Candles are generally not rented unless they are LED. You can purchase vases at the Dollar Tree if guests intend to take them home which most don’t. You also have to factor in labor of setup/tear down/transportation at minimum wage per hour of whichever guests you recruit to do the work. So renting through the florist is cheaper.
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For me, it was cheaper and easier going through the florist. It’s their stock so they will set up and take down. If you buy your own even at Dollar Tree you’ll still have to set up and arrange removal. And be stuck with a bunch of vases you can’t get rid of.
Our florist had very limited options. They said they could buy (and then reuse) what we were interested in, but they would charge us slightly more (than other items) to rent them (in case they don’t use that style for a while/offset storage costs). I looked at event rental companies, but I didn’t see a lot of items I liked, they had tight deadlines to setup and pickup/return, and charged extra fees for transport (as they were all located over 1 hour away). We decided to buy our own vases (Joann Fabrics), candle holders (Amazon/eFavormart), battery-operated tea lights (Joann Fabrics), etc., and, even if we aren’t able to resell anything, it ended up being slightly cheaper for us to just buy when things were on sale. As another poster mentioned, we do have to set-up everything, but we didn’t see that as an obstacle as we are able to set-up at our venues before/after our rehearsal. It may have been cheaper to work with a larger florist, but it was important for us to choose/work with small businesses/local vendors.