A destination wedding can be planned and executed in so many different ways. If you are short of time, or you want something that is easy to plan, you could choose to get married at a resort. They offer wedding packages where the resort includes everything for you. It’s a very convenient way to plan a wedding fairly quickly.
But what if you are like me, someone who really cares for the personal details and the aesthetics of the wedding? You want something fully tailored to your style. And you don’t want to be restricted to choose from just a few alternatives? If that resonates with you, then this post is for you.
In this post I will be focusing only on the decorations part of a bespoke destination wedding.
First thing I recommend you to do, is that you from the beginning budget for special rentals. Chairs, tableware/decor etc. Some items might not be available to rent either, and would require that you buy them specifically for the wedding. Chairs here in Barcelona are typically somewhere between 5,00-10,00 EUR per chair plus transportation costs. Tableware and glassware are usually not very expensive and can begin from as little as 0,50 EUR/item, but it also depends on what style you go for. The rental companies usually have items in different price ranges.
But to start with, let’s assume that you’ve already booked OR at least found your dream venue in Barcelona. Let’s say that they do offer you some alternatives when it comes to table cloths, standard chairs, perhaps even some sort of centerpieces… But none of this speaks to you. So what do you do now? Bringing a lot of stuff with you on the flight is also very complicated. Luckily, there are alternatives.
Rentals through your wedding venue
Ask your venue if they have a rental company of trust who they work with. Even if many venues offer their own, basic decor and tableware, they sometimes rent some details. If they have a rental contact, you could just ask them to forward their contact to you so you can get in touch with them. Perhaps they even have their catalogue to give you. Some venues will take care of the communication with the rental company and arrange the set-up/tear down of everything on the day. But not every venue works like this, so make sure to ask.
If your venue doesn’t work with anyone in particular – or perhaps you just don’t like the style of the items of their trusted contact, I suggest that you ask the venue if they mind you bringing in material from another rental company. It’s important to ask them this question, because not all venues are keen on handling the communication with the rental company if it’s not their own, trusted contact. They might even charge you an additional fee for bringing in a company that they normally don’t work with.
Browse local rental companies
If the venue gives you OK to bring in someone else, you can start browsing! If you have a hard time finding companies googling English search terms, you can try Spanish terms instead such as: “Alquiler de mobiliario en Barcelona”, “Muebles para events en Barcelona“, or “Mobiliario de bodas en Barcelona”, and you should be able to find quite a few results! Keep in mind that rental companies will only provide you with the furniture, tableware, glassware, cutlery etc. This means that you would still need to figure out the stationery, seating plan, other signs, table numbers etc on your own, or have someone like a wedding planner or stylist do it for you. These items are not as easy to find for rent and might require you to do some shopping, specially if you want a specific style.
Also keep in mind that if you do decide to contact the rental company on your own, most of them are not usually in direct contact with the final clients. They usually rent their material to local wedding planners, event planners, hotels or venues. Therefore, not everyone might speak good English.
Delivery, set up & return of rental items
It’s important that you ask your venue when the rental company is allowed to deliver the material, and when they have to pick it up again. Some venues will allow you to store the material at the venue for a 1-2 days after the wedding until the rental company can come and pick it up. It’s ideal if they come the day after to collect everything, since you will return your tableware and glasses dirty. Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to wash them, the company takes care of it!
Some venues might charge you to store material after the wedding, and some won’t allow it if they have another wedding or event the day after. In that case, you can ask the rental company for a quote of how much it would cost if they would deliver and collect the same day (for example delivery early afternoon, and collect at midnight). The transportation cost will obviously increase considerably. It’s very important that you check immediately that you have received everything that you ordered in the moment of the delivery, and double check that everything is there when they pick it up. If you do this without a wedding planner, I suggest you assign the task to someone – you don’t want to be worrying about these type of details on your wedding day.
Rentals through catering company
If you are opting for a private villa venue/private property for your wedding, you will usually have a catering company doing your food. They are usually the ones who bring in all the furniture to the venue as well for the wedding. Many catering companies include basic material such as tables, table cloths, and standard chairs in their menu price. Some will let you choose between a few options. I’m going to tell you a secret… The catering companies rent all their materials from the rental companies as well. Yes, it’s true.
So if you are working with a catering firm, you might as well ask them for their catalogue (aka the catalogue of the company that they rent from). It’s usually no problem at all to change or add things for an additional cost. A plus with this is that they have a well established contact with the rental companies and will be able to offer you more customized options when it comes to table cloths, napkins, tableware, chargers, glassware and cutlery.
Some catering companies will even set up the ceremony chairs for you, but make sure to ask since some might take out a additional fee for it. This is probably one of the most convenient ways of doing it because then you just need to handle a delivery from the catering company who will be there anyways, and don’t need to think about receiving a delivery of rental material from another company as well!
Items that can’t be rented
There will obviously also be some items that cannot be rented. If you are looking to have a really bespoke design, you need to think about how you can bring these items with you to Spain. You would need to be a bit creative when it comes to the seating plan and signage. Perhaps choose something that can be rolled up or folded. Or come up with a concept that’s easy, and doesn’t require that you transport anything to Spain. For example having a seating plan table made of wine bottles where you can write the names of the guests. You can easily buy the bottles upon arrival and just bring the pen.
If you have help from a wedding planner or stylist, they will many times allow you to ship things beforehand to them and they will store it until your wedding day. This is a conversation you need to have with them. In case it would be e lot of material, it’s always possible to rent a Bluebox storage space for a few months.
And that’s it! I hope you found some useful information about how you can get a bespoke and stylish wedding abroad! And if you think that this is a bit overwhelming, feel free to reach out to me. I offer full wedding planning service in Barcelona which also includes the styling part. As an alternative, I also offer just the styling and decor, in case you only would like to have help with that!