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How to Choose the Right Table Linens for a Wedding

An often-sidelined element of wedding décor, table linen is calling out to you to see and understand its importance. We tell you how and why it is so, and help you pick the perfect one for your dream wedding.
Choosing the right table linen
If possible, rent one set of the linen that you like and decorate a table as you would for your wedding day to get an idea of what the venue will look like.

Table linen is that one constant at any wedding. Themes change, seasons change, colors change, but table linen is that one element that you simply cannot do without. Believe it or not, the linen at your wedding can play a major role in deciding the overall aesthetics of your wedding venue. The right linen can ameliorate it but the wrong one can make it look like a hotchpotch of random stuff thrown together, like a failed attempt at a DIY wedding, and NO one wants that. Buzzle tells you how to choose wedding table linen, along with the factors that will determine your choice.

Make it a Priority

The biggest mistake that a lot of couples make is treating linen as a 'luxury' or a 'can-keep-on-hold-for-now' item on their wedding budget. And while we understand that there are other things that need the attention of your finances, linen should most definitely be made one of them. The reason? You can look perfect, your little favors in burlap pouches and the fireworks at the end of it all can be the icing on the cake. But, unclean and ugly linen that is going to be at arm's length of every guest who sits at a table is what will be talked about instead. So, before you decide to blindly go with the linen provided by the venue to save a few bucks, inspect each piece carefully.
  • Are they all clean?
  • How much in advance will they be ready for use at your wedding?
  • Will they be used a couple of days prior to your wedding?
  • Most importantly, do they go with the theme or color scheme that you have chosen for your wedding?
If you do not get satisfactory answers for these questions, it is advisable to invest in good quality linen from a reputed vendor. Look online for some great deals. Brides claim to have found better deals buying their wedding linen online rather than renting it. Do your research, take your time, but make linen a priority.

Have an Idea of What You Want

When you pick the theme for your wedding, the linen should automatically find its way into the scheme of things. It just makes it that much easier to pick out a style or pattern. What color/s are you looking to use? Do you want simple or textured linen? What pattern would suit your theme best? Take a clue from the season in which your wedding will be held.
  • Is it a summer wedding? Go for bright-colored linen with one neutral to balance it out (if you wish).
  • For a spring wedding, let the linen be in tones of muted pastels and let fresh, natural décor do the talking.
  • An autumn wedding calls for the classic burnt orange and black combination, while dark hues like midnight blue and black are best used for a winter wedding.
If you'd rather just go for something trendy, here are the colors that you could use:
  • White/Ivory/Cream
  • Greige (gray-beige)
  • Mink
  • Chocolate
  • Charcoal
  • Greens
  • Navy
  • Goldenrod
Finalize the Tables

The tables are the factor that will decide the kind of linen you need. So, unless you've got your tables finalized, there's no way you should even begin looking for the linen. Decide what shape you're most comfortable with. Do you want round tables, square, or rectangular ones? Your budget, the guest list, and the venue will help you decide the size and shape of the tables. Once you've decided the kind of table, you'll have to measure them to get an idea of how much fabric and what kind of fabric you want. Do you want something with a drop? Will the fabric you pick require an underlay or some padding? All these are questions that can be answered by the vendor once he is provided with the shape and dimensions of the tables you plan to use.

Keep the Lighting Conditions in Mind

Lighting is a point that many people forget to factor in while picking out the table linen. The kind and the amount of light at your wedding venue can also alter what your tables will look like. The color of the fabric may look different in different kinds of light. Unless a 3D palette is what you're aiming to create with the linen, it is advised that you test how your choice of linen looks in both, natural and artificial light. Then, based on the type of light that your wedding is most likely to have, make a decision.

A Tip: If your venue is bound to have more natural light, dark tones will be accentuated well.

Take Help and Suggestions

No one said that the task of picking the table linen should be done alone. Take help from people you trust and people who know what they're talking about. Always, always, always keep your wedding decorator in the loop. She should be present when you're picking out linen so that she can guide you on what will complement the décor best. Another person you can include in the selection party is the florist. Flowers are an integral part of every wedding, and it would do you good to have your florist present to help you pick the right color and fabric in accordance with the flowers that will adorn your wedding venue.

Try Something New

While tradition and good sense dictate that table linen be used as they are, why stick to convention? To up the whimsy in your wedding, try something different. Try a mix and match of different textures, patterns, and colors. You're most likely to just get swatches of the fabric to have a look. It's going to be your job to visualize how the final table is going to look complete with the table décor, napkins, place settings, and other items you intend to place on the tables. Hence, as mentioned above, renting one set to create a sample table will help. Bear in mind that just liking a particular color or pattern is not going to be enough. One table may look perfect, but imagine an entire venue filled with similar ones. Is it still a go? If yes, great. If you have even the slightest of doubts, change your choice.

As you can see, though an inconspicuous element, table linen can either bring your wedding décor together like a well-tuned symphony or throw it all apart like a bunch of braying donkeys. Are you still not willing to give it a place of honor in your wedding budget?
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Published: December 18, 2013
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