Award Winning Ottawa Event Planning

Linens; Top Tricks to Get Them Right

Linens; Top Tricks to Get Them Right

Something so simple, yet so complicated and so easy to get wrong. Nothing to fear ITM, your event planner is here. Now I would always recommend just leaving the linen department to your planner, but if you’re feeling brave, here are some tips and tricks from the pro’s.

Now to start there is an unbelievable amount of options, colours, finishes, sheens, and materials. Linens can set the stage for the whole event and be remembered for a lifetime in pictures and now forever on the internet, so make your choices wisely and choose the right size. You don’t want to end up with a tablecloth that is too small for your table like this:

To start there are tablecloths, table skirts, table runners, overlays, chair covers, napkins, and even sashes for your chairs that all come in a variety of materials such as silk, polyester, pin tuck, sequence, organza, and even embroidery. The best thing about renting linens is that they clean them for you! So at the end of the night you just need to pack them back up and have the rental company take them away!! Another bonus to renting is they arrive freshly cleaned, and pressed ready for your tables 🙂

Choosing your colors is a very important part of getting linens right. My preference is to always start with a white table cloth. It is clean, crisp and works with any color. So to brighten things up choose a colorful overlay or napkin and pair with a white chair cover and matching chair sash. Depending on your event theme, however, a colored tablecloth might be the perfect option. Corporate events with colorful themes like circus, mad hatter tea party, etc., will always require colored table cloths. Black tie events often look best with black table cloths and chair covers, while adding a more vibrant color in the overlay and sash. Many event companies, such as ourselves will do a mock table set-up  in advance for you and they can bring along a couple samples so you can work with them to play around with color and material options. I love these linens we did for this event:

Measurements You’ll Need!!

Round Tables
Table Size Mid Length Floor Length Overlay
30″ Round 60″ Round 90″ Round 48″ x 48″
60″ Round
30″ Cocktail (42″ height) 60″ Round
90″ Round
108″ Round 48″ x 48″
72″ x 72″
90″ Round
48″ Round (seats 6) 90″ Round 108″ Round 60″ x 60″
60″ round
72″ x 72″
60″ Round (seats 8) 90″ Round
108″ Round
72″ x 72″
120″ Round 72″ x 72″
90″ Round
72″ Round (seats 10) 108″ Round 132″ Round 90″ x 90″
108″ Round


Square Tables
Table Size Mid Length Floor Length Overlay
30″ Square 60″ x 60″ 72″ x 72″ 48″ x 48″
60″ Square (seats 8-12) 90″ x 90″ special order 72″ x 72″
4′ Banquet (seats 4) 60″ x 78″ 90″ x 108″ 48″ x 48″
6′ Banquet (seats 6) 60″ x 120″ 90″ x 132″ 48″ x 48″
60″ x 60″
8′ Banquet (seats 8) 60″ x 120″ 90″ x 156″ 48″ x 48″
60″ x 60″
60″ x 120″

So you’ve got the basics down, now for some set-up tips:

  1. Always ensure you order the right size for the tables you will be using. Use the tables above.

You don’t want to see any unsightly table legs or any supplies a vendor might be stashing at a trade show or conference. Here is a reference for table sizes you can use:

  1. Never use skirting for your accent tables ( cake, gift, signing, and food tables) it is very outdated. Instead use floor length linens in your accent colour or ruched material to add dimension.
  2. Always order a couple more linen pieces than needed. That way if there is a spill, you can quickly replace the stained linens
  3.  When your order is delivered double check you have the correct order before the delivery person leaves.

There have been many time where I have received a delivery the day before only to find out on set-up day the wrong linens were delivered! Logistical nightmare, however, totally preventable!

  1.  Give yourself plenty of time for set-up, as once the linens are set you still have to place the centrepieces, plates, cutlery and glassware.

Finally, enjoy your events knowing your linens are perfect.

Analytical by nature, Julia excels at conceptualizing the vision for an event as well as managing details large and small. She is a strategic thinker who considers the lifespan impact of an event, taking great care to plan an event today so that it evolves into her clients’ vision of the event five years from now. Julia and her team also work closely with clients with long-running events to analyze the event’s strengths and challenges, and refresh the event to take it to the next level. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.


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