outdoor long table white white linen and ivory couches

Buy Or Rent: DIY Wedding Ceremony & Reception Planning

Planning your own wedding is exciting but can quickly become overwhelming and expensive. There are literally hundreds of decisions and choices to make; so, while this will possibly be the largest and most important party you will ever throw, it may be hard to keep track of everything you will need to pull off your special day.  Many couples choose to hire a wedding planner while others choose to plan each step themselves. There are a lot of fine details to know if you want a DIY wedding ceremony & reception starting with what items you should rent versus buying.

A Guide To DIY Wedding Ceremony & Reception Planning

It is no secret that you will be spending a significant amount of money on this one day, a roughly 5-hour event. And since it is one of the most important days in your life you may be tempted to purchase all of your decor items. In reality, there are a lot of wedding details that should be rented rather than purchased.

Renting things for your wedding can not only save you money but save you the headaches of what to do with all the stuff after the wedding. So, what should you rent for your wedding?

Here’s a list of some of the major items you will need to consider for your ceremony and reception:

  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Dance floor
  • Linens (table runners, table cloths, napkins, chair covers, drapery)
  • Lighting
  • Furniture (podium, bar, couches, etc)
  • Audio and visual equipment
  • Tents
  • Barware
  • Flatware
  • Glassware


wedding ceremony chairs on the ocean

When it comes to chairs for your wedding day using what the venue has is what most couples choose. But in the case you don’t like their options or have decided to get married outdoors at a friend’s backyard, you should rent your wedding chairs.

We really don’t see any reason for you to purchase them, and if you did where would you store 100+ ghost chairs at your home after the wedding?

All you have to do is figure out which chairs suit your ceremony and reception. Some options to choose from are Chiavari Chairs, Bamboo Chairs, Ghost Chairs, Brentwood Chairs and many types of folding chairs.

We bet you had no idea that there are many different choices for chairs for your wedding day. Aren’t you glad you can rent and return them?


One thing you definitely cannot forget to tackle on your DIY wedding ceremony & reception planning checklist is tables. If you are serving food and drinks you will need tables. And luckily these can be rented too!

It’s pretty obvious that your wedding guests will need somewhere to sit while listening to toasts and during their meal, but there are other things that need tables too.

If you are having a DJ they will need a table to set up their equipment. Your wedding cake needs a table, you may need another table for your wedding gifts & cards, and what about your seating assignments and wedding favors?

Knowing how many guests you will have, and the amount of space you are working with at the venue will help you understand what type of tables to rent (round, square, rectangular) and how many you will need.


The majority of venues used for weddings will already have a dancefloor included. If this is not an option for the venue of your dreams, you’ll want to make sure you have this major item on your wedding checklist. The general standard is roughly 4 square feet per person, this will help you estimate the size of the dance floor you need to rent for your reception. Wood is the most common type of dance floor material, but you won’t be hardpressed to find solid white/blank/colorful/glitter options out there too!


barn wedding with string lights draping over reception

Having the right lighting for your wedding ceremony is integral to the quality of your pictures and the tone and ambiance of your celebration. Connect with your local party/event rental companies to see if they have items they are selling (to replace with a new version) or if they offer customizable packages for what you need.

Make sure you learn the lighting lingo so that you can find what will be the best option for your personal tastes and needs!


long wedding reception table with blue linen and table settings

Have you ever shopped for linens? You know things like tablecloths, napkins, chair covers, and table runners. These items can be expensive and time-consuming which is why renting them for your wedding may be the best way to go.

You will most likely not have time to press them before the wedding and after the reception, you definitely won’t want to fold them, get them cleaned and pressed again.

Not to mention, what are you going to do with all these linens after the wedding? When will you have a need for 10+ tablecloths or chair covers again? Renting your wedding linens is a smart choice.


outdoor wedding ceremony with empty white chairs and tents

Having a backup plan is a great idea for your wedding. You just never know what type of weather Mother Nature will throw at you on your wedding day. If you are planning any type of outdoor wedding having a tent as a backup for inclement weather is key.

Ever wondered how much a large tent for an outdoor wedding costs? There are many different types of tents that you could use on your wedding day. The size of your guest list and reception area will depict just how big of a tent you need. The larger or fancier the tent is the more expensive it will be.

Buying a tent for your wedding can quickly put a dent in your wedding budget as they can cost anywhere from $1,700 to over $10,000. So why buy it? And just like the other wedding items on our list what would you do with a tent after your wedding?

Luckily, there are great options for renting a tent for your wedding. But if you would like to purchase one that can be used for future events, or if you now dream of becoming a wedding planner check out these great deals to buy a tent for weddings.

Getting married is an amazing time in your life and while planning each and every step yourself can be a daunting task, the end result of a magical wedding day is priceless and well worth the effort. Whether you choose to buy your tables, chairs, linens, etc or rent them make sure to make a checklist of all of the things you need. Doing this will ensure you don’t forget anything.

Audio & Visual Equipment

Wedding DJ

This really depends on how big your ceremony and reception are. It can be simple – a phone or iPod that casts a set music playlist to synced BlueTooth speakers for small receptions/ceremonies – or it can be complicated and come as part of your DJ’s offerings if you choose to have one. Are you having a band perform, and do they have their own equipment?

One big consideration is how you are going to get your electricity if this is an outdoor event. Be sure to discuss this with the venue you are booking to know your limits.

Barware, Glassware, Tableware

outdoor wedding reception table with pink linens, flowers and tableware

Typically, if you are having your reception catered you can rent the last 3 items (or they are automatically included) from your catering company of choice. You may also be able to rent tables or even chairs from your catering company!

If you’re looking to have a really defined look and theme to your wedding (like gold-accented glassware), and plan to use items afterwards, consider buying items in bulk.

Get creative! For example, have each wineglass engraved with a beautiful symbol or short message and offer that as your wedding favor.

Check out some cost saving tips for wedding rentals hereIf you are thrify and have the time, hit the online wedding forums to find brides looking to sell their ceremony and reception items on the cheap!