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  • Writer's pictureShannon K. Wendt-Heath

Everything You Should Rent for Your Northern Michigan Wedding (and Even What You Shouldn't)

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

One of the biggest questions a couple planning their weddings here in the Petoskey and Charlevoix areas needs to answer is how to manage the decor. "Do we rent the decor or do we manage it ourselves and DIY it? Or a combination of the two?"

I have created a list of the various items it really pays to rent and those items it's better to buy. The question you really need to ask is "What is my time worth?"

What to Rent:

1) Table Linens (Tablecloths, Napkins, Runners, etc.) So you've found linens online that are WAY cheaper than rentals. Well, here is the problem. Those "bargain" linens are not designed to be used more than once. Wash and dry them and the seams will fray and most home washers are not designed to clean linens very well. Most stains (especially anything greasy like gravy), will not come out. So you've just plunked them down on the FB Marketplace so someone unsuspecting buys them, because what a deal!

If you decide to buy more expensive linens in hopes of getting higher quality, know that they are also time-consuming to clean, iron, hang or fold and then store. Renting linens is the way to go. You won’t even have to iron or steam the linens beforehand, since rentals arrive ready to go. After the wedding, the rental company comes and picks them up. And done!

2) Candle Holders and Vases Buying candle holders and vases may seem like a great idea, but think realistically about what it means to have dozens—or hundreds—of glass and/or metal items post wedding. You likely won’t be using wax-covered candle holders again, and cleaning them is very time consuming. Try baking small batches of wax covered candle holders at low temp for a while and then cleaning out the melted wax... And then there's packing them up and storing them in hopes you can sell them or maybe a friend will get married soon?

The same holds true for vases. Heart works with your florist to make sure you have the exact vases that you want for all of your flowers and greenery.

We handle the delivery, set up and tear down, meaning you won’t have to haul boxes of vases out of the venue that night or the next morning. (Seriously, tear down just takes away from the "high" everyone is still on at the end of the night. Don't ruin that!) It’s generally not worth the minimal savings, or sometimes no savings, that buying can offer over renting in this category.

3) Charger Plates If you’ve decided to use charger plates for your tablesettings, keep in mind the management of them. First of all, who will collect all of the dirty ones after dinner? While they are not for eating from, food does get spilled on them. And who will collect them all after the wedding? Charger plates are a big hassle to wash, as they can't be popped into your dishwasher. They have to be hand washed and hand dried to prevent spots. And where will they be stored? These plates are heavy and take up a lot of space! Charger plates are one of the best ways to create a beautiful table. Just be sure to rent them instead. And acrylic chargers are just as pretty as glass, but for much less!

4) Lounge Furniture Please don't even THINK of buying lounge (or any other) furniture! Who will manage all of it, including the set up? It will have to be packed up and transported after the wedding. Where will it go? Heart provides so many different styles of rental furniture, from boho to vintage to modern. We manage it all!

5) Rugs One item that was on Bride's magazine's list as something to buy was rugs. What?!?!? How do you expect to transport something as awkward as a rug home? Who is going to manage that? Here at Heart, we have rugs in so many different styles that can be rented for your big day. And how about doing double duty with it? It can line your ceremony aisle and then be brought inside to place on the dance floor! Betcha never thought of that! And keep in mind that if you don't see the exact rug you want on our website, we can special order one.

6) Signage Again, this is another of those items it's better to rent. What will you do with a seating chart that has been created on acrylic, wood, windows or a mirror? Here at Heart, we can create custom signage for seating charts, table numbers and more on any surface you dream up. Want pieces of driftwood customized with guests' names? We can do that. Want their names on sand dollars? We've done that. Or how about their seating assignments on ceramic tile? Consider it done.

Here is one item that you may want to buy: a totally customized AND personalized piece such as a wine box for a winery wedding. But here at Heart we can create a handmade box and have your names calligraphed, engraved, burned or placed on with vinyls. Examples of other items that could be added would be a piece of decor that was inherited such as milk glass or a gorgeous vase. Or how about a seating chart featuring heirloom seeds that you've harvested yourself? This is an unusual idea that will have your guests wowing it!

The possibilities are nearly endless for what we can do. And we don't mind that it's not a rental but something you buy and keep. These handcrafted items are a reminder of one of the most important days of your lives. Just ask us and we can probably make almost anything! We employ several craftspeople to handcraft many of our items.

Other items that you own already can be a fantastic way to personalize your wedding. Just be sure to get some help setting up and tearing down from a local rental company. Nothing kills the "high" of your wedding reception like the lights being turned up and everyone scrambling to pack up. I have witnessed so many brides packing in their wedding dresses because they didn't realize they would be doing the work when their "help" disappeared.

Another big benefit to renting decor is that your rental company may also help with design services (just take a look at prior work and make sure it's the right style!). They can assist in figuring out what goes where, and how to create a cohesive look. If all you know at the time of a consultation with us here at Heart is colors and not much else, that is still plenty for me to work with. We'll chat about your hobbies, what you do for a living, if you travel and where, where you grew up and other questions that will assist me in figuring out the "feel" you are going for. Got a Pinterest page? I LOVE those too!

Another big thing: we take care of delivery, set up and tear down of all of our rentals. Here at Heart, we can do it all. Our motto: "If you dream it, we can do it".

Give us a call, shoot us a text or email: 231 622 3275 or

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Article adapted from Bride's magazine.

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