Planning a wedding at home has all the potential for an unforgettable celebration, but to ensure it’s unforgettable in a positive way, you’re gonna need a little resource called the Backyard Wedding Rentals Checklist. If you’ve ever been to a wedding where all you can remember is how cold you were or how uncomfortable your chair was during the 4-course dinner, you’ll understand why rentals can make or break an entire wedding experience. Being that rentals play a crucial role, we’ve partnered with experts in the field and rental matchmaker of sorts, RentalHQ, to share the key rentals you’ll want to book for your romantic, al fresco fete and where it’s worth the strongest investments.
Backyard Wedding Rentals By Type
Furniture: Used for both function + beauty, furniture rentals consist of specialty chairs, tables and miscellaneous lounge pieces that might make up every part of the day from Ceremony to Reception.
Tabletop: Exactly as it sounds, tabletop rentals are those that are needed for meal service. Think chargers, plates, glassware, cutlery, etc!
Decor: Architectural backdrops, candelabras, pillows for the lounge, vintage rugs and the like all fall under the decor category. These items are the cherries on top, if you will!
Production Equipment: These rentals entail everything from lighting fixtures and staging to sound systems and generators. They’re essentially the logistical, functional components that bring the full experience to life and are absolutely crucial to the success of an event.
Catering Equipment: For many weddings, the venue or catering team will have all these items in-house, but this is not always the case, so it’s important to understand early on if the responsibility of booking things like chafing dishes, serving trays, coffee urns, salt + pepper sets, trash bins, etc. falls on you or not.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, wedding rentals run the gamut!”, you’re not wrong! For wedding day elements that play such a crucial role in so many areas, you’ll want to eliminate the guesswork by finding the best of the best in your local rental companies. That’s where RentalHQ comes into play. Their intuitive site allows you to search for something as specific as cupcake stands or as vague as catering equipment, prompting you to enter your event location’s zip code and connecting you with the most reputable sources for the item you’re looking for from there. Easy peasy.
So let’s get uber specific on what you’ll most likely want to rent for your backyard wedding.
The Full Rental Checklist
Folding & Dining Chairs
You’d probably never expect one of the most important rental decisions to be which chairs to go with, but the right chair can make all the difference in terms of comfort and design. Having a chair that adds continuity to your wedding style or theme will leave a lasting impact as chairs often take up the most real estate in a space. It’ll be the first thing your guests notice, before any of the more nuanced details! For parts of the day where your guests will spend a significant amount of time in the same chair (I.e. dinner), be sure to focus on function foremost. Even if there’s a chair option that fits your mood beautifully but you can’t imagine sitting in it for 2-3 hours straight, think about how else you can use that piece, such as a lounge vignette at Cocktail Hour, so that you aren’t compromising comfort for design where it really counts.
Fun fact – Those triangular backdrops, folding room dividers, metallic arches, wooden doors and frame structures you often see floralized for ceremonies, photo backdrops or seating charts/escort card displays can often be rented by your local rental companies. Many will carry a selection of specialty pieces such as these, so be sure to look at these niche products too!
Welcome Drink Station
A great wedding anticipates guest needs, and there’s no finer way to do this than a Welcome Drink station for their arrival to the ceremony! Console tables, vintage dresses, round farm tables, rolling trolleys and the like all work wonderfully for this sort of vignette, and your local rental companies probably have a unique assortment to match your particular wedding style.
Never underestimate the power of a bar that’s dressed to the nines. From farmhouse chic to Art Deco to modern minimalist, there are so many incredible bar options out there that can transform your drink service for Cocktail Hour and Reception. Many rental companies now offer bars with customizable panel inserts as well, giving you yet another opportunity to bring in your wedding pattern, crest, monogram or the like!
Low rounds (typically 30″ tall and 48-60″ wide) and highboys (about 42″ tall and 30-36″ wide) are a dynamic duo for Cocktail Hour and Reception layouts that will feature tables covered in linen. Just remember that these are standard banquet rentals, so you’ll want to have a linen to cover them up. Often the price of renting both the table + linen is more cost effective than a lounge furniture rental version of these tables (think Pottery Barn aesthetic where no linen cover is required), but be sure to weigh your options with your local companies since it will differ by piece.
