5 Good Reasons to Rent Dishes for Thanksgiving

updated Dec 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

So, you’ve decided to host your very first Thanksgiving — congratulations! It’s a milestone and it’s going to be great, no matter how the turkey turns out. It’s the people, after all, who make a party. While we’re all in favor of the crappy dinner party (i.e., the paper-plate and come-as-you-are type of get-together), a holiday can justify a tiny bit more effort. It’s nice, on this special occasion, to pull out the fancy china.

But what if you don’t have fancy china? Or, forget fancy, what if you don’t have enough place settings period? What if you have seven plates (including one that’s chipped) and 10 guests are coming? What if you’re down to your last two wine glasses and they’re different sizes?

The answer is to rent.

1. Rentals are affordable.

If you don’t have enough plates or glasses or serving spoons (and even if you think you have enough serving spoons, you probably don’t), renting is, generally speaking, a more affordable option than going out and buying everything new.

A day rate, which is really three days (i.e., the day before, the day of the event, and the day after) starts at around $.40 for a basic white plate; stemware may cost somewhere between $.45 and $1 (or more if you’re going for crystal goblets); and flatware will typically set you back about $.35 to $.75 per piece. All in, you’re probably looking at $5 to $10 per place setting depending on how fancy you get.

Of course, you might be able to thrift your way to similar prices, and there’s always IKEA, but then there’s the question of where to store everything. Unless you’re planning to become an overnight Martha and start hosting weekly dinner parties, renting is the more economical choice.

2. Renting is a one-stop solution.

While most people are probably looking to rent plates, flatware, and stemware, rental companies offer pretty much everything, from tables and chairs to salt and pepper cellars. Don’t have enough platters? They have you covered. Need extra serving spoons? You can rent those, too. Make a list of what you need, cross off what you have, and chances are there’s a rental company that can provide the rest.

(Image credit: Borrowed Blu)

3. It’s fun to play dress up.

While many rental companies offer just fairly basic presentations — white plates, clear stemware, etc. — there are plenty that give you the chance to play dress up for the night. The above place setting is just one of many offered by tabletop rental company Borrowed Blu. If you’ve been wanting to try out gold flatware, this is your chance. Smokey goblets? Say yes for the night. Why not?

4. Rental companies deliver.

It’s true that getting things delivered can cut into the affordability of rentals. You may have to pay an extra fee — or there may be a minimum order amount before delivery is included gratis. But we think it’s worth it. Imagine: You find a local rental company, pick what you want, and have everything delivered to your door. Then, the day after, someone comes and picks it all up. Which brings me to the next (and, perhaps, most important) point.

5. Renting cuts down on cleaning time.

Even if you are very good at cleaning while you go, at the end of the night, you will have a sink-load and then some of dishes. The dishes will not all fit in your dishwasher and so you will have to either run multiple cycles or do the rest by hand.

Unless you are renting. In which case, you can just scrape food off the plates or empty those wineglasses into the sink and put them back in the crate they arrived in. And that is all. Someone else will wash them for you.

Do you ever use a rental service when you host large parties?