It’s All in the Details: Specialty Linens for Your Wedding or Party

The big day is getting closer every day and you are getting organized, ready and excited! 
You’re visualizing your space, your friends and family surrounding you and your significant other. 
What do you see? Do you have a color scheme or a theme? 
How will you incorporate them into your decor? 
One of the details that can make the biggest impact on a room is your linen plan and incorporating Specialty, or Upgraded, Linens. The difference between a white or ivory tablecloth and one in a bold color, a textured cloth, a bright runner or a pop of a napkin color against it is amazing. Want to dress up your cake table? Add a sparkly cloth. Want to make the Sweetheart Table or Head Table really stand out? Want to dress up your Cocktail Hour tables or outdoor seating? Want to dress up your chairs a bit for the occasion? Get some specialty linens that fit your color scheme, and consider chair covers, sashes or bows. The possibilities are nearly endless, and the look that your plan creates will make the day and the memories that much more vivid for you and your guests. 
Immerse your party in your favorite colors, textures and your vision for that wow effect!

A few Place Card Tables with Specialty Linens to set the tone from the start: 

If you have a Coordinator at your venue or otherwise, consult with her/him about linen options a few months in advance. They may want to bring in some samples and set up an appointment for you to see everything in person before making a final decision. If you’re renting them yourself, be sure to try and see the linens beforehand as sometimes they can look a little bit different in a catalog or online as they do in person. Purchasing them yourself or borrowing them from a friend? You may want to have them steamed and hung up at a dry cleaner beforehand so that they’re all pressed and looking symmetrical across the whole room. As you get close to the big day (and have a final seating chart made up), make sure that enough linens are ordered for the whole celebration! You’ll want everything to arrive a few days in advance, allowing time for napkins to be folded the way you’d like and the room to be set with time to spare.

When it comes to linens, if you can dream it, it probably exists somewhere. Really! I’ve seen Tie Dye linens, rosette overlays, shiny silver toppers, sequined gold cloths and more, and here’s why. As Ann Davis from The Total Table in Paoli, Pennsylvania says on the company’s website,

“We believe that a tablecloth on a table transforms the room, the ambience and enhances every event. Every party starts with a table and each table is a large surface just waiting to be dressed up, beautified and set. 
There is no easier or more cost-effective way to transform the room than by changing the tablecloths. 
From Zebra to Sequins, White Damask to Embroidered Sheers, 
a beautiful tablecloth sets the stage for a wonderful party”. 
I couldn’t say it better myself! 
A few Cocktail Hour hi-top tables all dressed up and ready for the party: 

I’ve seen many parties and almost 100 weddings at the venue where I work, and the ones that stand out the most in my mind had some fantastic linens, music, food choices, flowers, lighting, flow, creative touches and people! Yes, you and the people in your lives make your party, make the memories, and make magic happen. Have fun throughout this whole process, and if you have it in your budget and interest to add a little extra something into your linens, go for it! 

If not, no biggie. I didn’t have fancy linens or lighting at my wedding and it was still a blast! I also wasn’t working weddings at the time, so I don’t think I knew exactly what the party was missing without those touches. If I could go back, maybe I would have checked out a local Linen Rental company’s website just to see what was available and what the cost would be. On a tight budget? You can always add just a fun napkin, just a runner, just a cake table linen or a special sweetheart table cloth. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation, so do what suits you! 


A couple Sweetheart and Head Tables with Specialty Linens looking extra Sweet: 

How to Decide on Specialty Linens: 
If you’re checking out the catalog or website of a Linen Rental company that serves your area (and/or particular venue) and wondering what sizes to get for your event, you may see a chart like this: 
I am admittedly not a pro on this subject, so please check this with your rental company and/or Coordinator before ordering, but I believe…

Napkins typically come in an 18×18 or 20×20″ size. Most banquet folds that you see and may want to use are only doable with square napkins of this size. Check out the standard Triangle Fold and Pocket Fold on this Wediquette post from last September! These are the 2 most common at the club where I work and look really nice. I’ve also seen a number of events with napkins folded into thirds and draped over the edge of the table, which has a nice effect. 

*If you’re using a pocket fold, take advantage of the space and place a card into each napkin- it can say the menu, have a Thank You note or special message to guests, and/or have a trivia game about the bride and groom. Have fun and make the most of it!

Underlays and Cloths to the Floor: 
132″ Round will reach the floor for a 72″ or a 60″ round table
120″ Round will reach the floor for a 60″ table or a hi-top table
90″x156″ will reach the floor for an 8 foot rectangular table
90″x’132″ will reach the floor for a 6 foot rectangular table
90″ round cloth will reach the floor for a small table like a rolling Cake table or a ceremony table (think Unity Sand/candle)
*If you have a decorative cloth that goes to the floor, you will not need an underlay unless it is sheer! 
Overlays: 
90″ Square will look nice over a neutral underlay on a 60″ or 72″ table
60″x120″ will look nice over a neutral underlay on a 6 foot or an 8 foot banquet table
If available, a 63″ overlay will look nice over a neutral underlay on a hi-top table 
*If your specialty linen is an overlay, you’ll need to add an underlay to ensure that you do not see any unsightly table legs underneath. 
Runners, Chair Covers & Sashes: 
For Runners, make sure that their length is at least as long as the diameter of the table, and at most as long as the diameter of the underlay that is going on the table (if you want it to reach the floor on either side)
You’ll want to make sure that the chair covers fit on (and complement) the chairs that you’ll be using. Consider whether you want to cover chairs for the ceremony and the reception, or just for one part of the day. 
If you’re using a sash, decide how you’d like it tied: In a knot with ends hanging down, in a bow, or otherwise. 
If your venue or Coordinator offers setup services for your linens, take advantage of it, especially if you have chairs and sashes! This is a time-consuming task, but makes an amazing impact on the room. There may be a setup fee, but believe me, it’s worth it. You don’t want to be tying bows for hours the day before your wedding or even the morning of! 
Some gorgeous Guest Tables:
Some cheerful chairs: 
As you can see from these photos found on Pinterest and around the web, sparkles and textures are in, and floral rosettes are timeless. Search around and find what you like, then decide where it would fit into your party. 
Some exquisitely decorated and color-coordinated cake tables: 

Another effect you may want to consider is to combine your Specialty Linen with Lighting. It gives the tables a glow from beneath, and allows you to add twinkles, white light or colored uplighting. Add a textured cloth for an extra special look! This is especially nice for the cake table and for tables outdoors. 
Some lovely lit tables: 

Lastly, this falls into its own category so I won’t delve too far into it here, but Draping and Backdrops around the room can add a soft, whimsical effect to your decor. Combine it with your specialty linens and create a luscious look that will frame your memories forever. This can be used behind your Sweetheart or Head Table, at a Photo/Video Booth, across the ceiling, and around the room.

Some dashing drapery and backdrops: 

What do you think of Specialty Linens? Did you use them/will you use them for your own wedding? Have you seen any other uses for them? Leave a comment!

By the Way…

Did you know that It’s All in the Details is a series? You can check out other posts about the little details that make your day special here

Have you thought about incorporating traditions and rituals from your family’s cultural heritage? Check out another Wediquette series, Across the Board. Click on the Weddings tab at the top of the page, then scroll down. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Leave a request and let me know in the comments below! Maybe I’ll write about it next! 
Wediquette is on Pinterest! Click here for lots of (p)inspiration! 
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