On Tuesday, I introduced Matt Hennessy of Bridge Props as this week's expert. Here are his answers to your questions (and a few of our own).
1. I'm getting married in an industrial loft space next year. We plan to utilize the size of the space to create separate areas for the ceremony, cocktails, sit-down dinner and a dance floor (the converted ceremony space). We don't have a big budget for rentals, but do want to create some lounge vignettes for the cocktail hour and again after dinner to encourage our 160 guests to get up from the tables and mingle. What would you recommend we get to create some of those more social areas in a large space without a massive rental budget?
MH: Lofts are great spaces to do events in. Make more opportunities to mingle by creating groupings of oversized ottomans, which can be easily moved around the loft between the different stages of the evening. You can usually find them in a variety of colors, but white is always a classic choice. You might also want to try small mirrored occasional tables (as opposed to clunky coffee tables). The mirror will bounce light around the room lending a twinkling atmosphere.
2. I'm getting married at the Foundry in LIC next summer and the idea of rentals sounds fun and...daunting. How do I get started and how much can I expect this all to cost? I'm having about 125 people. I know I want long tables for a seated dinner, high tops and some lounge furniture -- but other than that I'm clueless.
MH: Long wooden dining tables without tablecloths will cost significantly more than traditional rental tables with linens, so decide what's most important to you. Sticking with just two to three lounge areas -- rather than guaranteeing everyone a seat on a sofa -- is another good way to keep costs down.
3. I'm having an outdoor wedding and want to keep the theme very casual and relaxed for my guests. How would you suggest doing this and what are some of the best items to rent that will weather the great outdoors?
MH: Try to pick natural and neutral fabrics, like unbleached linen or ivory linen, as opposed to silks or satins. A tent is great way to contain the party and give some structure your wedding. Avoid any fancy or stuffy furniture in favor of natural woods and fabrics. Simple modular seating in wicker with canvas cushions, or scattered teak benches throughout the property are great choices.