Go compostable. Compostable cutlery, plates, and glasses are affordable, and can look nice with a table arrangements. They’re lightweight and eco-friendly, providing a simple way to dish up meals AND cart out waste — -everything goes in big compostable garbage bags and into the free (in cities that have compost and commercial composters) to dispose of. Skip rentals of cutlery, plates, buying plates, etc. However DO rent serving dishes, tongs, serving items, cake stands, etc. They’re high quality, look good, and less expensive than buying. Plus, they take care of most of the cleaning and drop off/pick up your serving wear. You can also rent linens from the same companies, and I went with renting gorgeous fabric runners ($4 each), which can be used as table ties on high top tables. I purchased (at a restaurant supply store — most will welcome the public if you’re buying for a big event) plastic table cloths, table cloth clips, stereo/chafing dish sets for a fraction of the price of rentals. Also, get your compostables there, too.