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14 Things You Didn't Know You Could Rent for Your Wedding

If you want to be more environmentally conscious, this guide will help you understand what you can rent for a wedding, and the best places to hire from

A dark wooden wedding sign with green foliage and neon letters that say

Our latest National Wedding Survey found that almost a fifth (19%!) of couples included eco-friendly or sustainable elements in their special day, so with sustainability at the forefront of many couples' minds, we thought we'd take a look at one of our favourite eco-conscious wedding hacks of all - wedding hire items.

Many couples know that you can hire a wedding suit, or rent a wedding dress, and most are aware that there are lots of wedding decor hire companies out there - but there are so many other elements of your wedding day that you can rent instead of buy. 

From lighting and crockery, to glassware and even your designer wedding heels, the options to hire wedding items has never been so broad, with more and more hire companies popping up by the day.

Wedding Hire: What to Rent for Your Wedding & Where to Hire From

Let's be honest, as beautiful as an amazing tablescape, fun favours and pretty bridesmaid dresses are, weddings can cause serious harm to the environment if we go overboard on single-use items, plastic packaging or fast-fashion items.

Couples who want to be conscious of their wedding's environmental footprint will love the amount of things you can now hire for your wedding. Not only does it reduce waste of things you no longer need once the wedding day is over, but it can actually be really cost-effective too and help you lower your wedding budget.

Here, we've compiled a list of all the things you can rent for your wedding, as well as retailers and businesses to rent them from. 

What  to Rent for Your Wedding & Where to Hire From

As well as the basics, which we detail at the end, here are some of the items you probably didn't know you could rent for your wedding, and the best retailers and businesses to hire from.

1. Wedding Signs & Light Up Letter Hire

a bride and groom kissing in front of a neon sign that is held up in a gold frame

You can also hire lighting-based finishing touches, like neon signs and big light-up letters spelling LOVE or your initials. It would be hugely pricey and quite inconvenient to buy these (where on earth would you store 5ft letters after the day?) so hiring is your best option.

Companies like Light Up Love have a wide range of sizes and provide set up and take down in their prices (these letter are heavy!).

Where to Rent: 

2. Wedding Flag & Balloon Hire

a bride and groom and two children in vintage outfits standing in front of a tipi surrounded by multi coloured flags

Festival weddings look incredible with colourful flags and bunting fluttering around. Go to experts like The Event Flag Hire Company to pick from over 55 colours of flag, each of which is ethically crafted in the UK with a eco-friendly bamboo structure. Make your day feel like Glastonbury with silk rainbow colours, opt for cute spring pastels or warm tropical brights, or even choose a chic all-white theme.

We also love balloons as decor, and you might think balloons are something you need to buy for your wedding, but you can hire balloon installations too. Balloons, by their nature, are perishable so what you can hire is a whole set-up, which can be taken away afterwards.

Where to Rent: 

3. Garden Games Hire

a group of wedding guests wearing sunglasses playing a giant game of chess on a lawn

Wedding garden games are the perfect entertainment for cocktail hour and into the evening at summer weddings. Young and old guests will be entertained for hours with the likes of croquet, giant Jenga and Connect 4, chess, skittles, limbo, a coconut shy, hook-a-duck and more.

Hiring these is the easiest, cheapest and most efficient option, and you care hire collections that fit in with your theme, like these vintage ones from Gill's Vintage Garden Games or more circus, fairground-style ones for a festival wedding.

Where to Rent: 

4. Glassware & Tableware Hire

Your venue will no doubt have all the standard glassware covered for your drinks, but if you want something unique, these can be hired instead! You can hire from curated collections of different hand-sourced vintage glassware to fit your theme, whether you want jewel tones, cut glass, gold rimmed or more.

As well as glassware, linens are expensive to buy and a hassle to steam or iron. It makes so much more sense to hire from an experienced company who'll deliver high-quality, pressed linens to use for tablecloths, napkins, table runners, overlays and more. You'll be able to hire cohesive sets of colours and patterns for gorgeous tablescapes that you don't have to worry about cleaning up afterwards. 

Where to Rent: 

5. Wedding Lighting Hire

a long wedding table set up in a gallery style room with a floral table runner and five candelabras

As the reception carries on into the evening, you'll want to use lighting to create a warm, romantic atmosphere as well as help your guests see. Lighting hire companies have so many unique options that you can use to transform your wedding venue.

