There’s one element of a wedding that plays a huge role in tone and decor but is frequently underappreciated: wedding furniture. Furniture is part of both the ceremony and the reception, takes up large amounts of space in any venue, and is part of every individual guest’s experience. It’s in almost every photo taken on the day. It needs to be attractive and stylish, but also functional: a table or chair collapsing at an inopportune moment can ruin even the most beautiful wedding.
Some of the most common furniture pieces for a wedding include:
- Ceremony seating
- Table and chairs for signing paperwork
- Backdrop, arbour, arch or other structure for ceremony
- Tables and display furniture for showing mementos, photos etc.
- Photo session prop furniture (e.g. a nicely upholstered couch)
- Reception tables
- Reception dining chairs
- Couches, arm chairs, and coffee tables
- Bars and bar carts
- Buffet tables and servers
- Sign holders and easels
- Screens and dividers
- Planters and greenery
There are four main stages to finding the right wedding furniture for you: Be inspired by online roundups and photo shoots, get practical and plan to ensure all your needs are met, hire what you can, and then shop for some beautiful feature pieces.
Before anything is booked or bought, it’s a good idea to know what sort of wedding furniture is available and what different possibilities exist in terms of style and function. Start by browsing online. Look at wedding and event blogs, and spend some quality time on Pinterest. Browse furniture stores online to see what is trending in homes: it’s increasingly popular to pass up standard ‘event’ furniture for pieces that look like they could have come straight from your place. Sites like House of Home that collate furniture available from different stores are particularly useful for this, rounding up things like dining chairs, dining tables, lounge seating and cabinets and display cases. Keep track of what you like and write a list of possible furniture styles you might be interested in having as part of your big day.
Once you’ve gathered some inspiration and know the styles you like, it’s time to consider all the practicalities so you can make concrete plans. Consider the style of wedding you are throwing, and your budget. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on furniture. Contact your venue(s) and confirm what furniture they provide and whether or not it will cost extra. If they offer different options, make arrangements to go in and make your choices.
Take the list of possible wedding furniture that you created during the inspiration-seeking stage, and whittle it down. Create a list of the furniture you absolutely need (e.g. seats for your guests), and a list of the furniture you want but don’t need (e.g. display cabinets). Mark off what is provided by the venue, and consider what you might hire, purchase, or borrow.
It’s likely that you will hire most of the furniture you need for your wedding. Most people don’t want to purchase 200 dining chairs for one event, and probably don’t have the opportunity to borrow that many chairs from a friend either. You may be hiring the furniture as part of the venue package, or you may be dealing specifically with event hire companies. Hire companies have really grown up in the last few years. You’re no longer constrained to ugly and uncomfortable plastic bucket seats and folding tables just because you’re hiring in bulk. Businesses like LENZO hire out beautiful furniture that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a magazine. It’s always a good idea to place your order as soon as possible to ensure that you get the pick of the range and that everything you want is available on your chosen date.
Once you’ve worked out what wedding furniture you can hire, you can begin to fill in any gaps by other means. If you have the budget for it, consider purchasing some feature pieces. This allows you to choose things that are the absolute dream: a beautifully crafted table for signing the register, a plush upholstered couch to sit in while the minister gives a sermon, or a fancy timber display cabinet to show photos and hold programs. Purchasing furniture pieces like this also gives you the possibility of keeping a furniture memento in your home after the big day. Of course, if you don’t want to put these pieces in your own home, you can pass them on to a friend or resell them.
It’s hard to overstate how important wedding furniture is to the decor of your big day. If you take the time for all these steps, you’ll be sure to find the perfect furniture to create your dream wedding atmosphere and aesthetic.