Average Cost of Renting Dishes, Glasses, Dinnerware for Wedding

With how much you have to oversee during wedding planning, it is easy to overlook the small details. However, these small details are just as important in ensuring that your special day goes smoothly and perfectly. One example of such detail is the dinnerware for your wedding dinner or reception.

On average, dishware rental is priced at $0.35 to $0.90. Drinkware, such as Champagne flutes and wine glasses, ranges from $0.40 to $1.80. Flatware, including spoons, forks, and knives, costs $0.30 to $1.15 per piece.

Below, a table summarizes the average cost of dinnerware rentals, which is then expounded in the following sections. Factors that influence the price of rentals are also discussed. Lastly, tips to remember for renting dinnerware for your wedding are given.

Average Cost of Dinnerware Rentals for Weddings

Item Cost
Dishware

●       Dishes

●       Plates

●       Bowls

Around $0.35 to $0.90 per item
Drinkware

●       Glasses

●       Wine glasses

●       Champagne flutes

●       Other stemware

Around $0.40 to $1.80 per item
Flatware

●       Spoons

●       Forks

●       Knives

Around $0.30 to $1.15 for each item.

Dishware Rental Pricing

Broadly speaking, dishware is any tableware used to serve and carry food. This includes plain plates, salad plates, starter plates, dessert plates, bowls, and dishes. Each item’s cost varies slightly:

  • Plain plates range from $0.37 to $0.55 per piece
  • Salad plates range from $0.55 to $0.80 per piece
  • Starter plates range from $0.60 to $0.85 per piece
  • Starter dishes range from $0.60 to $0.85 per piece
  • Soup bowls range from $0.60 to $0.85 per piece
  • Dessert plates range from $0.60 to $0.85 per piece
  • One set of cups and saucers, which sometimes includes a spoon, range from $1 to $2.

Drinkware Rental Pricing

Drinkware is a category of tableware precisely designed to hold beverages. Drinkware has a wide array of options, each serving a different purpose or having a specialty.

Type of Drinkware Purpose or Specialty Cost Per Item
Basic wine glasses Wine $0.40
Basic water goblets Water $0.40
Highball glasses “Tall” cocktails and mixed drinks $0.40
Lowball glasses Spirits and mixed drinks $0.40
Pilsner glasses Light beer $0.40
Shot glasses Small servings of mixed drinks or spirits $0.40
Champagne flutes Champagne $0.50
Long-stemmed wine glasses Wine $0.55
Wine glasses with no stem Wine $0.55
Mason jars Miscellaneous (water, juice, iced tea, mixed drinks, etc.) $0.75
Brandy snifters Brandy $0.75
Margarita glasses Margarita $1.00

The table lists the most commonly rented types of drinkware for weddings. Depending on what beverages you plan on serving, you may find what you need above. Otherwise, ask the provider you are renting from for their entire catalog.

Flatware Rental Pricing

The collective term “flatware” constitutes spoons, forks, chopsticks, and other serving tools used as eating utensils. American usage of the term flatware includes knives, though some countries designate them to a different category: cutlery.

  • Standard dinner forks range from $0.40 to $0.60 per piece
  • Standard dinner spoons range from $0.40 to $0.60 per piece
  • Standard dinner knives range from $0.40 to $0.60
  • Premium dinner utensils start at $0.65 per piece

Factors that Affect Pricing

plates setup

The figures listed above are average prices based on information from multiple companies and sources. Every service provider will have different selections and prices for its items. Here are some factors that will affect how much you have to pay for your dinnerware rental.

Style and Make of the Items

The specific dinnerware’s design and materials used to manufacture it significantly influence its price; the more complex its composition and design, the more expensive it would be to rent.

For instance, whereas a standard white plate is priced at $0.40 to $0.50, opting for cream-colored plates costs $0.75. Moreover, a white plate with a gold rim costs $0.85.

This is also illustrated by the subtle difference in prices of standard and premium utensils. However, this difference will be widened if the utensil is brushed or plated with gold — amounting to around $1.10 each.

Venue and Catering Service

Venues have differing policies when it comes to their dinnerware. On one hand, some venues allow their dinnerware to be used either free of charge or for a service fee. On the other hand, some venues charge per head.

Similarly, for some catering services, dinnerware is complimentary, and you only pay for the labor of their servers. Other caterers charge per head for their dinnerware.

Size of Guest List

The amount of dinnerware you have to rent is directly proportional to the number of guests attending your event. Thus, it follows that a larger guest list will result in higher expenses in terms of dishware, drinkware, and flatware.

Additionally, some rental companies may have a minimum amount of dinnerware to be rented. If you plan on having an intimate gathering, renting dinnerware may not be a financially wise decision.

What You Plan on Serving

catering food

As established above, some food and beverages require dinnerware specifically made to serve them. For instance, champagne flutes are designed to hold the perfect amount of champagne for a toast. More examples include salad plates or bowls, soup bowls, brandy snifters, and Margarita glasses. Including these particular refreshments in your menu will necessitate the specialized dinnerware, thus resulting in more expenses.

