There are lots of things that you have to buy for your wedding, but did you know that there are many things that you can rent. In fact, there are many things that you might have to rent for your wedding. I thought it might be good to give you a list of possible items to rent for your wedding (some that are specific to the Washington, DC area and some that are for weddings in any location), so that you can start factoring these items into your wedding budget. Depending on how much you rent or need to rent, you will find that your wedding price will be much different with these items!

We’ve been over what a “rental” is considered in the wedding industry. So, if you haven’t read that post on wedding rentals, definitely check that out. The best thing you can do is ask lots of questions of your venue and all of your other vendors so that everyone is clear about who is providing what. The last thing you want to ask on your wedding day is, “I thought you were providing that?” In the meantime, here is a list of eight things that you can rent for your wedding:


Photo Credit: Love Life Images from and Caroline and Justin’s wedding

1: Photo Booth
Photo booths can be a great interactive element for your reception. It gets guests mingling and having a good time. Depending on the style of photo booth that you get it, you can get great candid photos that you might not otherwise capture. Plus, some photo booths let your guests take home the pictures. That’s a bonus wedding favor! Here is our list of photo booth rental companies in the DC area.

2: Dresses
Have you heard about Rent the Runway? This is a company where you can rent dresses for special events, mother of the bride, bridal parties and more. This is also a great option for bridal showers and rehearsal dinners when you just can’t stand to buy another dress! Your bridesmaids might really appreciate not having another dress on their closet they won’t wear again.

3: Chairs & Tables
Chairs? Really? Yes, you really might have to rent chairs and tables. Many of the venues in the Washington DC area, although pretty and gorgeous, don’t provide chairs that are worthy of their space. There is nothing like investing in a great venue and photography and having it overshadowed by less than pleasant banquet room chairs. More often though it is that venues like historic houses and outdoor parks don’t have chairs and tables at all. You are on the hook for making sure that these items are rented. Ask your venue about the chairs and tables that they provide and factor rentals into your budget. A venue might be one price, but when you add in the necessary rentals, it makes it a whole new (higher) price. Check out our list of rental companies in the Washington, DC area.

4: Bathrooms
The DC area is home to many wedding venues that are outside (vineyards, barns, parks and more) or in historic homes that don’t offer the facilities that your wedding party size might require. I have memories of my mother being so horrified that we had to rent bathrooms for our wedding! I assure you, “rented venues,” as they are called in the industry, are just as beautiful as the real thing. Plus, additional bathrooms will make your guests more comfortable in the long run. Renting bathrooms is also a must for most weddings at home. Check out our tips for having a wedding at home.

5: Transportation
Ahhh, driving in the city scares me! Where am I supposed to park? If your budget allows, it is a nice option to provide your guests with transportation from your ceremony to the reception. Other transportation ideas can be to the ceremony and to the hotel at the end of the night. This way no one gets lost or has to worry about parking. Just make sure that if you go to the trouble of securing transportation that you guests know about it. Check out our list of transportation companies in the DC area.

6: Dance Floor
Before you book your wedding venue, make sure you have a clear understanding of what they provide and what you are required to get elsewhere. I know I said this before, but it is worth repeating! Many venues don’t provide dance floors. Something like a dance floor is a common rentable item in the Washington DC area. If you want to dance all night at your wedding, ask your venue and then factor a dance floor into your overall budget.

7: Heaters
Do you have an outside reception? An outside cocktail hour? With the weather being so cold right now, I feel that I just have to mention this one! Weather around the DC area is unpredictable, so you might consider renting heaters or at least putting a deposit down on securing them in case you need them at the last minute. Adding heaters increases the square footage of your venue space and allows guests to spread outside. There all different styles and styles of heaters that you can even incorporate them into your decor for your wedding.

8: Furniture
If you are thinking of having a cocktail hour, it is nice to bring in extra furniture, beyond any tables and chairs that you rent for guests to eat dinner at. Extra furniture can be cozy couches, plants or high top tables for guests to put a drink one. This extra furniture will really help to designate a space and let guests be comfortable. It is also a great way to get guests mingling and up and out of their seat. Be sure to read our advice post about renting extra furniture for your wedding.


So, that’s my set of eight things that you can (and might need to!) rent for your wedding. The list of possible items to rent is endless. I know it isn’t as exciting as say, shopping for your dress, but you should really put as much energy into your rentals as some of the other more “fun” elements. Factoring these items into your overall budget and you’ll have a much better total budget picture.

Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen. You can also connect in our DC area wedding forums and share your wedding announcement with the world!

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