Rental companies help you put the finishing touch on your reception decor.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

At almost every wedding, tables and chairs have to be arranged. They take up the most space, are the most noticeable part of the event and are maybe the most important.

But they are hardly ever the most impressive aspect of wedding decoration.

While the macro details of a wedding are usually front-of-mind for couples, it is the micro where personality can shine through most brightly—which means selections should not be saved for the last minute. For some couples, they might even be a top priority.

The choices for place settings, centerpieces, linens and backdrops can seem nearly limitless, but there are plenty of resources in Central Ohio to guide couples through the decision-making process.

Tony Cook and the team at Taylor Rental Party Plus rent out almost anything imaginable for special events: tables and chairs, linens, décor, dance floors, tableware and lighting, of course, but also inflatable playhouses, food and bar service items, and party machines serving cotton candy, popcorn and sno-cones.

Cook recommends approaching a potential rental company as early as possible in the wedding-planning process.

“I always go with ‘the earlier, the better’ when it comes to weddings,” he says. “To be sure our customers get exactly what they want, I recommend they begin the rental [reservation] process as early as possible.”

The company works with engaged clients who are at all levels of preparedness, and Cook says that even last-minute or emergency requests can sometimes be accommodated, depending on inventory and staffing levels.

The first step for Taylor Rental, after the information-gathering process, is the development of a computer-aided design, taking the guesswork out of the visualization process.

“Some people know exactly what they want, and others don’t even know where to start,” Cook says. “We do our best to give them as much information as possible, so they understand their options.”

Working with rental companies to prepare for the big day is crucial to making sure that all the pieces are in place, and both rental companies and married couples agree that it is best to go in to the initial conversations with an idea of what is desired.

Ariana and Eric Harris, who wed in March 2018 at the Columbus Museum of Art, rented linens and tableware from Connie Duglin Linen and Event Source, respectively, both of which were found through their wedding planner.

The Harrises worked with Event Source to decide what to rent, but they knew exactly what they wanted by the time they moved on to Connie Duglin. Ariana’s advice to other couples? Think long and hard about the overall look and feel you want to achieve before going in to the rental process.

“Try to go in having an idea of what you want [so] the process won’t be as overwhelming as far as choosing the perfect linen or tableware,” Harris says.

Beyond the necessities offered through most rental companies, specialty services can bring a taste of extravagance to your event.

Rock on Ice provides ice sculptures, along with carved pumpkins, sand sculpting and food art. Master carver Gregory Butauski has been at it for 25 years, and his story has its origins in his years at the University of Akron.

“I was walking to class one day and saw a student carving ice on campus, and I started asking questions. The next day I switched majors from engineering to culinary arts,” he says.

While he competes in national ice sculpting competitions and has created sculptures as high as 30 feet, Butauski says most couples prefer a classic look, one that can incorporate names or initials, for their weddings.

“Sometimes they turn it into an ice luge to pour liquor drinks through,” he adds. A fun twist on that display: a shrimp-cocktail-filled tower of ice, as Stephanie and Nathaniel Marks had at their Aug. 8 wedding. Their venue, the Hilton Columbus Downtown, arranged the display, which also included raw oysters.

Butauski recommends initiating the process for an ice sculpture a few months out from your wedding date, though he says some work requires as much as a year to prepare. For the most part, the actual carving of the piece takes four to six hours, though custom or larger orders can take longer.

Carvings start at $375 and can go into tens of thousands of dollars, though Butauski says that the cost for weddings averages around $450.

Butauski has carved giant lizards down to the scales and mermaids with water splashing around them—things do not have to get that complicated, but it might be a comfort to know they can. That goes for almost everything one could want for their wedding; for a price, things can be as extravagant as desired. But elegance doesn’t have to cost a lot, and there are plenty of renters around who can arrange a tasteful and affordable rental haul for the big day.