I love the lounge furniture trend at weddings and events. It’s comfortable (it is called lounge furniture after all), it creates little nooks within your event space for guests to connect or reconnect.
But it’s not cheap. In fact, it can be exorbitantly expensive to rent.
I’m used to working with nonprofits who aren’t into the idea of dropping several hundred dollars to rent two couches, but I love using lounge furniture or similar items at my events. Here are some of my suggestions for saving some money on lounge furniture:
Use what the venue has on hand
Some venues (often hotels) will let you use whatever they have on hand for your event. When working with a hotel, usually you don’t pay a separate rental fee for chairs, tables, basic linens, silverware, glassware, etc. It’s all built into the cost of your food and beverage. (You didn’t think those bacon wrapped scallops ACTUALLY cost $4.50 a piece, did you!?). As such, I’ve found hotels to be very accommodating when it comes to utilizing lounge furniture they have on hand.
They might have a few armchairs and a loveseat in a foyer that will be unused the day of your event. Ask if they’d be willing to move the furniture into your space. Most of the time they will oblige.
The same goes for other types of furniture. If you’re hosting a panel discussion and prefer your presenters to be in wingback chairs, they might have them for you. I’ve even had a hotel remove chairs from a boardroom (big fancy leather chairs) and let me incorporate them into my event. Just don’t do that if you want to use the chairs on a stage and the chairs have casters – that’s a recipe for disaster.
I’ve personally never been charged for this. That doesn’t mean a hotel can’t charge you, but it never hurts to ask.
Pick a venue based on its existing furniture
If having soft furnishings (aka lounge furniture) is crucial for your event, look into venues that already provide this furniture in their space. I’ve seen some fun galleries that have a few couches scattered around. Since the furniture is already there, they probably won’t charge you for it (or you should negotiate this).
See what other events in your venue are using
If there is another event the day before or after your event in the same space, if they are renting furniture, you might be able to get a significant discount to rent the same exact furniture since the rental company wouldn’t need to pick up and drop off again. Of course you might not have the same taste and there is also the risk that the furniture might be become damaged in some way, but it can be a significant enough savings to be worth the risk.
Buy (I mean rent…) in bulk
If you are hosting multiple events over a period of time and can commit to renting a certain number of items from the same company, ask if they will give you a discount due to the volume of sales.
Have it donated or sponsored
See if a donor or sponsor would be interested in sponsoring the lounge area. You could provide signage and branding opportunities for the sponsor, such as a pillow that says, “This comfy seat brought to you by X.” You could play this up further by offering special food and beverage in the area to really create a separate space.
What are your suggestions for saving money on lounge furniture rentals? Also – what are your thoughts on the indoor-furniture-outdoors trend? I kind of like it! What do you think?
All photos via AFR Furniture Rental