A few weeks ago when I wrote the (awesome!) 3 part series on venues in LA, in Part II on off-site venues I promised I’d devote an entire blog to the beast that is rentals. This blog even bores me, but I made a promise, so here’s some reading if you have insomnia.
If you have rented an off-site venue to hold your wedding, you more than likely have to bring everything you need for an event in: tables, chairs, linens, napkins, flatware, glassware, etc. Some bare bones venues don’t even have a kitchen and so the catering company has to build one on site. Most catering companies don’t just own this equipment, so stoves, grills, hotboxes, pans, and trays also have to be rented. Many sites also don’t have lighting, power or restrooms, so all of that also has to be rented. Then you have pretty stuff like lounge furniture and decor that can be brought in.
What you need in terms of rentals is going to be determined by your venue and your chosen caterer. There are quite a few rental companies in this area, and of course, the higher end companies such as Classic Party Rentals and Town and Country are not only going to have the biggest selection but also the highest prices. Lower end companies such as Pico Party Rentals or Burbank Party Rental will have a much more limited selection, but more affordable prices. Usually, my clients tastes in chairs and furniture determine the rental company we go with. Even with the affordable rental companies, for a wedding of 100 people, I rarely, rarely see a rental bill under $3,000. See, you don’t have the capability to wash glasses at off-site weddings, so you have to order plenty of glassware for a bar for 4+ hours. That’s a lot of wine glasses.
Not only do the actual items you are renting (ex: 100 spoons at $.47 each) add up, but so does the the labor, set up, tax, and same day pickup. And when your rental guys come to pick up, they do not pack up the items–they expect to have all plates scraped and placed back in trashbag lined crates, all silverware sorted, all glassware back in the crates, all linens bagged, and so on. This is something that the catering staff is responsible for. If a couple goes with a low end caterer or a restaurant that is not prepared for this, the couple is either going to get a massive labor bill or that couple’s family will be scraping plates.