The Do’s and Don’ts of Renting Party Equipment
I know what you’re thinking. Do you really have to rent equipment for your event? Won’t your venue and caterer have everything covered? While it’s possible you could pull off an event just with basics, most times it’s those little added details (Champagne fountains! Cotton candy machines! String lights!) that really make your event feel special and come alive.
Renting equipment might seem like extra work, but often it actually saves you a lot of headaches on your big day. In this article, we’ll cover some common rental items that will improve your event and the do’s and don’ts of renting your party equipment.
First, what items should you consider renting?
You can rent items as large as event tents and as small as napkin rings. Here are some items you’ll want to consider:
- Venue additions
- Heat lamps
- Lounge chairs
- String lights
- Paper globe lights
- Standing bars / light-up bars
- Ice buckets
- Coffee and tea servers
- Water pitchers
- Copper or silverplate serving dishes for a buffet
- Tiered serving stands
- Fine china
- Novelty items
- Popcorn machines
- Champagne fountains
- Cotton candy machines
- Frozen drink machines
- Projector screens
- Easels for signage
- Number stands
- Extention chords
Now, onto the do’s and don’t of renting party equipment.
With some fresh ideas in mind, let’s make sure that you’re set up for success so you have your rental items ready in time for your party.
- Make a categorized list of all the equipment you may need
Hopefully, the list above can be a good starting point. Get your list together and make sure to explicitly ask your cater and venue what they have on hand. That will help you narrow your list.
- Reserve equipment early!
With a finalized list, you’re ready to start booking your equipment. Ideally, you’re looking to book things 3-6 months in advance to have the best chance of all your desired items being in stock.
- Do a background check on the rental company and read client reviews
Not all rental companies are created equal. Ask your venue if they have recommended vendors or at the very least dig deep into some Yelp and Google reviews. A few negative reviews isn’t a total dealbreaker, but check to see if the rental company responds to negative reviews to try to address any complaints.
- Expect to pay a non-refundable deposit
Most deposits seem to be around 30%-35% when you initially book your items.
- Ask about rental insurance
Not a requirement but worth considering especially if you’re renting some items on the fancier side.
- Ask if there are any specials going on
It never hurts to ask if there are any promotions or discounts available when you’re booking.
- Ask about return policies
When your party is over, you’re likely going to crash and be ready to relax. Before you turn your party brain off, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all rental equipment back in time to avoid any late fees. Make sure you know the policy right from the start and that it feasible for you.
- Assume that one single rental company has all the equipment you need
While one-stop shopping is always the ideal, it’s not always possible. Be ready to work with 2 or 3 different vendors to get everything you’re looking for—especially if you’re looking for some real novelty items.
- Wait until the last minute to reserve party equipment
Again, you’re ideally starting your search out 3-6 months in advance.
- Turn in rental equipment late
This is so easy to do but definitely not worth the late fees. Make sure to have a return plan well in advance of your event. If you are traveling immediately after your event, find someone reliable to return all items by the deadline.
Ready to rent that party equipment?
Get that rental list going by reviewing our suggestions above and doing a full run-through with your venue. It may sound silly, but you want to walk and talk through the entire guest experience from entering the venue, coat check, getting drinks, eating, mingling, dancing, and more. This will help you avoid any confusion for guests on the big day so they are able to move seamlessly through your event and have a fabulous time.