Hiring Vintage China
The most pleasurable element to a vintage style wedding is that no-one will make any assumptions about what to expect. Whether you choose a theme, a year or style for the day, or just an eclectic mix of different eras a vintage style wedding is great fun for everyone. We are often asked by our clients the difference between hiring vintage china and purchasing it themselves. Our advice is as follows:
Although purchasing vintage crockery can be exciting, you are likely to pay between £3 and £5 for a trio (cup, saucer, plate) and depending on where you are buying from there could be additional postage on top to consider. Even a three-tier cake plate can cost you £20 and you may need 10 of these depending on the size of your guest list. You will pay a fraction of this price from a hire company. If you are thinking of buying via the internet, however, there are some criteria you need to be aware of:
1...not all items are as perfect as they seem in the photo. Even though a seller’s description may say “excellent undamaged, no chips or cracks, but some wear to pattern or gilding” this may not always be the truth. We have purchased items via the internet and they ended up in the bin as the wear and tear had literally ‘worn and gone’ - some seller will refund, but you are going to have to pay for the items to be returned and, as is nearly always the case, YOU end up out of pocket starting again.
2...you could end up in a bidding war too, if you set your heart on a tea service and it goes up and up and up you could blow a quarter of your budget in seconds - do you know when to stop bidding?
3...if any item is damaged in the post or in fact smashed you cannot claim against either the seller or the Royal Mail. The Royal Mail Do NOT under any circumstances insure or refund for fragile items being damaged in the post; neither do couriers.
4...once you have purchased, stored and used them on your big day you then have to decide what to do with them, and here is my biggest word of warning - YOU WON’T MAKE YOUR MONEY BACK! Especially if you got into a bidding war and paid well over the odds. If you are happy to loose money, worry about breakages in the post, possibly having to refund a buyer if they demand it via paypal/eBay then go ahead and buy them, but if you want to save money and not have any worries at all - hire!
Hiring from a company also means your items are delivered the day before, collected a day after and usually for a small fee (often included) they are washed by the hire company after collection. This means you don’t have to worry about finding someone with steady hands to do it, (hotels won’t, it’s not their responsibility) and less breakages - vintage crockery is very fragile and having the additional worry about breakages whilst washing up is wavered. Most hire companies will charge you “damage deposit“, this is refundable in full if ALL items are returned undamaged and in the packaging they were supplied in. If they aren’t the cost of replacing each item is taken from the insurance fee and what ever is left is returned to you after the wedding - in some cases this could be the cost of a teapot at £20, two cake plates at £20 each - you will be paying the replacement price and not the hire price - let the hire company wash up for you!
Additional advice about styling. The majority of vintage party companies offer a Styling Service, this means they can advise on how to set the scene of your wedding or party and will work with a wedding planner if you are using their services. If you are using a wedding planner ask if they can recommend a local company. Some hire companies will offer different services within “styling” so it’s best to read through their website or brochure to see what they have to offer you and how much they charge for this additional service.
Hire companies may also have additional vintage props, such as napkins, tablecloths, bunting, vases, candles sticks, and have contacts for entertainment such as singers and dancers.
Although at first it appears unlikely hiring vintage crockery is advantageous if you are on a budget especially if you find a company that will also supply your catering. It doesn’t matter what the size of your wedding party, or whether it’s your first, second or third marriage hire your crockery from a vintage hire company and have the wedding that will be remembered by everyone!