You’ve dressed yourself, your fiancé, and your bridal party. You’ve most likely also had input into what your parents wear. One think you might have overlooked, however, is what will adorn your tables.
The tables? Yep!
Unless you are using glass or tables that are fantastic in and of themselves, you most likely need to select linens to adorn your reception. Selecting linens, however, is no simple or easy task, mainly because of the variety of available colors, styles, and textures. Keeping all your options straight is challenging, but mixing and matching linen colors and textures can be downright mind-boggling.
A Few Linen Types
Shantung: this fabric is made of raw silk, has sheen to it, and is similar to Dupioni silk. However, it has less slubs (irregularities), making it smoother, and is slightly thinner, (although still a medium-weight fabric) than Dupioni.
Rosette: this satin fabric is composed of ribbon cuts in the shape of a spiral pattern, creating the look of rosettes.
Satin: this ultra-shiny fabric is smooth and somewhat heavy.
Taffeta: heavy, smooth, and plain, this semi-shiny fabric can be made of silk or rayon.
Brocade: this fabric is “embossed”, meaning adorned with weaving in addition to the fabric’s main components. The embossing is usually raised and the fabric rather stiff.
Damask: like brocade this fabric is embossed, but the embossing is usually flat. It can be made of linen, cotton, rayon or silk.
Lace: lace is lace is lace, albeit with different patterns, heaviness, and textures. Lace usually looks best when layered over other fabrics.
Some Fabric Styles and Patterns
Many fabrics come in different patterns, giving you even more choices. Linens containing dot prints, ribbon embellishments, and sequins are pretty self-explanatory, but other options include:
Pin-Tucked: small seams are sewn throughout the fabric, usually in a square pattern. This type of adornment is often found on taffeta and cotton fabrics.
Shimmer: these fabrics include a sparkle or sheen that makes them shine in and sometimes reflect light. Shimmers range from subtle, with only a little bit of light-catching addition, to heavy, containing large wefts of fabric that catch the light.
Crinkle: a crinkle fabric contains non-uniform “wrinkles” throughout the surface. These wrinkles are soft despite being raised.
Basic Linen Sizes
Most linens come in multiple sizes (round, square, rectangular etc.) to match basic table sizes. However, varying lengths are also available, allowing for layering multiple linens with each being visible.
Using Multiple Types of Linens
Is your head spinning yet? Well, it’s about to start to spin faster, because you can use multiple types of linens in a single room!
Consider this, you don’t have solely one type of table in any given reception room – you’ve likely got ones of different sizes or, at the very least, that serve different purposes. Mixing and matching linens on tables makes the room more interesting, eye-catching, and serves the purpose of allowing you to indicate that some tables are special.
For example, consider using pin-tucked linens on your cake and gift tables, but use crinkle fabric linens on your dining tables. Another option is to adorn half your dining tables with damask and the other half with shantung. Rosette fabrics look great on escort card tables and match well with taffetas on cake tables.
And don’t forget about your sweetheart table! Nothing shouts “for the special couple” more than adorning a sweetheart table with linens not found anywhere else in the room.
How to Mix and Match
When mixing and matching linens, we recommend that you:
Not mix and match too many textures: tossing together rosette, crinkle, and pin-tucked linens can make a room look too busy and unconnected.
Stay within the same color scheme: the more types and styles of fabrics you choose to display, the more difficult it becomes to tie a room together. Sticking with colors that are similar or within the same color scheme helps reduce this problem.
Starting with one: when choosing linens, pick one that you like the most and place it in special areas around the room, such as sweet heart or escort card tables. Next, identify those tables that do not have linens and choose a fabric that compliments your first choice. Finally, add a third fabric to complete the rest of the room.
Don’t forget the other linens you’ll need: remember, you’ll still need to add other linens to your reception room, such as napkins. Napkins and other linens also usually come in many different textures and styles, allowing you to add in other linen types and styles without making a room overly busy.
Your wedding planner is the best resource when selecting linens. She’s more than familiar with and has memorized the different types of linens, styles, and patterns, and can recommend what will look best with your venue’s surroundings and the lighting you’ve chosen.