Linens can transform any wedding venue or space into something extra divine or simply special. They deliver texture, drama, color and theme. They can be multi-layered, shimmery soft or patterned. Linens are the footprint of your wedding – you build from there using chairs, floral and stationary. They are the biggest piece of color you can provide to show your wedding style and they also can be exceedingly expensive.
There are countless fabrics now available to be rented for weddings, but they all require some of the same things, which affects why linens can become an investment to your day. First of all, linens have to be shipped to the city and venue of your reception. That requires the prep: washing, ironing, folding, wrapping, boxing and labeling, as well as shipping costs. Next, the linens have to be delivered to your ballroom. Some places require the linen staff to set up the linens, chair covers, ties and napkins, and other places will use their ballroom staff to do so. Usually there is a fee involved in whatever case you choose; sometimes the ballroom staff are included in your venue fee. Next, the linens have be torn down at midnight or on a Sunday or Monday, so there is a fee for that labor, and the reboxing and re-shipping back, and then the cleaning and washing and finishing of the soiled used linens.
That’s the basics on linen care, all of which need to be covered by linen companies. Some businesses will charge you ala carte for each thing – offering you a chance to set up your own linens and save on set-up fees, for instance. Others will do everything for one single flat inclusive fee. It’s worth it to ask if you’re pinching pennies a bit.
The type of linen you choose will also affect cost. The most inexpensive linen is a poly-cotton blend. It’s usually the basic linen in white or ivory offered at your venue, though make sure your venue offers floor length ones. Then, you work your way up into shantungs, brocades, and bengalines, which all offer various degrees of light texture and shimmer. There are twists, large textured patterns and sheers. All of these come in endless colors and slightly varying costs. Once you getting into beaded, sequined and 3-D patterned linens, especially overlays and lacey types, you will see a huge rocket in price. Remember that and use these unique pieces in one or two statement places, such as the cake table or escort card table or head table if you’re watching your wallet but still want to have some fun.
You can add a bit of color while still using house venue linens by renting only chair covers and ties, or ties only, or colored napkins. Or simply rent linens just for the cocktail tables and head tables and keep everything else elegantly neutral.
Either way, linens can make or break a space, so choose wisely and colorfully, and you won’t go wrong.
Photography by Front Room, Hanle Productions and Jennifer Johnson, respectively.