Should I hire in my own linen, or rely on my wedding venue?

Special linen for a special occasion

When it comes to those special extra touches, most couples love to go out of their way to make their big day look stunning. The question raised during this foray into the wedding world will probably come about thanks to a discrepancy between what your venue offers as standard in-house linen and what you and your colour scheme dictate!

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Colour scheme

From eggshell blue and green to cream-white and red, all colour schemes require matching or complementary dresses, ties, decorations and sometimes even special linen. It’s quite unlikely that a wedding venue will always have linen of every colour in stock, which leaves you with a few options.

You need to decide whether the simple white linen that your venue provides will suffice. White matches most colour schemes if you augment it with little details, such as coloured ribbons or sashes, but you may want to add a little more pizazz by hiring in colourful napkins, for example.

Order in linen

Most wedding venues will have their own standard linen supplier. You will have to ask your venue if their supplier can provide special occasion linen in multiple colours, as some standard linen companies don’t! If this is the case, or if you want to see if you can source linen more cheaply, or if you just want some really special linen, then you should probably source it from an external company.

What kind of linen?

So you may be asking: “what kind of linen can these external companies offer me, and what type and size should I buy or hire?”

You will essentially be deciding between two types of linen-ware (there are more types out there of course) – tablecloths and table napkins. Many couples source just their table napkins externally, as they realise that sticking with their venue’s standard white tablecloths is fine, and cheaper than hiring in! Make sure you discover exactly what your venue can provide before going ahead.

Tablecloths – As the name suggests, these cover your tables, and come in round, oval or square shapes. Your decision on which shape and size to buy should be based simply on the shape and size of the tables you use.

Tablecloths are traditionally white, but you could be more adventurous and pick a colour to match your scheme, or perhaps consider suitably-coloured table-runners.

Napkins – These linen serviettes sit atop your tables on your guests’ individual table settings, and are often folded artistically and attractively. 51x51cm (20-inch square) is the standard size for a napkin. Some suppliers allow you to specify how much starch you want to be used; if you are looking to create some more elaborate napkin-folds, ask for high levels of starch (but not so high that the napkin would be uncomfortable to use). Come back to The Wedding Venue Secret tomorrow to find out more about exotic napkin-folds!


You should be able to find all the above in more than simple linen, for that extra, extra-special feel! How about the amazing organza (soft, smooth and made from silk), and even embroidered material.

Drop-bag and collection

If you order linen, it will usually be delivered by courier to your wedding venue or your home shortly before the wedding day. You will be provided with a collection bag for you or your venue staff to put everything in after the celebrations have finished. The bag should be picked up the next working day after your wedding.

Will my venue offer a discount?

If you decline your venue’s linen services in favour of an outside supplier, then you may be wondering if you can receive a discount on your overall booking. Although this may be the case at many venues, you should check before assuming this, as you may have already signed for linen provision as an inclusive service when you booked the venue.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about hiring linen from an external source! Fancy yourself as a bit of an origamist? Please come back soon, as tomorrow we’ll be getting into the details of folding napkins for the most stunning table displays!

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