Barns and marquees lend themselves to starlit ceilings or cascading strings of festoon lights. Guide guests to outdoor areas through tunnels of light made with LED curtains, or draw the eye with lanterns, chandeliers and hanging light installations.

Many venues won't allow naked flames for safety reasons so you could opt for realistic looking LED candles instead. It's all well and good buying hundreds of these for centrepieces and decorating your venue, but what will you do with them after the day?

Where to Rent: 

6. Props & Lounging Areas

Yep, that's right, you can hire whole lounging areas. Whether you want sheepskin-covered benches to put around a fire pit at night or plush velvet sofas and Moroccan rugs to build a cosy lounge area indoors, you can hire props and furniture by theme or event so you won't need to source one thing any buy another.

It saves lugging coffee tables from home and buying things like cheap lanterns or pillows that you may never use again.

Where to Rent: 

7. Wedding Bouquets & Flower Wall Installations

Did you know you can rent and return artificial flower bouquets and buttonholes? Silk and artificial flower companies often offer flower collections in versatile shades, they're incredibly realistic and luxury looking, and very cost effective.

In fact, if you're having celebrations lasting a few days, it's a no-brainer as your flowers will look as fresh as the first day. There's no wilting, no water required, no allergies to worry about, and you can have whatever flower you want in whatever season. As you don't need to ship out-of-season flowers from abroad, they're environmentally sound too. 

As well as your bouquets, floral décor companies rent out high-quality silk floral arrangements that looks incredibly lifelike and transform even the most blank canvas wedding venue. It's more cost-effective than fresh flowers and much more environmentally friendly as the arrangements will be used again and again.

Your flower installations and flower walls will be delivered, installed and removed for you, and many come with extras like candles, lanterns, plinths and arches.

Where to Rent: 

8. Wedding Bar & Drinks Hire

a line of wedding guests lining up to be served drinks out of a vintage mobile bar

A mobile bar is a great addition to your wedding - guests will love being served from any one of the cool styles you can hire. There's everything from old horse boxes to VW campervans that can park up at your venue, or you can choose from rustic wooden bars to sleek chrome numbers to be set up inside barns, marques, tipis and more.

They bring the bar, the staff, the drinks and the glassware so you don't need to worry about plastic cups or sourcing a bar yourself. Wedding bar hire services have so many  unique ideas and options that you can hire, taking the stress away from you. 

Where to Rent: 

For more ideas, check out all of our mobile bar hire suppliers here. 

9. Quirky Wedding Transport Hire

Bride and groom stand in cream vintage fiat 500 with bow parked on a country lane

Of course you know you can hire a car or limo to take you to your wedding venue, but have you considered something a bit quirkier and better for the environment? How about a rickshaw, tandem bike, horse-drawn carriage or electric tuk tuk? They'll make for amazing photos.

Where to Rent: 

For more inspiration, check out our wedding car and transport section where you'll find hundreds of options!

10. Hiring Statement Props

a rustic ceremony sign n a black board held up by an old tractor

Any stylist will be able to hire you vintage props to make statement installations, like this tractor from Luna And The Lane. Alternatively, hire the items yourself, like beautiful artificial cherry trees, or vintage trunks, deck chairs and fancy dress boxes from prop hire companies. 

Instead of buying a post box for your wedding cards, consider hiring one. You can find them in all sorts of different designs, from classic vintage red to modern glitter ones - hire companies have so much choice for couples. 

Where to Rent: 

11. Hiring Your Wedding Dress

You might think the only options are to buy your wedding dress or shop on second-hand re-selling marketplaces, but that's not true. 

"Wedding dresses can be rented but, interestingly, this does not happen that often - even though the groom and his groomsmen have been hiring suits for decades!" says Kate. "Look for specialist shops where you can rent designer or vintage dresses, book an appointment and go and try them all on, just like you would a new wedding dress.
"Be careful to read all the terms and conditions so you understand what happens if you accidentally tear the dress, for example. Read references carefully too, to make sure that the dress you hire is in a good condition."
For some nearlyweds, the thought of wedding a dress worn by lots of other people might be too far, but for some, it makes a lot of sense. After all, you're only wearing the dress for one day, so why use up a big chunk of the budget on it?
"The benefits of hiring a wedding dress are huge," explains Kate. "Firstly, it is the more affordable option but more importantly, it is the ethical option. A wedding dress only has one day's use yet can cost thousands, plus is constructed from metres and metres of fabric and beading. If it can be worn multiple times, it has the potential to become carbon neutral. 
"Often wedding dresses are made in the Far East using cheap labour, so the manufacturing of the fabric impacts the environment there and flying it here has a huge impact too - all to keep the price down for the consumer. If someone instead hires a dress already worn before, the carbon footprint of the wedding is dramatically reduced."

