Make sure to leave room in your budget for these surprisingly important details!

By Sara Dickinson
January 14, 2020

If your wedding venue doesn't include table linens in their package, you might find yourself looking to rent them. But linen rentals can throw your budget off track if you're not careful. The cost of linens depends on whether you're looking for a tablecloth that just reaches past the edge of the table, or one that hits the floor, and what fabric you're going for. Linens typically include tablecloths, table skirts, table runners, napkins, and chair covers. If you're considering a more ornate fabric like silk, sequins, or velvet, you should expect for the cost to be significantly higher per piece than it would be for cotton, satin, or polyester.

Lindsey Shaktman, a wedding planner at Mavinhouse Events, tells us that linens can range from less than $20 to more than $80 per piece. "A good rule of thumb is to splurge where it counts—meaning, linens that are directly part of the guest experience. Dining tablecloths and napkins should be of good quality and feel nice to the touch." Linens that cover tables that guests won't interact with much, like the one holding the cake, guest book, or escort cards, can be topped with less expensive linens.

Related: Here's Why It's Worth Renting Linens for Your Wedding Day

Still searching for savings? Sarah Crowell from Mavinhouse Events suggests splurging on the expensive design you love just for your head table, or else covering just half of the reception's tables in that pattern and using something complementary, but more affordable, everywhere else. "It helps control your budget and adds to your design," she explains. Lori Stephenson, owner and principal planner at LOLA Event Productions, reminds us, "Linen and lighting take up the most square footage of your event space in terms of design, so it's something that's worth the investment! Linen can run anywhere from $15-hundreds of dollars per cloth with a lot of fun options in between."

Keep in mind that the costs associated with your linen rentals should include an insurance policy of some sort to protect you from linens that get spilled on, as well as delivery, set-up, and pick-up unless you plan to do that yourself. Some couples opt to purchase linens instead and re-sell them later, which, depending on the style you choose, can offer some cost savings as well.

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