Party Rentals, The Affordable Way – Plates and Cutlery

Part 2 of 4 – Saving You Money on Your Plate and Cutlery Rentals

When you’re planning your wedding, DIY or otherwise, you want to save money EVERYWHERE you can, and my goal as a wedding planner is to help you to avoid unforeseen expenses and to help you have the wedding you have always dreamed of, on YOUR budget. Every dollar and cent I can help you save means that you have room in your budget for something else, or you can put aside those savings for your honeymoon or to buy your first house!

For those of you unfamiliar, I spent 18 months in the rental industry and, as an observant person, I learned a few tips and tricks to keep your rentals affordable. When you put your rental order together you may think the total amount at the bottom of the invoice is all you need to budget for rentals, but there are incidentals: missing, broken, or damaged items are accounted for after your wedding is over! When you’re least expecting it, your credit card, already so close to its breaking point, can be charged above and beyond your budgeted amount.

Ensure you read through each segment carefully; there are multiple tips in each category!


So sometimes we’re lucky and our catering company takes care of these things for us. Make sure you ask your caterers if organizing rentals is a service they provide, and if it is, get their help! There may be a small surcharge, but trust me, with the amount of time it takes to get this put together, it is worth it.

                BEFORE: When you’re picking out your place settings, don’t go overboard. You don’t need three different types of knives for each guest when your menu is mostly pasta. Think about your menu and try to figure out what types of cutlery you’re going to use to eat each item.

Cutlery and plates on a white background glasses of wine and red rose

Your rental company is likely going to have many different lines of cutlery. Go with the generic, least expensive choice. You are the only one who is going to notice that you spent $1 on each individual piece of cutlery. If you think that it’s important for your overall enjoyment to have the fancier cutlery, splurge on the nicer stuff for the head table!

When you’re trying to figure out numbers, go with 10% more than your full guest list. You’re going to want to have extra plates and cutlery on hand, just in case someone drops a fork or breaks their plate. It also ensures that if any of the items come to you dirty, you have back-up, without needing to wait for the company to bring you more of the item. Again, ensure you let your customer service rep know right away, even if they are closed, that you received products that were unsatisfactory, and take a photo! They should refund you for the items you were unable to use.

Harvest table set up with plates and cutlery

ensure you let your customer service rep know right away, even if they are closed, that you received products that were unsatisfactory, and take a photo! They should refund you for the items you were unable to use.

                DURING: Have your catering staff ensure that if any items are broken, they keep track. This way you know if a plate is missing whether it’s actually broken and you won’t be able to find it. Also ask that when plates and cutlery are collected to give them a quick rinse before putting the dirty item into the bin for return. While you don’t have to clean the dishes, you do need to scrape them off, and when you go back to count them after the rental is over, it’s a little less nasty!

                AFTER: Ensure that every rental item is accounted for before the return. Give your caterer or wedding coordinator a list of every rental item with quantities and ask them to count everything so you have a good idea if anything is missing. While the rental company counts everything when it’s returned to make sure that nothing is missing, it’s a good idea to know what kind of charges you can look forward to on your credit card.

Pro tip: Be kind. If you’re angry about something (like missing rentals, or unexpected charges after your wedding) take a few breaths before you make the call or send the e-mail. The employees and management are more likely to take your issue seriously and fix it for you if you’re kind to them. Don’t yell, don’t blame, and watch your tone of voice. Just be firm, let them know you are unhappy, and ask how this problem can be fixed


If you have any questions about these tips or you have other ways to save money on rentals, let me know in the comments below! Check out the next post in this series on August 12th about how to get the most out of your glassware rentals!

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One thought on “Party Rentals, The Affordable Way – Plates and Cutlery

  1. Pingback: How to Successfully Self-Cater Your Wedding – The Wedding Planner's Diary

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