get the most bang for your wedding decor buck: rent

layered linen and a strong color scheme really make this table pop

layered linen and a strong color scheme really make this table pop-designed by Table 4 Decor

Last time we talked about how important it is to work your tabletop design for maximum impact on any budget. As the tables dominate most event spaces, great table top design will have high drama even if you don’t drape the ceiling or uplight the entire room.

This week we are going to do some price comparison and prove why in most cases it is better to

Rent instead of buy

full disclosure, I own a rental company. However, at least once a week, we hear some variation of this phrase, “man I wish I had known I could rent this stuff.” I am not here to argue that there aren’t some very inexpensive centerpiece ideas that work well. Maybe spending part of your budget on centerpieces isn’t your thing…

But even if spending tons of $$$ on centerpieces or linen isn’t your thing,  don’t count us out yet.

Before we go further, let’s talk about what we mean by inexpensive. That word is thrown around a ton on blogs and wedding websites without any real definition. To us, an inexpensive centerpiece will be under 20.00.  Let’s compare what we can buy for 20.00 to what we can rent for 20.00. Since we are in the beautiful black hills of South Dakota, we used Hobby Lobby for price comparison. (We also assumed that you will be purchasing the items at half of retail price so prices listed are at 50% off.)

large-iron-lantern-rental table 4 decor

rent this lantern for 8.00  with LED candle 11.00


buy this lantern for 17.50  candle not included

How about a lantern centerpiece? It can be decorated any number of ways. Both these lanterns were large – ours is 9x9x18″ tall. Hobby Lobby’s is 5x5x22″ tall.

Hobby Lobby $: 17.50 candle not included.

Table 4 Decor $: 8.00; add an LED candle for 3.00

Thinking about something a bit more grand for less than 20.00? Consider the wild wire candle tree.


it’s like your sitting under a canopy of candle light.

candle tree purchase

do you really want to own and store these for your wedding?

You can purchase this online: 98.00 + s/h. candles not included

Compare to Table 4 Decor rental price: 18.00 includes candles.

Saves you at least 80.00!

Of course, glass vases are the go to centerpiece option. They are versatile and come in many shapes and sizes. Here are four popular options:

vases for rent rapid city

i might have been creeping on hobby lobby. no centerpieces were harmed in the writing of this post.

From left at Hobby Lobby:                      6×20″ cylinder vase             10.00          24″ trumpet vase                 15.00                 4×10 cylinder vase               3.00             15″ tower vase                   7.50

Compare at Table 4 Decor:                        6×26″ cylinder vase             10.00                28″ trumpet vase                 8.00                   4×10 cylinder vase               2.50                   15″ tower vase                   3.00

Not only are the rental prices less, you can also get more for your money.

So how about an actual centerpiece example? We found this submerged floral centerpiece on pinterest when we typed in cheap/inexpensive DIY centerpieces

glow stick vase

don’t let pinterest lie to you – this is not being lit by a glowstick.

We estimated the cylinder height at 12″ based on the fact that the LED uplight is 4″ in diameter. We also used comparable quality orchids. Since ours are very high quality, we did not use the cheapest orchids we could find at Hobby Lobby. Plus, quite frankly, they looked cheap and not very full.

                                  Hobby Lobby           Table 4 Decor
4×12″ cylinder                N/A                3.00 
glass gems                   1.50/2 lbs        1.00/centerpiece
Orchid                             8.50               4.00
3″ floating candle         1.00               1.00
4″ LED light base          N/A              5.00 with batteries
labor                              unknown      3.00 ready to use
total                                11.00             17.00

As you can see, Hobby Lobby did not offer all the items required for this centerpiece. They did have a 4×10″ cylinder that sold for 3.00. But you will need to source and purchase the LED uplight elsewhere (and no, contrary to what pinterest tells you, this is NOT a glow stick). The labor for DIY is unknown since you will have to make multiple trips to the store, clean the items, weight the flowers, insert batteries, assemble the centerpieces, etc.  I don’t know what you would pay yourself to do these things IF you were getting paid but it would probably be more than 3.00/centerpiece.

Or you can pick them up from Table 4 Decor, clean, assembled & ready to be put out.

And before anyone mentions that they can just sell this online or have all their friends use them – consider this – do you want sloppy seconds for your wedding? Or do you have a specific vision that is uniquely you? There are literally millions of used wedding items for sale online right now – what makes your item the one that will sell? Just as you wanted something special for your black hills wedding reception, your friends probably want the same for theirs.

centerpieces using glass cylinders and slinky's - designed by Table 4 Decor 2010

tabletop design using glass cylinders, yellow calla lilies and slinky’s – designed by Table 4 Decor 2010


great design companies will have products and options you might not even know existed! designed by Table 4 Decor 2010

We have focused specifically on centerpieces here, but this also applies to linen, charger plates, china etc. A reputable rental company will have a deep inventory and high quality items at a fraction of the purchase price. We constantly work to keep our inventory fresh and versatile – staying on the cutting edge of event design. (acrylic cubes anyone?)

Plus, when you work with a great design team, you have the added benefit of their insider knowledge – they will work with you to create an event that is budget conscience and totally you.

join us next week when we discuss  how to use design to draw your eye away the ugly stuff in your event space.

About designdakotastyle

ideas about event design and function from one little party design firm on the prairie... a glimpse into design with dakota style.
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