Wedding Linens – To Rent or Not to Rent?

There are lots of little things that you may want to DIY for your big day. Tablecloths are a big part of your wedding décor and as such need a little bit more attention. There are also many sites on-line that you may purchase linens. Yes, many of these tablecloths are less expensive to purchase. But as always, buyer beware.

So you’ve decided to purchase your linens on-line.

Let’s go talk about what you will need to do with your linens after purchase.

When you receive your package, the excitement of knocking one item off your list is palpable. But first you must check for a few things. Round tablecloths and rectangle tablecloths may be from different dye lots, so you may have problems before you even unpack your shipment. This may not be a big deal, but if you want all the tablecloths to match in color, you are now in trouble. Sometimes the different size linens are made by different manufacturers or manufactured on different days and then will never match in color.

Preparing your Linens

Now you have counted and made sure you have all the right sizes, colors, etc. Now comes the unpackaging. Each linen is individually wrapped. Now you need to unfold to make sure there are no flaws or other problems with each tablecloth. All of these linens have creases so it could fit into the packaging.

Now the hard part. You have to iron all of these linens. Each linen will take you approximately 30-45 minutes to effectively iron out those creases. Or use your washer & Dryer to get those pesky creases out. Again, time and resources. There will always be some sort of crease in any tablecloth you rent or buy, which creases are acceptable and which are not is an individual choice. You may also decide to steam your linens at your reception venue. Again, you will spend 20 minutes per table, of your precious time, on your big day.

Cleaning your Linens

Okay, you’ve now made it through your big day with your purchased tablecloths. You probably shoved them all in a bag – possibly a garbage bag – and sent them home with your mom or someone. You are off to your honeymoon to enjoy your newlywed bliss. It’s now been 1 month since the wedding and you are still trying to get things back to where they belong. And you run across your tablecloths. Still in the bag they came home from the reception in. You peak inside and they are completely wrinkled. You knew this would happen. Or you check and they have black dots all over them. What is this? This is mold.

That beer your cousin spilled started it’s own colony of mold which has now spread to 20 other linens. Or maybe your caterer bagged these up for you but didn’t bother completely cleaning off the table and there was a very dirty food encrusted napkin, in the middle of one linen , which….started the mold. Many different ways it can happen especially during the hot summer months. Bleach will work to remove this scourge if you have white linen (most of the time) but if you have colored linens, you may have to find an expensive specialty soap to get the mold out of these tablecloths.

We have now established the many ways you can create more work for yourself on or right before your wedding day. Or you can order linens from your favorite rental shop in exactly the color you wanted. If your rental company offers delivery, then you show up to your venue on your big day and you have clean, pressed and ready to install linens. They leave a big cart for you to put them in after the wedding and you are done with them! Or, you pickup from the store and they are on hangers waiting for your arrival. You are handed a few bags to bring them back and once they are dropped off, you are done.

So, back to the title, to rent or not to rent?

If you have purchased your linens, at this point you have spent a considerable amount of time on these $6 tablecloths. Isn’t your time worth something? Even if you figure your time is worth at least $10/hour you have spent a minimum of $11 (cost of cloth & 30 minutes of your time) for each tablecloth just for it’s first use. If you plan on selling them after the wedding, you have considerably more time and effort to put in. Your local rental company may charge you a few dollars more per tablecloth, but think about the time and labor they are saving you. No matter what the cost of your linens, your time is also something to consider when asking yourself that question…To rent or not to rent.

Rented linens – Pressed & ready to install

Written by Micki Sipherd from United Rent-All