Pro Tip: Your rental companies will be able to guide you on the proper linen sizes for these tables as well – just ask!
Table Linens, Runners and Napkins
If you’re wondering if you might be better off purchasing linens than renting them, trust me, it’s not worth the time-consuming hassle of getting them cleaned, folded, pressed and stored after the big day. Linens can also be super expensive to buy (and let’s face it, will you often use that quantity all at the same time again?). Renting table linens, runners and napkins gives you exponential choice, and most linen companies will ship countrywide giving you an even larger selection pool! We can’t speak highly enough about how easy it is to receive everything pre-pressed and folded to your doorstep and send back via pre-paid shipping label and a scheduled pickup (again from your doorstep!) All you or your planner has to do is put them in the proper bag at the end of the night and voila!
Sofas, coffee tables, mix + match vintage rugs, arm chairs…. all of these furniture rentals and more are a foolproof way of impressing your gusts during Party Time. Lounge vignettes are great to have scattered around the dance area as your guests will want a break from dancing every once in a while, and these gorgeous residential inspired setups are a perfect way to bring the comfort of indoor furniture outside.
Did you know that lots of rental companies have popular lawn games like Corn Hole, Jenga or Tic-Tac-Toe that you can actually rent? These activities often act as wonderful ice breakers for your guests, and it can save you a headache and a half to rent, not buy, these life-sized party games.
If you wanted to upgrade from folding banquet tables with linen to specialty dining tables with more of that furniture aesthetic, know that dozens of styles exist here from grand wooden farmhouse tables to metallic herringbone trestles.
Upgraded Chargers, Plates, Cutlery, Glassware
Your caterer may include standard china with their services, so be sure to ask about all their rental inclusions when booking! But be mindful that any specialty tabletop pieces you’d like to incorporate will most likely need to be outsourced. Be sure to order more than your guest count as things inevitably get dropped or knocked over on the day, and you’ll want to have some replacement pieces as backup!
You’ll want to think about both functional and decorative lighting for your outdoor wedding celebration. Not only is it key to be mindful of sunset as you plan your wedding timeline, you’ll want to ensure your guests have the proper lighting to get from Point A to Point B safely once it does get dark. Chat with your local rental professionals about what combination of lighting fixtures makes the most sense for your particular wedding, and they can guide you on specific combos between whimsical chandeliers, string lights, color washes, pin spots, uplights and the like.
Fire pits, mushroom heaters, mounted tent fans… this kind of equipment can be a game changer depending on your wedding day weather. Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast at least 10 days before to ensure you don’t need to suddenly bring in extras like these for your outdoor wedding where the elements tend to rule the mood.
Always have a rain backup! That’s our motto. And it needs to be yours too! If there’s no suitable indoor contingency plan on site for your wedding, you’ll want to talk to your local rental companies about their tenting options. With a range of styles, sizes and price points, be sure to get guidance from the professionals here, and see if they can swing by your property to assess where a tent can and cannot be installed before you book. Underground pipes can have a major impact!
So not only do you need to think about the logistics of permits, noise ordinances, parking and liquor licenses for a wedding at home, you need to keep wedding rentals and the vital role they play at the top of your priority list during the planning process.
The scope of planning + coordinating is one of the reasons we recommend hiring a seasoned team of professionals to guide you through this process and assess your biggest individual needs. Even if you are only hiring a partial planner or month-of-coordinator, you can start the conversation early with the rental companies near your wedding location! Avoid the black hole of the Google Search bar by heading straight to RentalHQ, plugging in the types of rentals you’re looking for (you can even enter a generic term like “weddings”) and your zip code, and it’ll deliver a comprehensive list of companies near you in .02 seconds flat!
Has there ever been a better excuse to book some baller rentals for a bridal shower, engagement party or surprise date night during wedding planning too? Just sayin’!
Remember, you can always mix + match rentals from different companies. Say you love the dining chairs from one place, but have to have the specialty china from another… you can have the best of both worlds! Just be sure to do your research on terms like minimum spends and deliveries with each company you’re interested in renting from, as factors like that will impact your bottom line. Let us know what RentalHQ helps you find for your own backyard wedding in the comments below, and til then, happy shopping!