The Scoop on Table Linens

We interviewed Rachael Grammer with Two Hearts Weddings and Events and asked her about something that always tends to leave brides with lots of questions: TABLE LINENS. Rachael shed some light on this topic for us! Here's what she had to say...

Designing the look and preparing all the details and options to put before a bride is one of my
most favorite things about wedding planning. Linens play an important role in the total cohesive
look of an event and deserve careful consideration when choosing the textures and colors to go
with; but when it comes down to choosing which route to take in obtaining them, there are several factors (or pros and cons, if you will) to consider.


Before looking at linen options, check with your venue to see if they offer in-house linens or have an allowance towards rentals. There are a few venues in the Birmingham that do this well while others, not so much. It’s important that you request to see the actual linens to be used on your wedding day placed on a table to make sure they fit correctly and are in generally good condition. Be aware, though, that this could be different by the time it gets to your wedding day from general wear-and-tear and stains.


Doing it yourself involves obtaining accurate table measurements, using a decent sewing machine, and having good sewing skills. Know this though: no matter if you are trying to make rectangular or round table cloths, you will most definitely need to piece fabric together to end up with the correct sizes. I recommend ordering your fabric either through a store or online because stores rarely have the full amount needed in stock. And my last word on DIY: know that errors are commonly made, resulting in additional fabric needing to be purchased and costing additional money AND time.

Purchasing Pre-Made

There are several online sources where you can purchase ready-to-use linens. I’ve had clients go this route before, but I find that these linens are often very thin and see through, not quite the right size, and always wrinkly. Do you know how long it takes to iron a table linen? I do… I’ve done it quite a bit, and it’s not quick or easy. You will also need a plan for them after the wedding. Your cousin or bff getting married next is probably going to have a different color scheme than you, and I doubt you will want to hang on to 10 - 20 large tablecloths. So your options are to toss, give them away, or try to resell them. But you will need to launder them first, which is another cost to factor in.


This route is definitely my preference. Whether my clients go with an inexpensive polyester blend or a beautiful dupioni silk, I can always count on these linens being clean and properly fitting the tables. In Birmingham, there are local rental and installation services like Decor to Adore who will not only rent you the linens, but also come and install them for an additional fee. 

A Working Example

Nationwide, the average wedding guest list is approximately 130 guests. Generally most brides opt for a cocktail-style reception with 60 - 70% seating rather than a fully seated dinner where each guest has their own designated chair. For this discussion, we’ll go with a cocktail setup and keep it simple by using 60” round tables (120” round linens) with 8 seats per table and plan for simple polyester blend linens. Click the button below to download a chart comparing the price difference of purchasing vs. renting table linens.

The final decision on which route to choose ultimately comes down to time and money. Part of my job is to show clients other areas in the budget that can be trimmed to make room for good linens, and although renting will always cost you more, the convenience and consistency factors are what makes it the smartest choice in my opinion.

Rachael Grammer is the lead planner and owner of Two Hearts Weddings and Events. You can learn more about her and her company at