Floral and Stripe offers decor, linens, backdrops, floral and more for events and weddings in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and all surrounding areas in Washington State.
Thinking about buying your linens for your next event? In this post, I am going to dive in “behind the scenes”, and show you what it really takes to prepare linens for an event, and IF you should rent or buy linens.
In today’s society, most of us are D.I.Y-ers, and not to mention, almost always wanting to make an extra buck or save money. Because of this, it’s becoming so common for people to buy their event decor and D.I.Y it so they can sell it afterward and make “some” of their money back.
But… my dear friend, there is A LOT more that goes into it than that, and I’m going to tell you all about it today.
Should I Rent or Buy My Linens?
When people find out I charge anywhere from $15 and up PER TABLECLOTH, they think to themselves, “Wow, that’s not cool, since I can go over here online and buy a polyester tablecloth for $8, and then resell them afterward”. ** Don’t forget you also have to pay taxes and shipping on your online order when purchasing online. **
You see online that you can buy your cloth napkins for less than $0.50 each, and table runners for $2 each, and you decide that purchasing them is the best way to go.
Well, that’s all great and dandy, but what you don’t know, and don’t see behind the scenes is this:
The linens you buy do not come ironed, meaning YOU will have to spend the time to iron your linens weeks before your event. Yes, I said weeks, because that’s how long you should give yourself. There is NO such thing as prepping the linens the day of. If you think there is, good luck!
Your tablecloths will have to be nicely pressed or ironed, your napkins will have to be pressed and folded to your desired style, and any other linen will require preparation as well.
But when you rent linens from a decorator, they come ironed, prepped and ready to go!
Transporting your linens
After your linens are all nice and ironed, how are you going to transport them to the venue? You don’t want to refold the tablecloths and crinkle them up, so you’ll have to find a way to nicely lay them as flat as possible in a vehicle, such as a van.
Those fanned out napkins will have to be somehow transported in bins carefully that they don’t smoosh each other, yet still have enough room in your vehicle for everything else.
When using a decorator, we make sure to transport the linens carefully.
Setting them up
If you choose to do your own linens, please do not forget that it’s going to be your (or your friend’s) job to also place them on the tables the day of your wedding.
The tablecloths will need to be placed on the tables, and the napkins will be placed at each place setting, and doing this takes time.
Removing the linens
Your event went wonderfully, and you’re just ready to go home and crash. But whoops, don’t forget to pull all your linens off the tables after the wedding is over too!
You’ll need a couple of heavy-duty trash bags, especially for the really soiled tablecloths and napkins. You will also need to shake out any extra food that might be on the linens.
If any of the linens are especially wet and soiled, you will want to get them soaking in stain remover ASAP.
Keeping your wet linens in a bag will only cause them to mold, and you’ll have to end up throwing them away, so linens are something you’ll need to wash as soon as possible.
But, if you hire a decorator, it is the decorator’s job to do both of these tasks.
Cleaning the linens
The wedding is over and you are about to go on your honeymoon, but wait, you just remembered something… you still have linens to wash! And if you’re like every other household, your washer can only fit about 3 tablecloths in the machine at a time.
If you used around 30 tablecloths at your event, and 200 cloth napkins, that means you’ll be doing laundry for a few days! Actually, who am I kidding? It’ll probably take a week or so!
This doesn’t include prior soaking time in a stain remover solution!
But when you rent your linens from a decorator, it is the decorator’s job to take care and wash their linens after each event, ensuring that the linens you get from them are clean.
Selling the linens
Well, here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for!
That moment where you’re going to make your “money back” on your linens.
You bought the tablecloths for $8 each, and now you can sell them for $6 each, and you bought your napkins for $0.50 each, and you can now sell them for $0.20 each, SCORE!
But, oh no! Realization hits and you remember that you had to throw away about 7 of the tablecloths because they had horrible stains that wouldn’t come out, and then you had to throw away two tablecloths because candle wax got on a few, and someone’s child decided to take a pen to another.
You started your event out with 200 cloth napkins, but now you have 117 left because a bunch had that yummy red sauce on them, and it stained them and wouldn’t come out.
Oh, and you also just realized that you just spent the last week and a half slaving over the washer and dryer to clean your gazillion linens from your event.
But, in the end, you make $82 back in your pocket, woot woot!!
….but your time, energy and money spent on the linens, is lost.
Don’t forget that running your washer and dryer for hours and hours COSTS money too.
And if you decide to take your linens to the laundry mat, that will cost money as well.
So, should you rent or buy your linens? The verdict says…
Hiring a decorator to provide you with linens is the best way to go because there are so many countless hours, not to mention, money, that goes into prepping the linens and taking care of them afterward.