Why It Pays To Rent Glassware, According To Ina Garten

Ina Garten loves a good soiree, like a brunch get-together, garden party, or cocktail hour. And, no matter the occasion, the chef extraordinaire has a talent for effortless entertaining with tons of ideas for helping the event run smoothly, from tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving to her four dish rule for better dinner parties.

One of her hacks has to do with glassware. It's easy to get wrapped up in exciting recipes for food and beverages and forget about the actual logistics of serving everything. That is why in her book "Cooking Like A Pro," she suggests renting glasses to make sure you have plenty. Garten also says that it's a lot cheaper than you may think, and you don't even have to wash them before returning. How easy is that? 

After all, plates, bowls, and flatware are easy enough to load into the dishwasher quickly, but dealing with a bunch of glasses can quickly become a hand-washing nightmare.

How much does it actually cost to rent glasses?

Costs for renting glassware will vary depending on where you live, what company you work with, and the types of glasses you want (regular water glasses are the cheapest and specialty items like crystal or vintage goblets are the most expensive). Depending on what exactly you have your eye on, expect to spend somewhere between $.40 to $2 per piece, though you should have plenty of choices at or below $1 each. 

So, with a party of 25 people and Ina Garten's recommendation to have two glasses per person, you would spend no more than $100 on glassware, but you could likely keep that cost even closer to around $50. It really is not a bad deal considering you get the added benefit of saving time and effort on cleanup.

In general, Garten recommends a standard wine glass that can be used for both reds and whites as well as Champagne flutes, but catering and wedding rental companies will have lots of options. If your event is in a more whimsical outdoor setting, opt for mason jars or stemless wine glasses. Or, go for rocks or highball glasses if you are serving batched cocktails. You can even rent shooters if you want to serve a round of shots.

How to make the most of rented glasses

Ina Garten likes to use rented glassware to set up a streamlined, self-serve cocktail station at a table pushed against the wall or placed on a bar cart. She organizes the glasses in an attractive way and adds a beautiful vase of flowers for a touch of decor. As for the booze, she likes to do either a batch cocktail or chilled Champagne along with a few bottles of spirits, basic mixers, lots of ice, and fun garnishes. 

Consider adding in a non-alcoholic spirit, homemade shrub, infused simple syrups, and high-quality sparkling water to the spread for those that don't drink and to also have the opportunity to upgrade boozy cocktails. Just make sure to clearly label what contains alcohol and what does not.

Having a place where your guests can easily serve themselves takes quite a bit of pressure off of you as the host, too. People are able to enjoy as much or as little as they like, and it helps to keep folks from gathering in the kitchen as you put the final touches on the food.