5 Key Questions For Your Wedding Rental Company

We’ve all seen plenty of weddings in blogs that are decked out with tropical photo backdrops, vintage sofas, the classic clear ghost chairs, and specialty linens. These wedding rentals can add plenty of personality to the event and help to create moments that you and the guests are sure to remember. But, couples don’t always stop to question whether they’re working with an ethical and sustainable wedding rental company. Most people assume because the pieces are rentals, they are good for the planet and people. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. So we’re here to help with 5 key questions to ask your wedding rental company.

With lots of rental companies out there, you can do just a bit of homework and find the right one that aligns with your values. It’s another easy way to vote with your dollars while creating the ethical wedding of your dreams!

Bayith Linens | Images courtesy of Jenna Powers

Who makes your wedding rentals?

Is a local woodworker crafting the farm tables? Or were antique replica tables purchased online from an anonymous source? If they find the question strange or just can’t answer, we suggest you start looking elsewhere. An ethical wedding rental company has already given this question plenty of thought and wants to make sure they know exactly who they are supporting when they buy their pieces (or craft their own). At BAYITH linens, we always hire local seamstresses or factories right in the New York garment district to make our napkins and the rest of our pieces. This way, we can ensure quality, but also make sure employees are treated well and paid fairly.

Some great answers: Made by local artisans. Made responsibly abroad. Sourced from vintage stores.

How are rentals shipped?

Are your plates wrapped in layers upon layers of plastic wrap? Or have they been packed in reusable and low waste packaging? We all want these pieces to arrive safely to the wedding, but there are lots of options for sustainable packaging. An ethical rental company has researched and invested in packaging and shipping options that are above and beyond.

Some great answers: Delivered by bike messenger. Packaged with compostable peanuts. Shipped in a recyclable container.

Image courtesy of ComePlum, Jumpsuit by Celia Grace, Florals by Larkspur Botanicals, Venue by The Assemblage, Styling by Greater Good Events, Model Britt and Josh of ODMODC

What happens to the items after the event?

Do the table runners get washed and rented out for the next event? Are they at least recycled after? Or are they just tossed into the landfill? This might seem like a no-brainer since we’re talking about rentals, but it’s often easier for a company to toss out their pieces after the event than to pay for upkeep and maintenance. We’ve heard of horror stories where bags upon bags of polyester table runners are tossed out right after the wedding. That’s a lot of waste and signals that this company doesn’t care about long term environmental health. The longer the item is being rented for events, the less time it will spend in our growing landfills. We rent our linen pieces for many events, giving them a longer life. And when they are no longer usable, we send them off to a fabric recycling facility. Bonus points for finding a responsible rental company that takes great care into maintaining their pieces, but will also dispose of no-longer-usable broken items in a sustainable way.

Some great answers: Items are recycled, reused, repurposed, or disposed of responsibly.

Does your wedding rental company give back?

Do a portion of profits go towards a local or ethical initiative? This is not a requirement for every well run rental company, but these days there are more and more companies seeking more than the bottom line. Why not use your rental budget to get great event accents while contributing towards a cause? Just in New York alone, there are wedding vendors that donate to women-focused community groups, environmental issues, and under-served immigrant communities. Personally, we deal with a lot of water waste in linen production and laundering. Because of this, we donate 10% to water conservation efforts.

Some great answers: We volunteer with local causes. We donate money. We offer significant discounts for non-profit fundraisers.

Who else would you recommend?

Do you surround yourself with like-minded businesses? This is not only a great way to find the linens that would be perfect with the farm tables of your choice, but it’s also good to know your wedding rental company belongs to a community. Their ethical friends will do their best to help them grow, offer resources, and keep them in check with their business practices. If they can recommend some other great sustainable wedding vendors, it might also signal that they’re an easy company to collaborate with – an absolute must when dealing with so many vendors on a wedding day.

It’s important to keep in mind that few wedding rental companies will have A+ answers to all these questions. However, just asking about recycling may prompt them to consider the option! Keep focused on having an open mind, asking key questions, and making sure their values align with yours. With just a bit of research, you’re well on your way to a thoughtful, meaningful and ethical wedding.

Need more ethical wedding inspiration or green wedding ideas? Get our getting started guide to help you plan your ethical wedding! While we have your eyes, don’t forget to check out our ethical wedding resources!

Portrait of author and designer Catherine Schiff, who wrote this article about 5 questions to ask your wedding rental company to have an ethical wedding.
Catherine Schiff / Image by Kayla Tiffany

About the author:
Years ago, founder and designer Catherine Schiff shifted her focus from fashion to table textiles because she loved the sense of community involved in dinner parties. Catherine thrives on seeing textiles used in everyday moments and grand gatherings. She’s also a coffee snob, has serious puppy envy, and is currently growing a plant-filled jungle in her studio. Reach out directly to her at Catherine@thebayith.com .

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