Type of Event

A formal dinner requires more dinnerware: at least three different plates and bowls, at least three glasses for different beverages, plus the necessary flatware. A buffet dinner may necessitate approximately the same amount of dinnerware as a formal dinner. If your event is a cocktail or garden party, you may only need appetizer plates and drinkware. Disposable cutlery from stores may be perfectly fine for casual weddings.

Your Priorities

Many couples opt for the standard options. This allows them to spend more on other aspects of the wedding, such as working with a professional wedding photographer. If premium dinnerware is not a priority for you and your partner, this entails a smaller budget allocation [hyperlink to 20000 wedding budget article, not yet posted] for this category.

Cost of Living in Your Area

The Cost of Living Index details which states are more expensive to live in based on the national average. It found that Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have lower costs of living; in contrast, California, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Massachusetts have higher costs of living. An area’s cost of living determines the prices of commodities sold in its jurisdiction.

Tips for Renting Dinnerware for Your Wedding

tableware glasses

Rent Ahead of Time

It is recommended that you settle your dinnerware rentals at least two months before your special day. Doing so ensures that the company will be able to accommodate your request, as the wedding industry can get busy quickly. Specifically, many weddings take place during the months of April to June and September to October; at this time, you may want to place a request three to six months in advance.

Your guest list will most likely change before your special day — guests rescinding their acceptance, guests suddenly being able to attend. Renting ahead gives you flexibility in that aspect. However, make sure to inform the rental company and ask if they can accommodate the necessary changes.

Rent More Than What You Need

Rather than stressing yourself out looking for more plates or cutlery when the need arises, it is better to already have additional dinnerware on hand. Again, every event has contingencies — an item might get lost or broken, a guest may ask for a new plate, and so on. To be prepared, rent at least 10 extra dishware, flatware, and drinkware.

It is worth noting that depending on how your food will be served, you may need more plates. As an example, for a buffet-style dinner, it is recommended that you have 2½ dinner plates and 1½ dessert plates for each guest (e.g., for a reception of 50 guests, you may rent 125 dinner plates and 75 dessert plates). This allows them to have two or three servings with clean plates, or to utilize a separate plate for their salad or bread.

Be Patient and Meticulous

A quick Google search of rental companies in your area is a good place to start. Ideally, every company has reviews from past clients. You should be diligent in reading these reviews, so as to determine if the company can provide quality service for your wedding.

Once you find the right rental company, there is no harm in inquiring about certain details and asking for clarifications. Ask to see their selection or portfolio of dinnerware. Here are some more questions to ask the rental company:

  • Do you have a required minimum number of items?
  • Do you deliver? If so, how much is the delivery fee?
  • Are tips anticipated?
  • With all taxes and additional fees, what is the total price?
  • What are your policies with regards to broken or lost items?
  • How much is the insurance fee for broken or lost items?
  • Do we have to return the items after cleaning them ourselves?
  • When are we expected to return the dinnerware after the event?

Read the Fine Print

However tempting it may be to just affix your signature, reading the details will greatly benefit you and your partner. Chances are some of your questions are already answered in the contract from the rental company. Furthermore, you will get a deeper insight into how the company operates, its policies on various contingencies, and other pertinent information you need to know.

Alternatives to Renting Dinnerware

dinnerware wedding

If you find that renting dinnerware is not suitable for you and your partner, there are multiple alternatives you can explore:

1. Buy dinnerware in bulk

Most of the time, purchasing items in bulk is the cheaper option. Stores such as Dollar Tree, Costco, IKEA, Target, and Walmart carry dinnerware you can buy in packs of varying sizes. You can also find what you need on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Etsy.

The downside of buying dinnerware is that after your wedding, you will be left with dozens, if not hundreds, of dishes and glasses that you do not need. You can put it in storage until a friend or relative gets engaged, then you can let them have your dinnerware.

Although not particularly environmentally friendly nor aesthetically pleasing, you can also opt for single-use or disposable dinnerware.

2. Mix and match various items

Begin with what you already have available. Once you know how many items you still need, start looking around in different shops. Thrift shops, in particular, carry interesting items that can also be a conversation piece.

The resulting look would be a mishmash of many themes. Some people like this type of aesthetic, but it is not for everyone.

3. Borrow from friends and family

You may have a relative or a friend who recently got married; they might have opted to buy their own dinnerware. Ask them if they would be willing to lend what they have, and promise them that you will return it cleanly, completely, and promptly.

Final Thoughts

Dinnerware is part of the overall budget for wedding rentals; on average, a couple will spend $650 for event rentals. However, this figure includes other amenities such as tables, chairs, linens, equipment, and decorations.

Dishware can be rented at a price of $0.35 to $0.90. Drinkware rental pricing ranges from $0.40 to $1.80. For flatware, the average cost is $0.30 to $1.15 per item. Keep in mind that these numbers are only averages — various factors, such as the style of the dinnerware and the cost of living in your area, may influence the final price.

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