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Everything to Know About Wedding Linen Rentals

Feb 28, 2024Feb 28, 2024

Buckle up—we're breaking down the deep, deep world of wedding day linens

Jaimie Mackey was the real weddings editor at Brides from 2013 to 2015. She also worked as a luxury wedding planner and produced over 100 high-end weddings and events in Colorado

Photo by Becca Lea Photography

In This Article

When it comes to the nitty-gritty details of your big day, from floor plans and seating charts to transportation and menu selections, wedding linen rentals seem easy. After all, you just pick a color and put it on the table... right? Wrong.

The world of wedding linen rentals is vast and complex, and all of these choices will help you truly customize your wedding decor to enhance your vision and create an immersive experience for your guests. But the average person doesn't spend much time thinking about the difference between satin and damask, and there's a good chance you've never wondered what size linen you'd need to cover a table for 10.

Thankfully, the fabulous experts at La Tavola Fine Linen have! This Napa-based linen rental company has seen it all and has a reputation for some of the finest offerings and largest selections around. Who better to break it down for us?

Meet the Expert

Based in Napa, California, La Tavola Fine Linen is the leading fine linen rental company nationwide.

Buckle your seatbelt, get your hands on some fabric swatches, and get ready to take a deeper dive into the world of wedding-day linen rentals.

Let's start with the fun part, shall we? There's so much more to tablecloths than the white and lacy variety your grandmother takes out once a year for Thanksgiving. Here are some of the most common fabrics you'll come across, as well as what they're best for and what you might expect to pay for each.

A smooth, glossy fabric typically made from silk. Satin is a step up from regular solids, and will give decor a polished finish, while still remaining elegant and simple. At La Tavola, satin linens run from $39-$42. Their Peau de Soie is a great example.

Damask is a pattern that is usually seen on heavier weight woven fabrics. It works well for formal events with a truly traditional feel. Brocade fabrics are made of silk threads that are woven to create an embossed or embroidered look. Like damask, they're a more traditional choice. Both linens run from $39-$100 at La Tavola.

This thin, sheer fabric is perfect for everything from a single cake stand to draping over the tables in an entire ballroom. It can be made from cotton or silk, and is available in both plain and embroidered varieties. Organza linens range from $45-$135.

Taffeta is crisp and smooth, woven from silk or rayons. It is structured and has an iridescent, sleek surface. You can use taffeta on its own, or paired with an overlay. The finish makes it perfect for modern, clean designs. Prices range from $39-$59.

For a rich, elegant style, this closely-woven fabric with a soft pile gives the table a distinctive, smooth feel. La Tavola velvet offerings range from $39-$66.

Most often used for outdoor events or parties with an informal vibe, cotton is a soft and breathable natural fabric. It can be dyed, patterned, or embroidered, and heavier cottons can have an embossed texture. With prices ranging from $39-$100, it's a go-to relaxed choice.

Linen tablecloths will give your event effortless style and rustic charm. The texture is grainy, and the fabric can be dyed in a variety of colors. It is often a more formal alternative to cotton. La Tavola features linen that ranges from $39-$69.

These fabrics, embroidered with shining paillettes, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, from tiny and oversized to square. They're the perfect way to give a high-fashion, glittering feel to accent tables like cake or sweetheart tables. La Tavola's options range from $22-$90.

Often used for more formal events, this textured fabric is woven from spun silk with a little shine and more movement than taffeta. La Tavola features these fabrics from $29-$69.

This solid, versatile fabric is a great budget-conscious way to dress up your event. La Tavola features spun polyester, which has a more natural fiber feel and ranges from $10-$28.

A variety of fabrics can be embellished, flaunting everything from sequins to linen to faux leather and more, perfect for accent tables. Ranging from $45-$135, La Tavola has a huge range to add texture to tables.

This delicate, open fabric is made by looping, twisting, or knitting threads in patterns. It gives a romantic feel to tables and will dress up any event. It ranges from $74-$110, and can be found in La Tavola's collections.

Now let's move on to all the terms you'll hear tossed around while considering different linens for your wedding.

A protective fabric to lay underneath a linen. Also called a table pad, it's not meant to be seen but is used to enhance the feel of the tabletop and linen. Liners are typically used under fine or delicate fabrics to give them a more luxurious feel.

A linen laid over another linen to give dimension or create pattern. A shorter or different shaped linen can be layered over another, or a thin or sheer fabric can be overlaid atop a solid one to dress up a tablescape.

Narrow lengths of fabric layered on top of tablecloths or placed on a bare table for a decorative touch.

A fabric embellishment, usually covering the entire chair down to the floor.

Ornamental fabric tied or placed around the back of a chair to enhance and decorate.

The way a fabric hangs from a table. Also known as a puddle when the linen lays onto the ground and pools at the base of the table, giving it a stylish and luxe feel.

Got all that? Let's get into the basic logistics of linens: figuring out what size you'll need for your tables!

A topper or overlay, used on a round table so the corners drop down to create a layered effect. It can be used on a number of sizes, depending on how much draping you'd like.

Typically used on a 48" round table (which seats four to six people) for an exact fit that reaches to the floor but does not pool. It could also be used as a topper or overlay on a larger table.

Used for 60" round tables (which seat eight people), as well as highboy 30" cocktail rounds. On both tables, this linen breaks right at the floor, with no puddle.

This size is used on 60" rounds with a puddle effect, or 72" rounds (seating for 12) with a perfect fit. It can also be used on cocktail tables for a puddle or on 6' banquet tables.

These 108" x 156" linens are made for an 8' by 48" King's table, and can fit more narrow banquet tables, as well. It can also be used for a 6' banquet table with a puddle effect.

This is the standard size for an 8' x 30" banquet table, which is more narrow than a King's table.

The standard runner, made for an 8' table, is 22" x 120", which provides for a one-foot drop on each end of the table.

The type of linens required varies on the formality of the wedding. While traditionally a tablecloth and napkins were considered must-haves, many laid-back weddings are forgoing tablecloths for bare wooden tables accented with only a runner. Regardless of the theme, all weddings should at the very least equip guests with napkins.

Black-tie and similarly formal themes should have tablecloths that drape to the floor or even attractively pool at the base of the table. More casual events can skirt the tradition by utilizing a half drop, or tablecloth long enough to reach midway down the table legs.

Wedding rentals and vendors can book up far in advance, especially during peak season. Aim to reserve wedding linens at least four to six months ahead of the event.