There's a growing trend in wedding and event decor. Instead of renting traditional folding chairs and covering rented tables in linen, people are turning to household furniture to outfit their weddings and parties. I often create fabulous seating areas in many different venues using sofas, lounge chairs, rugs, side tables, and unique lighting.
For outdoor weddings, I always recommend using actual garden furniture, such as these bamboo tables and chairs. And you'd be surprised how many rental companies offer them. These were sourced from Party Rental Ltd.
The key is to choose pieces that don't look foreign to the setting or the venue. The wicker seating shown here offered a more comfortable and non-traditional seating option for guests to enjoy the views of the river and the garden, but they don't draw attention away from the other details of the event.
I also love to find existing pieces that might already live on the property and include them in the seating areas. Here, we collected benches from all over the space to use as additional seating for the cocktail hour.
As for indoor seating (remember not everyone likes the summer heat), we included some of our own rental pieces along with chairs I discovered in the venue. Here,I created seating areas that could function as additional cocktail seating and as after-party/lounge seating. I especially love mixing classic pieces with modern details.
The library was the after-party dance space, so we included leather ottomans throughout the room for extra seating.
As you can see, furniture can really change the look and feel of a space. If you're trying to pull off this kind of look, remember that vintage furniture showrooms and garden stores can be the perfect inspiration. Many of these privately owned shops rent out pieces you might never find at most wedding venues or suppliers. Also look at interior design books and magazines for ideas. These can provide design tips for styling your wedding even if you're only looking for color inspiration or solutions for combining different styles and periods.
And last, but not least, check out my column in the current issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and let me know if you have any questions regarding rentals for your wedding!