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Linens 101

With so many details to plan for your big day it’s easy to overlook the need - and importance - for tablecloths and other linens. Think ‘big picture’ for a moment: The tables at your reception will take up a large portion of the room and will be the first impression your guests make of your reception. You will want those tables to be beautiful!   Beautiful Day Linens has so many colors, patterns, fabrics and styles it will make this part of your wedding planning fun and enjoyable!

What is available?
If your venue includes tablecloths check to see what they are exactly before deciding to use them. Many locations only have white and some don't go to the ground. Often they will have a small inventory to napkin colors to choose from.

There are many styles of linens available. They range from basic polyester tablecloths to special fabrics in satin, organza, pintuck and even suede. Many people choose to do a basic linen to cover the entire table to the ground. Some with add a runner or a square linen in a coordinating specialty fabric as an overlay. You can also get fabric chair covers and sashes. You can tie the sashes around the back of the chair in a bow with or without a chair cover. You can also get matching or contrasting napkins.

Do my linens need to go to the floor?
They don't have to go the floor. However, it looks so much better if they do. You want the ugly table legs to be covered. Floor length linens are appropriate regardless of if your event is outside or inside, casual or formal. Don't worry; your guests won't trip on them. For some reason this seems to be a concern that people have. Floor length linens do not drag on the ground, the usually just barely brush it. People won't be walking that close to the table, there are chairs around it. We recommend getting your linens to fit your table to the floor.

What size linens will fit my tables?
Check with your venue to find out the diameter of their tables. The most common size is a 60 inch round table. This table will seat eight guests. The linen size you will want for this table will be a 120 inch round linen. If you choose to have an overlay you will want it to be around 72 inches square. The tips will hang about three quarters of the way down.

If you are having a buffet you will probably have rectangle tables. You may also have a rectangular head table. A six foot table requires a 90 by 132 inch linen and an eight foot table requires a 90 by 156 inch linen. For buffets you can use skirting for the tables. This is where you put a small linen on the top and then clip Velcro clips around the edge of the table and attach a pleated skirt. This is not recommended for tables where people will be sitting at. You can get the same square overlays for the rectangle tables. You will just want to turn them on a diagonal so they form a diamond shape on the top. The tips will come to the floor in the front and back. Table runners are also available and range in sizes from wide to thin.

Cabaret tables are tall tables that are smaller in diameter. They are used as a place for guests to set their drinks and stand around to socialize. They are also very useful for a guest book table. Since they are counter height guests won't have to lean over to sign the book. The linens you will use for these are generally 120 inch linens if the table is 36 inches in diameter and 42 inches tall. You can use a bigger linen (132 inches) and gather the linen in the center of the pole and tie it for a modern look.

Here's a handy size chart for banquet tables and what size linens you will need:

Standard height tables:
72" round table = 132" round linen
60" round table = 120" round linen
48" round table = 108" round linen
36" round table = 96" round linen
30" round table = 90" round linen
24" round table = 84" round linen

Cocktail height tables (42" high):
36" round table = 120" round linen
30" round table = 114" round linen
24" round table = 108" round linen


For an overlay I would suggest an 84" square overlay.
This works for both 60" and 72" round tables

If the linen you want doesn't come in the right size you can still use it. Think creatively about how to make it fit. If it is too big you can clip it up or knot the ends if it is square. If it is too small use it as an overlay with a basic linen underneath.

What about chairs?
Chair covers can either be the type that fit a specific type of chair or big and loose and require a sash tied at the back to gather them in. There are also chair covers called ‘self-tie’ where the top corners of the cover are pulled down and used as a sash.  Some brides choose chair covers to hide ugly chairs at a venue. You can also just tie sashes around your chairs without covers. Sashes can be tied into a traditional bow or many other variations.  At your consultation ask us to show you some examples.

Have fun with color.
Don't settle for white. There are so many beautiful colors and textures and patterns out there. Let us help you mix them to create beautiful tables for your guests. Beautiful Day Linens are experts in creating a look that perfectly matches your wedding colors, personality and style!

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