Your wedding decor speaks volumes about who you are. It reflects your personality, your style and will often set the tone for your event and aid in your guests overall event experience. Linens can add color to an otherwise dull event space, add texture and depth to your tables and relay the overall formality to your guests however, the cost of renting linens can often seem like a waste when your budget is busting at the seams, so it’s not unreasonable to consider other options that can save your money. If you have ever considered purchasing your linens with the hopes of reselling them after your event to “save money”, you may want to reconsider and ask yourself is it really worth the time and hidden cost you will encounter? If purchasing your linens vs. renting your linens has ever crossed your mind, consider the following.
1. Quality-Often times people boast that they purchased their linens at the same price it cost to rent them. While that may often be true, the detail they usually leave out is it’s often a lesser quality. Online retailers often offer very affordable linen options but the linens they offer are nowhere near close to rental quality. The satin linens they sell are very thin, often see through when placed on tables and an iron’s worst nightmare due to the type of fabric used.
Their polyester linens are made from a different type of polyester which is often hard and lacks the ability to absorb spills, which is important in napkins. They are often offered in limited colors and sizes and will often only hold up to 1 or 2 washes which is not good if your plan is to resell. In addition specialty linens are very hard to come by so your options are often limited to polyester and satin in basic colors. Not to mention finding matching banquet linens, overlays and napkins maybe a challenge.
2. Your Time-Nothing looks more beautiful than a room full of crisp white chair covers and neatly pressed linens but keep in mind, those chair covers and linens didn’t press themselves. When you purchase chair covers and linens from online retailers, they come individually wrapped in packages and are folded time and time again to fit into that packaging. The result…a brand new, yet hard wrinkled chair cover and tablecloth that you, your wedding party, friends, and family will spend hours steaming and hanging. You do have a steamer and tons of hangers right?
3. Cleaning-All too often I hear brides say “I’m purchasing my linens and will sell them after my wedding”. While this sounds like a great idea and is possible, keep a few things in mind. No one wants to purchase dirty linens so they will all need to be cleaned prior to selling, and washing used table linens is unlike washing every day laundry. Think of the items served at a typical wedding. Red wine, coffee, chocolate, pasta sauce, and not to mention lipstick stains all over napkins. There will be grease stains, food stains and mystery stains and while Tide and Oxyclean are wonderful they do nothing in lifting stains like these. This requires industrial strength laundry products. Also, did you know that most stains need to be treated within 24 hours to avoid permanent staining? That means someone will need to wash all of your linens within 24-48 hours to avoid set in stains and I’m sure you have better things to do then slave over a washing machine…like Honeymoon!
4. Setup and Strike-People love weddings and are always willing to help so finding someone to help setup your linens, napkins, and even chair covers and sashes may be an easy task but all good things must come to an end and often times that end is at 12am. Imagine this…You have just spent the evening celebrating, you are dressed in your nicest formal attire, the party is winding down and midnight is approaching. You’re tired and ready to go home…but WAIT, what about the linens? Someone needs to stick around to remove all the linens off the tables, shake off the excess food, search for missing napkins, and place them in bags then drag them to the car. There is a reason venues and linen companies charge for this service…its hard work.
5. The Sale-So let’s see…You have spent hours steaming/pressing your linens, spent a few hours setting them up (or longer if you had chair covers and sashes), stayed late at your venue removing them from your tables, lugged them all the way home, purchased your cleaning materials, spent 2-3 hours washing and folding them only to sell them for 1/2 of what you paid for them…if you’re lucky. You can’t sell them for what you paid for them because after all, why would anyone pay full price for used linens when they can buy them brand new with free shipping from the same place you purchased yours from. So in the end you will probably only get about half of what you paid for them and that’s only if:
1. None of them were damaged and they are in excellent condition. If there are linens with stains you will receive much less.
2. You are able to find a buyer in your area who is willing to purchase used linens in the same colors you had for your wedding and need the same amount of linens you had. Sure you can sales them in smaller lots but that’s even more of a headache.
3. You know where to advertise your linens (Remember eBay and PayPal both charge fee’s that cut into your profit and there are shipping costs).
4. You can list them on craigslist but be prepaid to negotiate.
So in the end you have to ask yourself. Was it worth it? Take the time to meet with a local rental company. Be honest and upfront about your budget and your expectations. A professional linen rental company will have a larger selection, be able to work with just about any budget and will handle delivery, setup, pickup and cleaning so that on your wedding day you can do what you do best…look marvelous!