Instead of renting, we bought stainless steel flatware for our wedding, and resold it after the wedding. This ended up being less expensive than using disposables. Here are some links:WNA Comet MP6IPREM 6" Ivory Masterpiece Plate with Gold Accent Bands, which are high-end disposables that look like china. We didn't like the look of normal paper or plastic plates. At the same time, the shipping costs for "real" china plates were high enough that it didn't make economic sense to buy them, plus carrying them all into our venue would have been a major chore. And renting plates would have been more expensive than buying the plates we did.
These plates will not fool anyone--they are lightweight enough so that anyone picking one up will realize it is not china. However, they looked nice enough so that they didn't bring down the tone of the wedding.
For both champagne and drink glasses, we used plastic glasses from Instawares. While they were not fancy, they got the job done. And we really did not want to try to transport and set up large numbers of heavy and breakable glasses.
As discussed in the food and drink section, NotFroofy made our cake. Instead of being a normal tiered cake, we decided to have a cascading cake, in which each layer is on a separate stand. This makes the architecture of the cake simpler, as there is no fear of a layer sliding sideways or falling off. It also allows for more flexibility in the type of cake, since a bottom layer does not have to be dense enough to support the weight of the layers above it.
We started with this set of four Crystal Splendor cake stands, purchased on eBay. As you can see, it has a separate stand for each "layer" of the cake. (NotFroofy actually made a two-layer cake for each of the stands.)
Because the stands were clear acrylic, we were able to decorate the inside of them, and have the decorations show through the stand. Above is how we decorated the tallest one. It had Floralytes, acrylic diamonds, and fake flowers from Michael's inside it.
We bought this silverplated Towle Copenhagen cake server set from a Craigslist seller.
The "topper" (actually on the bottom layer of the cake) was a traditional Welsh love spoon made by Andeezartinwood. The custom of carving and giving Welsh love spoons originated in Wales hundreds of years ago. The men of today would probably buy flowers, chocolates or jewelry as a token of affection. Centuries ago in Wales, the young lover would give gifts of sweets or cakes; but they would also give a special, more personal gift to the object of their desire, the Welsh love spoon. Some of the early love spoons can be seen on display at the Welsh Folk Museum in Cardiff. There is even one that dates back to 1667.
The man would spend hours carving the spoon with his own hands from a single piece of wood, in the hope that the woman would accept it. If the woman accepted the spoon, that would demonstrate her interest in him and they would begin a relationship. This is the origin of the word “spooning.”
The men put a great deal of time and thought into their creations. Wales was a poor society whose youth could not afford presents of expensive jewelry, and therefore they would do their utmost to create as beautiful spoons as possible. Practical skills in a husband would have been very desirable and a beautifully carved spoon would demonstrate the man's abilities. Spoons could also suggest food on the table, and a cozy family life, which would impress on the woman his ability to care for her and a family.
The carvers would attempt to create more and more intricate designs as they vied for the attractions of a certain woman. The more complicated and difficult to carve a design, the more it would symbolize the depth of the creator's love and desire to labor on behalf of his loved one.
Each portion of the spoon has a particular symbolism. Here are the ones in ours:
We provided a page explaining all of this to our guests, and simply put a stack of the pages next to the cake for guests to take. As with our other paper products, the design of the page was based on the design of our ketubah.