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  • Writer's pictureShannon K. Wendt-Heath

The ultimate guide to renting wedding linens (top 10 tips)

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

What is meant by wedding "linens"? The term "linens" includes tablecloths, runners, overlays, chair sashes or covers, and napkins. Does your venue supply any? Are they just the boring white (or black or ivory)?

And are the guest and head-table linens provided floor length? Are they just an overlay? Do the other tables (dessert, cocktail, etc.) need linens? These are the questions to ask before deciding to rent linens for your wedding or event.

If your venue does not provide them, or the ones they provide are not the look you want, think about what look and feel you are going for when it comes to the tables. The tables are where guests will spend the most time. What would you like them to see as they enter your reception? How would you like their table settings to look?

And the biggest question of all: does it make more sense to rent or buy. Please see this blog to help answer that question.

Since I am assuming for the purposes of this blog that you are renting, here are my tips for renting linens for a northern Michigan wedding or event.

All the Choices!

10) Linens come in a variety of colors, designs, and fabric: polyester-cotton blends, matte satin, Panama (a heavy linen-style blend) and velvet happen to be our most popular. Which of these choices seems to fit your "feel" most closely? If none of these are "it", there are also choices such as damask and even custom and handmade options to name a few more that we offer.

9) Once you've narrowed down a few styles, you'll need to determine the sizes and shapes. For example, are all of the guest tables 5' rounds? Are all of the tables for the head-table 8' banquets (rectangles)? This information should have been provided by your venue with the packet you received upon booking. If not, reach out!

8) Determine a rough estimate of guest count for the round tables and calculate how many attendants will be seated at a head-table (if you're doing one). If you have chosen to do all banquets, or another set-up option, check with your venue to determine those sizes and quantities.

7) Sweetheart tables (for just the two of you) are typically smaller than 8', so the linen will be smaller and typically a bit less expensive. At many venues you can choose a smaller rectangle or round if you do a sweetheart. You'll need the dimensions here to determine what size linen to rent.

Your Local Rental Business

Once you have decided to rent your linens, check with your venue to see if they have a preferred provider's list for decor rentals. If not, Google is your friend here. Search companies nearest your venue. Most wedding rental companies are full-service and carry just about any style of linen you can dream of. Heart Wedding Design, Styling and Rentals does!

Like other wedding vendors in northern Michigan, decor rental companies such as Heart tend to book well in advance. Be sure to book linen (and any other) rentals a minimum of six months in advance. Be sure to ask about delivery, set up and tear down policies or if the linens can be picked up and returned. We have found that most of our couples prefer us to take care of everything. The last thing you want to do is buy cheap linens that fall apart after being washed once, not to mention they will have to be ironed/pressed and then properly stored. And then what will you do with them? Try to sell them?

The Elephant in the Room: Cost

The price of linen rentals varies from company to company and depends largely on size/style chosen. Contact companies for a quote, or check the website for exact pricing information. In the northern Michigan market, tablecloths can cost anywhere from $13 for a white poly-cotton floor-length guest (5') table linen to $50+ for specialty fabrics. Banquets (8' rectangles) start around $22.50 for poly-cotton.

Expect to pay at least $10 for a poly-cotton table runner and $3+ for a chair cover. And don't forget to factor in additional costs. Delivery, set-up and tear down will add to those rental charges, if not factored into pricing. Many companies also require a minimum order cost be met. But if the rental company you are looking into also offers other rentals (table decor items, candles, lounge furniture, signs and table numbers, etc.) as we do, it's typically easy to meet any minimums.

A booking fee, or "deposit", is standard when ordering linens. Deposit requirements differ, however, most are around 50% of the total order cost. Most companies also charge a "damage waiver" which is like an insurance policy against damages. Here at Heart, our "Picture Perfect Fee" allows our couples a worry-free rental if any linens are damaged or stained. Note: Always read (and make sure you understand) any company's polices before placing an order.

Do you have any questions about renting linens? Shoot me a message, call or text. I would love to chat about renting linens! They are one of the "biggest bangs" for your rental buck.

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