Pros and Cons of Buying vs Renting Linens for Special Events

Should you buy or rent linens for your wedding, shower, or event?

When planning a special event, there are many tasks and decisions to be made. If you are planning your first event, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the endless possibilities. For this post, we are going to focus on one of those decisions.

Should you purchase or rent linens for your upcoming event?

Renting vs Buying Linens

The size and type of event that you are planning will determine the kind of linens that will be needed. Another factor to consider is the location that the event will be held at. Some facilities provide linens so the first question to consider is, “Does the event location provide linens?” If so, it is going to be more cost-effective to use the linens that are provided.

For a formal event, you may want to consider:

  • Table Linens
  • Chair Covers and Ties (if needed)
  • Napkins

For a less formal event, you may only need table linens and chair covers with paper napkins.

Either way, when linens are needed for an event, there are usually two options: rent the linens or buy the linens.

Renting Linens for a Special Event

When you rent linens for a special event with delivery and pickup, the greatest benefit is the convenience factor. Many times, for a fee, the rental company will even setup the linens on the specified tables. If you are short on helping hands or time, this is going to be the best option for you. Another positive for renting linens for a special event is that the rental company will handle any cleaning that is required. If someone spills red wine on the white linen, it isn’t your problem. The rental company will see to it that the stain is removed without you having to give it another thought.

On the flip side, this is also the most expensive option.For a 60″ round table, a floor length linen will cost between $20 – $25 per linen to rent. If your event has 10 tables, that’s going to cost around $250 without delivery and setup. Add an additional $100 – $200 for delivery, setup, and pickup depending on your location.

Also, when the rental company delivers the linens it is almost certain that the linens will be folded up. That means that the linens will more than likely need to be pressed. This can take up a lot of time and is normally not covered in the setup cost from the rental company. There is also a risk that at least one of the linens will have a stained spot that may or may not be noticeable and when the delivery is the same day as the event, it can be difficult to get the rental company to bring a replacement linen in time.

Buying Linens for a Special Event

When you buy linens for a special event, the linens will be delivered to your home or location tightly packed in a shipping box. This means that with certainty, the linens will have to be pressed or there will be very noticeable creases when flat on a table. For one round floor length linen for a 60″ round table, it will take around 20 – 30 minutes to remove all of the creases. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say after ironing 14 linens of this size, you get pretty good at the amount of time it is going to take.

Having to iron all of the linens (and in my case, chair covers, and chair ties) is a negative for buying them. However, as stated before, it is possible to get stuck with this task even when you rent the linens so just make sure you have an iron ready to go.

Another negative for buying linens versus renting linens is the need to clean the linens when the event is over. If you are lucky enough to have very few spills, you may be able to use the linens a few times without washing them, but eventually you are going to get stuck with washing them. Due to size (and sometimes material type), it may or may not be feasible to wash the linens in your home washer and dryer and the dry cleaner is definitely NOT a low-cost alternative.

On the flip side, buying the linens are by far the more affordable option up-front. Where renting the linens can cost between $20 – $25 per linen, purchasing the linens from an online site can cost around $10 – $15 per linen. Plus, there is always a chance that there is a coupon code that will reduce that price even further. *STP Rule – Always look for a coupon code before making a purchase online!

If you are purchasing the linens for a wedding or other one-time event where you won’t need the linens again, there is also the option of selling the linens on a resell site.

Below are a few helpful links if you plan on buying linens for your next event –

Greatest Decision Factor

If you are short on time but have plenty of money, renting the linens is going to be your best alternative. If you are short on money but have plenty of time, buying the linens is going to be your best alternative.

Do you have any experience buying or renting linens? If so, share below!