This article takes a look at hiring linen, and why you might need it. No matter what event you need catering for, you will also need to have a think about renting linen. Birthdays, weddings, corporate events or other social functions all require linen, and usually need table and chair hire too. Many catering companies or venues can provide linen for your event, but there are many reasons why you might want to hire linen from outside.
Often you will have a particular colour scheme (for example a number of bright contrasting colours) in mind, and the caterers or venue will be unable to match the exact colours you are after. To personalise your event you may also choose features such as balloons, table runners or decorations on tables. Of course, all these features need to match you linen and overall colour scheme, hence the need for careful thought, and usually, linen hire. Venues will usually be able to provide simple white table linen which tends to go with most colour schemes, however you can think about some personalised touches like napkins, chair covers or drapes.
Backdrops are very common (they are large, usually coloured, sheets that run around the walls of the venue and may contain small lights) as they will help set a colour scheme and frame your event. Linen hire companies should be able to provide backdrops for your event – a good tip is to check to see if they have visited the venue or at least have an idea of the dimensions, as your backdrops must be the correct size for the walls.
You may also decide that you need more luxurious or plush linen and chair covers than the caterers or venue can provide – not all linen is of the same quality!
There are many types of linen that can be hired, such as drapes (also known as backdrops), chair covers, table covers, table runners, napkins and so on. You also need to think about the shape of the linen you need, as circular table covers won’t work on square tables, for example.
Napkins can be folded into lots of elaborate shapes, depending on how much starch is used. This is often something you can discuss with the linen hire company. If you look online you will see plenty of designs and inspiration.
You should always speak to your venue in advance to see what linen they supply, as you don’t want to leave it until the last minute to find out that you are only getting white tablecloths, whatever your colour scheme might require!
Moreover, you need to read your contract with the venue carefully, as there can be clauses that prevent you from hiring linen from outside (many venues work with preferred suppliers). Alternatively, venues may charge you extra to buy in linen from somewhere other than their preferred supplier, and this would be on top of the linen hire fees.
The linen hire company will usually deliver the linen to your event or to your home in advance of the function. They will also issue you with a large bag to put the linen in after the event, and will pick up the bag a few days later. There will probably be a deposit scheme, and you will need to make sure that you can return the linen to the linen hire company in time, as well as ensuring that it is not damaged. Of course a few light food stains will usually be fine, and are expected at any catered event, but if the linen is damaged in a more serious way then you can expect to pay to have it replaced.
Some linen hire companies may offer a pick up service, or even a fitting service. A fitting service would be an attractive option if you are short of time, as the supplier would visit your venue and fit the chairs themselves.
Linen hire falls under a broad category of things you may want to hire for your event, such as bar equipment, chair covers, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery, and so on. It’s a sensible idea to have a word with the catering company that you are using for your event, as they will no doubt be able to recommend good external equipment suppliers and can act as ‘unofficial advisors’ for other areas too.
Very soon, Companies Catering will have a dedicated section that will let you search for caterers that can also supply linen for your catered event. Watch this space, as this will be a feature of our advanced search, which will let you sort caterers by certain filters.