Unless you work in events – or have a penchant for throwing swanky parties – chances are, you’ve never rented table linen before.

So when it comes to knowing what exactly you’ll need for your wedding, well, it can leave you stumped. Should you go for classic white or opt for a colour? What makes a good quality linen? How long to they need to be for your table size? What if you add extra tables at the last minute?

Who knew there was so much to consider when it comes to tablecloths, napkins and runners!

To today on the blog, we have the lovely Erin Ollendike, Executive National Sales Director at BBJ Linen, who’s been working in events for nine years. She’s been kind enough to share her best tips on sourcing linens for your wedding day, so take it away Erin…

Photo via BBJ Linen

The linen you select for your wedding reception sets the tone, style, and basic theme for your presentation. As the linen covers more square footage than any other design element, it is vital that you choose the perfect color, pattern, and texture.

Here are 10 things that will help you find and hire the perfect linen vendor and create an unforgettable wedding table design. 

1. All in the Details

It’s the little things that make a wedding table special. In modern table design, the details matter more than ever.

A lovely napkin fold, a fresh rosebud, or a unique small gift all make the table that much more intimate and interesting. The details are what will make your wedding table perfect.

Choose a professional, service-oriented linen vendor who can help you with all your questions.

2. Go Bold

When choosing linen, be bold. Your tablescapes are going to be the first thing your guests will see when entering your reception.  

Choose something that will showcase your personality and create a memorable impact.

Photo via BBJ Linen

3. Create Focal Points

Make an impact by choosing luxury linen for the high-profile tables at your event – and include the escort table and cake table!

Every guest attending the event will see and interact with these tables and they make a big impression. Make it the right one!

4. Mix it up

Like creating a magical room design, a wedding table becomes something original and luxurious when you use a variety of colors, textures and patterns throughout your event.

Choose focus tables to showcase bold patterns or richly, textured linen to add visual interest to your event space.

Tables like highboys take up so much visual space and can add great visual interest when done in bold patterns.  Cake tables and head tables, too, are great way to add to your design.

Photo via BBJ Linen

5. Avoid Surprise Fees

When hiring a linen vendor, review the contract carefully to ensure that there are no hidden fees. Check the line item price, as well as every other part of the contract so you avoid costs like “damage waivers” or “handling fees.”

If you see you are being hit with added costs, move onto another vendor, or negotiate these items off your contract.

6. Think Logistics

Nail down the exact timeline for shipping linen, pickup, or other logistical point.

Ensure you know exactly when your linen will arrive, and when it will be picked up. You don’t want to be charged extra days because you have the wrong timeline.

Always book enough for extra tables to be safe. Ask your linen vendor how they keep track of their inventory so you are confident you won’t be left scrambling at the last minute.

Photo via BBJ Linen

7. Ask for Advice

Your linen vendor should be able to help you with questions about design and what colors and textures make a good match, as well as offer advice on current trends and fresh style ideas and combinations.

The right vendor will go above and beyond to assist you.

8. Be Sure About Sizing

Worried about linen size? That is understandable. Get help from your linen vendor in selecting the correct size for the perfect drape.

They should know their business cold, and can provide you with the information you need. If they can’t, find a vendor that manages these issues for you.

9. Advance Planning

Reserve your table linen a month (or more) in advance to ensure you get the linen you want.

Many linen companies have limited stock – the last thing you want is to be informed that the exact linen you want is sold out. Some linen vendors carry huge inventories, and these vendors are typically far better to deal with.

Select well-known companies that manufacture their linen products in-house, and if sold out, they manufacture what you want at no charge – a big advantage.

Once you have set your mind on a specific color and design, it is important to be able to move forward without big changes or having to rethink due to a low-stock issue with a vendor.

Linens by BBJ Linen, Photo by Austin Gros via Big Events Inc

10. Be Adventurous.

Your wedding reception or shower is a significant event in your life, and should be perfection. Think about the unique tastes and interests that make you who you are, and bring those concepts to the table to make it unforgettable.

Push the boundaries. No matter what colors or styles you like, they exist, from the classic whites to stunning velvet textures, lace, and everything in between.

Browsing through the catalog options will stimulate your creativity – let it flow! Layers of textures bring a luxurious feel to your tables, and every idea can become a reality.

Your wedding table design starts with a basic concept that grows as the ideas start to flow. Take plenty of time to browse and look for something unique in the linen you select. It is surprising how much difference this will make in your design and theme.

Look over some of the recent trends in table design to stimulate your imagination, or call upon a professional wedding designer who has the skills to listen and understand the ideas you have, and run with them.

The right designer will give you several options. It is a process that you should enjoy – make the most of it, and have fun!