Assigning a budget for decoration is one of the trickier parts of wedding planning. It’s hard to know how much to budget when you’ve no idea how much things cost, am I right?
Some suppliers offer a handy price guide or a price list, others offer decoration packages - a set price for a curated collection of decor suited to a particular wedding style with options for customising or adding bolt ons and some will ask you for a budget so they know what to offer you.
There are many costs associated with decor other than just the hire or purchase price. You may or may not be aware or have considered the additional costs. Here are some of the charges you may come across in a hire agreement and a brief explanation of when they may occur:
delivery and collection
installation and retrieval
refundable security/damage deposit
damage waiver fee
out of hours delivery or collection
out of hours customer collection and return
extension of hire period
Post event fees:
late return fee
additional days hire
DELIVERY AND COLLECTION
You need to allow for delivery charges for items to be delivered to your venue. If you are hiring decor you will also need to pay a collection charge. Delivery and collection charges for any items hired is a dedicated door to door round trip plus loading and unloading, not Amazon prime so it doesn’t come for free. You’ll be charged for mileage, time and general running costs for this service and the charges will vary hugely between different companies depending on their set up and size.
Generally the closer the supplier is to your venue the lower the charges but not always, sometimes the charges are based on the load, vehicle or number of team members needed. If a company offers free delivery, they may have already added this into the hire price or they may not be in business when your wedding comes around!
ON SITE STYLING / INSTALLATION AND RETRIEVAL
Next up is installation charges. If you've hired items that need to be assembled onsite or need unpacking and setting out in a particular place in a particular way, then expect to pay for this. The charge will normally reflect the time it takes to install rented items in a safe, correct and professional way.
I often hear from clients that the venue is happy to do the unpack and installation and the repack after the event. This may be true, but check with them, especially if you have lots of different decor elements to be unpacked and repacked.
Ask the venue who will be the person looking after the items you have hired on the day and for the duration the hire. Talk to the named person before hand so you can explain how and where you want them set out. Share the hire terms so they are invested in taking care of the items during and after the event.
Check that you know who will do the repack - you may have a different team working the day after your venue who doesn’t know which box which item goes in or who it belongs to. This is how decor gets lost, sent back with the wrong company or damaged and it'll be you who will incur the replacement charge or be charged for the time it takes to sort it out the repack or missing items.
A necessity for clients who use a single event space for both their ceremony and reception, a room turnaround fee is a per hourly charge that is offered to clients for a team to wait or return to the venue to change the ceremony decor over ready for the reception. This could be the same decor repurposed or different decor for each part of the day. Room turnarounds take anything from 40 minutes to a few hours depending on the complexities and you will be expected to pay for the time the team waits between setting up for your ceremony and setting up for your reception.
CHALLENGING LOAD IN / OUT
This fee is charged for more challenging delivery, installation, breakdown and collection, stairs, fields, small elevators, no venue parking, tight timing anything that makes the job take longer than it should take. Loading into venues is not always simple and straightforward, some venues don't allow access until just before the days event or don't have a loading bay or even a car park.
REFUNDABLE SECUIRTY / DAMAGE DEPOSIT
Expect to pay a refundable security or damage deposit. This is a charge that is held for the duration of the hire and generally anything up to 20% of the hire price. It is held by the hire company until they have the inventory back at their place of business. They will check the hire stock and notify you of any problems; missing items; damage or items that need more than the standard cleaning due to misuse.
If items are returned in a hireable condition with general and expected wear and tear, then your security deposit will be returned in full. If items are missing, broken or damaged beyond repair you will need to pay a replacement charge this will be deducted from your security deposit and a part refund will be given. In the unlikely event that the security deposit doesn't cover the replacement charges, you will be given an invoice for the difference.
This is an optional fee added to the invoice at the time of ordering. It is a non-refundable fee that is paid so that if damage does occur during the hire, the security will still be refunded in full. If items are missing or stolen a replacement charge will still need to be paid.
OUT OF HOURS FEES
Your venue may be on a tight turn around and they may require that any decor you have at your wedding reception is removed at the end of the evening. Check with the hire company that they can do this - for some it is not possible due to staffing constraints or other work or family commitments. Some companies will accommodate late night pick ups but expect to charge for this as they will be operating outside of normal working hours - I have done it, it isn't easy or fun to load a van in the dark! The same goes for an early set up - it can be accommodated, but if it is out of hours expect to pay. A 7am set up and a midnight pick up makes for a very long working day with lots of driving in between - we have to look after ourselves and ensure we are keeping employees safe.
CUSTOMER COLLECTION / RETURN
Most companies offer a customer collection service - you can hire the items and collect and return yourself. This is usually a window of 2-3 hours once a week when you can pick up items for weekend hire and a window of 2-3 hours to return. If you can't make the window - talk to the hire company before hand, you may be able to arrange an out of hours collection or return for a small fee. If you don't arrange this before hand, expect to be hit with a late return fee and extra days hire charge if you miss your slot. Hire companies have to be very organised with lots going out and coming in to the warehouse all the time so these delays are costly to us and we will have to pass this charge on.
EXTENSION OF HIRE PERIOD
There is no rule book when it comes to hire companies. The businesses decide their own terms so hire periods and charging varies. Check the standard hire period with the company you are enquiring with. If it doesn't suit you, maybe you're having a marquee wedding and you want to hire from Thursday to Monday instead of a weekend hire, ask, most companies will charge an extension charge for extra days, it may be less than you think but may make things so much easier for you.
Imagine you lose or break an item you've hired, worse case scenario you'll need to pay a replacement charge. This is a charge, decided by the hire company that will cover the replacement of the item you have lost or broken.
If you've collected your hire order and you miss the deadline for return, you could be charged a late return fee for the inconvenience you've caused. Hire businesses have to be so organised and know where all their inventory is at all times, late returns are a nightmare as often we have a tight turnaround for cleaning and putting inventory back on the shelves ready to be picked and packed for the next event. If you think you may be late or you need an extra days hire, give notice and keep in contact.
One of the post event services is a collection of the items you've hired. Unless a pack away service or breakdown of the decor has been requested the driver will expect to turn up to an order that is correctly packed and stacked ready to go. If they have to wait around for you or the venue to pack or worse still find items from around the event space, expect to be charged.
Hiring decor accessories, backdrops, tableware and centrepieces for weddings is a really simple and straightforward way to decorate your wedding. It is great for both DIY brides, who want to decorate their wedding venue or for couples who want a professional stylist to create a Pinterest worthy wedding. I still think it is better than buying for your own wedding and is definitely better for the environment. Businesses are there not only to hire decor you can't but or find but also to provide professional and stress free services to help your event look great and run smoothly. I hope this post has helped you understand the charges involved in hiring for your wedding and events, if you have any further questions please visit my website www.partysquared.co.uk or contact me directly by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.