Well, I can't help you with number 1, but for number 2, it depends on when you want to go. If you're going in the early winter, or right after fallen snow, you'll want a warmer, waterproof jacket. Spring snowboarding you can get by with a water resistant wind breaker. No matter when you go I'd reccomend a good pair of waterproof pants, (your first time, you WILL fall a lot, everyone who's ever snowboarded does) There's another thread on the Gen Equipment Talk about the meanings of the waterproof ratings. Get a good pair of gloves, and goggles as well. The goggles don't have to be top of the line, nor do the gloves, but don't get the cheapest ones either. The expensive ones are overkill, and cheap will leave you cold. Everywhere I've been to, even my little loca mountain, rents boards. Also, explore the option of renting in-town near the resort, they can be cheaper, in some cases by up to $15 a day. Every places has it's standard boots-board-bindings package.
I never took lessons learning, I just tumbled down the hill until I picked it up. However, that's how I learn best. I signed my sister up for lessons the time I took her, andshe learned a lot from it, the instructor helped her progress and helped her weak areas.
Before you go, read these two threads, it covers basic mountain stuff, like the chairlift, and how to turn, so that your first time will be MUCH more enjoyable, and you won't feel so lost.
My last thing, consider renting a helmet. I didn't wear one my first season, and hit my head hard a couple times when I was falling. As demonstrated by the unfortunate accident earlier this year, even beginners can do serious damage to their heads on a green run. My personal story was watching someone hit an icy patch, and fall into a rock and had to be shuttled to the bottom on a ski patrol sled and air lifted to the hospital. He came out of the coma a week later, and I actually caught up with him 6 weeks later at a different mountain by chance. He had a helmet this time.