with:
FIGURING OUT EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED
First things first, lets talk about the functional side of things: figuring out exactly what you need (and making sure you don't forget anything!!)
The easiest way to go about this is to run through your wedding from the ceremony right through to the end of the night, and create a list of your requirements for each area. We have put together some checklists below which go through the commonly required furniture and decor items you may need for each aspect of your wedding. Depending on your venue, your vision, and the style of your wedding, they might not all apply to you of course. But go ahead and highlight the ones that are relevant to you - this way you will have a helpful checklist of furniture requirements that you can refer back to and tick off once organised. You can thank us later ;)
Ps. These lists are based on furniture and decor hire requirements only! Don't forget there may be other bits and pieces you may need to hire in like heaters or a generator.
Things to consider hiring for your ceremony:
- Ceremony arbour or backdrop
- Seating for guests
- Signing table and chairs ← (this is a very popular last minute addition and always seems to be forgotten! Sometimes your celebrant provides this, but it might not fit the look you have in mind, so make sure you check this prior to the day)
- Directional or welcome signage
- An easel or stand to display your signage so that it isn’t floating mid-air ;)
- An occasional table if you are providing programs, rose cones, etc
- A basket or vessel to hold your programs, rose cones, etc
- An occasional table or bar, and drink tubs/glassware if you are providing refreshments at the ceremony
- Umbrellas for shade
COCKTAIL HOUR (OR COCKTAIL RECEPTION)
Whether its an hour or two for your guests to mingle after the ceremony, or a full blown stand-up cocktail reception, here are some things to consider hiring:
- Cocktail seating, for example lounges, low tables and chairs, dry bars and stools, picnic rugs + coffee tables, etc. (Not sure how much you'll need? You can check out our cocktail furniture tips and tricks here)
- A service bar for drinks (for over 80 guests we recommend at least 2 bars)
- Glassware for drinks (Ask your caterer for the most appropriate quantity of glassware to order for your guest numbers. This will depend on the alcohol you are serving, the drinking habits of your guests, and if there are the facilities to be washing and re-stocking glassware during this time)
- Drink tubs
- Chalkboards/signage for your drinks menu
- Chalkboards/signage for other miscellaneous things like lawn games, restrooms, etc
- A grazing table for antipasto platters or other food being served
- Plates, cutlery and napkins for food
- Umbrellas for shade
- Cushions, rugs and textiles for lounge furniture
- Tealights or candle holders for dry bars and coffee tables
- Vases for any floral arrangements
Things to consider hiring for your sit down reception:
- Dining tables (not sure how many you need for your guests? We explain it in detail here) Another thing to consider here is the style of your menu, and if you want a feasting table that is a little bit wider to allow extra room on the table. Don’t worry, we have both options here (though they do book out quickly!)
- Dining chairs
- Dinner plates
- Entrée plates
- Cake/dessert plates
- Dinner cutlery
- Entrée cutlery
- Cake/dessert cutlery
- Charger plates
- Tealight or candle holders
- Vases for flowers
- ‘Bride and groom’ seats and/or signage
- Gift table
- Wishing well to hold cards
- A cake table or dessert station
- Cake stand or platters for desserts
- Occasional table for guestbook/guest favours/other miscellaneous items
- An easel or stand to hold your menu or seating plan
- Lectern for speeches
- Photobooth backdrop
- Bridal table backdrop
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN CREATING YOUR CHECKLIST:
Okay, so now you have your checklist of requirements sorted! Or do you? Make sure you take the following into consideration before finalising your list:
- Some venues like private properties are total blank canvases, so you will need to bring absolutely everything in, while other venues might have inclusions like tables and chairs. If you are relying on the venue for any items, make sure you double check exactly what is included to make sure it is going to suit your requirements before you tick them off your list. For example; you might have the perfect feasting menu planned for your reception dinner which involves shared platters between your guests BUT didn’t realise until the last minute that the tables at the venue are standard trestles at 76cm wide. Make sure you check these details, and also the quality of the furniture supplied to make sure it’s in line with your vision
- Re-using items can be a great way to save a few dollars, with things like re-purposing your signing table for a cake table, or moving some chairs from your ceremony to your reception. But if this is your plan, make sure you actually have people organised to make this happen! If you have a co-ordinator, then that's perfect. But there is so much happening on the day of your wedding, so it can be tricky if you have placed this responsibility solely on your Aunty Karen who then gets swept away for family photos and doesn't have time to move 32 chairs over to the reception!
- Things like chairs, glassware, cutlery, napkins - these pieces all depend on your final guest numbers, so you might feel confused about how many to book. We recommend booking the maximum you think you will need, and then reducing the numbers closer to the date if required when your RSVP's come in (we have a reduction policy of 10% in place, eg. if you booked 100 chairs you could reduce these down to 90). You are of course welcome to add extra numbers if required, it will just depend on the availability of items, so sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry!
- It is always going to be friendlier on your budget to minimise the number of hire suppliers where possible, so that you don't double up on delivery costs. It also means less suppliers to co-ordinate with when it comes to bump in and bump out of your furniture. So try and stick with one supplier where you can to save some extra dollars!
WHEN TO START HIRING FURNITURE FOR YOUR WEDDING
Another question we are asked frequently is, 'when do you recommend I start booking this furniture in?'
For weddings during peak season or weekends before public holidays, we do book out very quickly, so we would recommend booking your key pieces between 9-11 months out from your date - particularly if you need tables and chairs which are always the first to go. The other pieces that book out quickly are our lounges, dry bars, stools and service bars. Luckily we do have a big range so can take quite a few bookings over the same weekend, and our team can always suggest alternative options if your first choice happens to be unavailable. We're pretty helpful like that ;)
There are probably going to be a few things you aren't 100% sure about in the early planning stages, like the exact colour of tea light holders you want or the perfect napkin shade to complement your tablescape. But you are much better off securing the items you definitely want first and then adding bits and pieces along the way, rather than leaving it until the month before your wedding and discovering everything is booked out!
ASK THE EXPERTS!
This is the number one tip we can give you! If you're feeling stuck or confused when it comes to hiring furniture for your wedding, then just ask us! Remember, this is what we do for a living, and we're always happy to answer any questions you might have. Our friendly team is happy to chat through your ideas, and help you put together the perfect furniture plan for your wedding - you can get in touch with us whenever you're ready, and don't forget to check out our FAQ's for some more helpful information.
Happy planning! x