Where to Rent: 

If it's piquing your interest, you can read our guide to all the pros and cons plus the best places to rent a wedding dress here.

12. Hire Groom and Groomsmen Suits

two men wearing wedding suits - one beige and one blue

Suits are already a popular item to hire and lots of specialist stores, like Moss Bros, cater to grooms and groomsmen searching for their perfect outfit. You're spoiled for choice with patterns, cuts, styles and formal or informal wear. Don't forgot to include your dads too - they'll love renting a nice suit too.

Where to Rent: 

13. Bridesmaid Dress Hire

If you're working to a budget, it can be tempting to buy bridesmaid dresses from fast fashion brands, but ultimately that could be harmful to the environment. As well as questionable labour practices, some fast fashion shops actually throw away returned items as it's easier than cleaning and repackaging them.

If you're buying dresses in a few styles and sizes to try on, that could make a lot of waste. The most environmental option is to let your bridesmaids choose something in your colour scheme that they already own in their wardrobes or let them buy a dress they know they'll wear again and again.

If you're intent on everyone wearing the same look, you can hire bridesmaid dresses on a number of sites, and if you're happy to be a bit more flexible with styles and colour scheme, any dress rental company will have bridesmaids-worthy looks (check them out for mother of the couple outfits too).

Where to Rent: 

14. Jewellery, Shoes & Hair Accessory Hire

a pair of manolo blahniks in ivory

If you want to top your look off with show stopping jewellery but can't afford to buy designer, then consider renting jewellery. The more an item is worn, the smaller its carbon footprint, so renting all your accessories is a fab idea, plus you can wear something that would have been out of reach before!

Where to Rent: 

As well as the more unknown items, these are the things that almost all couples will rent, instead of buy, for their wedding. Though some of these may seem obvious, it's always worth a reminder!

  • Your venue, especially if it's a tent or tipi - check with the company for their eco-credentials and recycling policies
  • Dance floor
  • Tables and chairs for outdoor weddings
  • Generator for venues like barns and yurts
  • Flatware, like cutlery, and dinnerware, like charger plates, if not provided
  • Toilets for outdoor weddings and temporary structures
  • Items for hired staff, like coolers for the bar, pitchers to serve drinks and serving dishes for family-style meals

Why Should You Rent Items Out for Your Wedding?

a dark wooden wedding breakfast table set up with multi-coloured chairs and mis matched crockery

Renting items is so much better for the planet, but it's not the only reason why hiring rather than buying is a great idea for your wedding. Renting can save you money and allow you to include décor you might not have been able to afford to buy, says Kate Beavis of Magpie Wedding, and founder of The Ethical Wedding Show.

"For example, plates and table décor can be usually rented from stylists at a fraction of the cost to buying them. This stops couples going to cheaper high street shops to buy, where these items are flown in from the other side of the world and made in questionable ways.

"The same goes with furniture hire companies - they tend to have really interesting pieces having painstakingly sourced them; from vintage and antique finds to handmade items such as benches from pallets. Hiring also means you are recycling as the item can be used over and over, plus you are not left with it all after the wedding day."

Kate makes a really important point. We instinctively think that if we buy something, it's a better investment than renting, but actually, that's not always the case. Consider what you're going to do with all the things you buy afterwards - 100 candlesticks, 30 glass vases, 15 sequin tablecloths, an aisle runner and a flower arch would all have be stored somewhere. You might end up forking out for a pricey storage unit; or you might think you can use some things in your house afterwards but find out your budget buys break soon after the wedding.

If you're looking to customise your venue with unique, high-quality décor, renting is the way forward - and it's so much more environmentally friendly. 

If you're still looking to buy some wedding items, make sure they're as sustainable as possible. Here's a selection of our favourite eco-friendly wedding products.