Wedding Rentals and Lighting Guide

Tents, party rentals, event lighting and more details

From ceremony chairs to cocktail tables and everything in between, you’ll want to finalize your wedding rentals, lighting and decor at least six months before the big day. Turn your rental showroom visit into a fun pre-wedding date. Keep this checklist handy to ensure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. Couples risk a lot when they order wedding rentals and decor online. Style, quality and, let’s face it, even on-time arrival is not guaranteed. That’s why Heart of NC Weddings highly recommends that you shop at local rental companies with staff who are committed to excellent service and product quality. Consider rental needs for events including your engagement or welcome party, rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch.

Budget for Wedding Rentals and Lighting

You should allocate more than you might think for your wedding rentals and lighting. You don’t want to leave these costs out of your overall wedding budget.

Your wedding venue may or may not have certain party rentals – including chairs, linens, lighting, tableware, ceremony arches and more – including in your venue rental. Some venues offer inclusive packages that may help you save money in the long run. However, if your rental doesn’t include these, you’ll need to find a party rental supplier.

Do you need to rent a tent for your wedding?

Depending on the venue you’ve chosen, you might want to consider a tented ceremony or reception.

Know that a tented wedding also requires lighting, draping, flooring, outdoor catering space, a generator for reliable power access, heating/air conditioning, restrooms and more.

“Expect to pay about the same amount that you would pay for a venue of similar size,” says Alyssa Ruth, senior sales executive of Curated Events Raleigh. You should aim to book your tent about a year in advance. Find out if you can have the tent set up a few days before your event and broken down a few days after the wedding. If these dates are flexible, you may have better luck securing a tent on prime dates. You’ll need to also consider on-site parking, power and restroom availability, and the location’s local sound ordinances.

For smaller events, Alyssa recommends a white-top frame tent. These tents offer a variety of sizes and configurations. Clear-top or sailcloth tents are more suitable for large-scale events. There are a variety of tents that you can choose from. Remember to ask your party rental supplier which tent they recommend for the number of guests who are attending.

Backyard or private-residence weddings require party rentals, and lots of them. Think about it – you’re turning an exposed, outdoor location into a refined event space where people can comfortably eat and dance. By bringing the inside out, tented weddings offer the best of both worlds.

Wedding Tent Rental Options

Pole Tent
Pole tents feature unique peaks created by center poles and are vinyl or sailcloth.
Sailcloth Tent
This is a type of pole tent that uses sailcloth material. This translucent fabric adds a unique glow to the tent.
Marquee Tent or Pop-up Tent
A marquee tent has the peaked ceiling of a pole tent without the center poles. This tent is smaller, and often used to create covered walkways or cocktail hour spaces.
Frame Tent
A classic option that comes in many different sizes. A frame tent can support heavy equipment. It’s freestanding with no poles.
Clear-Top Tent
Clear-top tents offer unique views of the surrounding landscape, plus your guests can dance under the stars! Just keep in mind that this type of tent. is unsafe in extremely warm or cold temperatures.
Pagoda Tent
You’ll have the option of creating multiple “rooms.”

Your Final Tent Rental Checklist

• Sound check to ensure guests can hear from any point within the tent.
• Create an entrance for your guests to walk through to enter the tent.
• Decorate the poles with draping, greenery or flowers.
• Have a backup plan in case rain or severe weather threatens to cancel your tented outdoor event.

Wedding Lighting Rental Basics

Your venue may already have market lights, chandeliers or other light fixtures. But, you may want additional elements to illuminate the space, including string or bistro lighting, lanterns, up lighting and custom lighting.

Create variability in your lighting design! Different heights and lighting placed in various areas is a great way to add interest to your event space. For example, this could mean a ceiling installation of strand lighting. Or opt for chandeliers with spot lighting and floral arrangements placed at different heights, plus lounge areas washed with an amber glow. For a dimly lit space, try using pools of light to spotlight the band/DJ, cake, food and beverage service areas and tables. Adding decorative lighting at varying heights is also a great way to minimize or hide tent poles or structures.

Create drama with a large statement piece like a crystal chandelier. Or, encourage intimacy under a collection of industrial-chic fixtures.
Strand Lighting
Strand lighting is the most versatile lighting option. Choose single strands, or a ceiling blanket of twinkling lights.
Line a pathway, showcase a staircase with lanterns. Or, use them as tabletop decor with live flame or LED pillar candles. Lanterns are a great option to add a cozy feel or pop of color.
Wash Lighting
Dramatic architecture, glowing landscapes and soft candlelight ambiance are all achieved with wash lighting. Create a mood with colorful wash lights.
Spot Lighting
Flower arrangements and cake displays deserve to be noticed. Spot lighting will help draw attention to the details.
From functional to fanciful, decor pieces such as signs, screens, stage surrounds and wall backdrops have been designed and fabricated by Get Lit Event Lighting.

Wedding Rental Trends We Love

Amanda Smith, who co-owns an Alpha-Lit Marquee Letters franchise serving the Triangle with her husband, Matt Smith, says wedding events are the perfect time to go all out with lighting. “[Marquee letters] can be very impactful in large or small spaces. Whether the couple does just initials or stacking ‘Crazy in Love,’ marquee letters give that extra pizazz and ambiance to any special occasion.”

Our favorite wedding rental trend takes place well before the big day. Thoughtfully designed marriage proposal setups elevate an already unforgettable occasion. Let pros handle the details while you focus on wording and your partner. Walk away with some wow-worthy photos to post on social media, use for engagement announcements and print as keepsakes. “The idea is to have fun and spread the love,” says Priscila Budway, owner of Posh Picnic NC. “I truly enjoy seeing people’s faces when they arrive at their picnic. The mesmerized faces and emotions make everything so special.” Priscila loves to use bright colors and incorporate floral designs into Posh Picnic’s free-spirited designs. “We will set up and do all the cleanup. All you have to do is show up, and enjoy,” Priscila says.

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