Is It Really A Good Deal?

Hi there, it’s your loveable  linen lady again.  I wanted to talk deals.  Everyone loves a good deal.  The key word here is Good!  I’m right there with you, my motto is I hate to pay full price for anything!

When looking for a deal you must do your homework!  I always investigate before I decide, if you don’t you may get burned, and nobody want that to happen right before the happiest day of your life.

Does the person offering $1 chair covers, have a store front, or are they working out of their home or garage? Why can they offer that price?  Is it because they have no overhead? Building rent? Are they not washing and pressing the chair covers every time?  These things cost money, water, electric, gas, machines, a building to warehouse the goods.  Do they have a storage unit they are running to? Is it temperature controlled? Perhaps, they can rent chair covers for a buck, because they took them off a wedding last weekend, put them in a sack, and are going to grab that sack of chair covers this weekend for your Dream Wedding.  How is that $1 chair cover looking now?  Do you want to take a chance on someone who is trying to make some fast money? Or do you want someone who has invested in building a business, focused on one thing, your Wedding Day?

I get a lot of  “can you match their price?”  My response is “When they can match my quality I will match their price!” Here’s a tip: Anyone can show you 1 good chair cover, but I will tell you where I will be setting up, giving you a few dates to choose from.  I encourage you to come see our work up close and personal.

Can we talk about wedding swap sites? Again, please do your homework.  You will need to look at every piece of linen or chair cover you are going to purchase.  Will it need to be laundered and pressed?  Do you have time to hand press all of that stuff? Do you have the room to store it after you press it, so as not to wrinkle anything?  Who is going to set up your reception? Trust me it’s not as easy as you think! If you don’t have a crew of people or someone with experience, it could take hours.  Is that what you want to be doing on your wedding day? Worrying about how it’s going to turn out?  Now that the wedding is over and you are back from your honeymoon, are you now going to put it up on a swap site, in hope to get your money back?  Are you going to launder it, for “curb appeal”? I’m not saying you can’t get an awesome deal on a swap site, but beware of all the time and work you may be in for!

Everything I have mentioned also goes for buying your linens and chair covers from the cheap sites. You will need to press everything. I hear people say I will just start my own rental business with the stuff I purchased for my wedding.  I always giggle to myself just a little, because if you have 200 chair covers, you can bet the next person will need 250. Or they may want a different color sash.  Then what will you do? Will you start ordering more stuff, and if so where are you going to store it.  Do you really want to be up late watching the late show with an iron in your hand, because you have a deadline to meet?

So I will close by saying Is It Really A Good Deal?

Wedding Season in Full Swing!

Wedding is in full swing, it always hits us after Easter. Stressed out brides, laid back grooms, I love watching it all unfold.  I have been happily married for 33 years, and back in “the day” there were not all these options. Choices upon choices! Linens and chair covers, not just a couple to choose from but hundreds of options.  When is it enough? How much is enough?  Those my friend are up to you.

Now  days engagements are 2-3 years, I ask myself why? What takes so long to plan a party? Ok, Party might be a bit of an understatement, but it is truly a  6 hour event.  It is a celebration of love and commitment, to be shared with those closest to you.  I’ve heard people say we are saving up, I say while you are saving up, the prices are going up.  It’s true, basically venue prices rise every 1-2 years.

My advice is to have a contact person who you trust completely, give that persons number to your vendors, so if a problem should arise, it can be taken care of without any undue stress to you on your wedding day. Also, do you know how to get in touch with your vendors wedding day? Those numbers should be passed on to your trusted person.

Now I’ve had many Grooms say don’t call me I don’t want to make the call.  Not trying to freak anyone out here, but from time to time little hiccups arise.  Here’s what went down at my son’s wedding.  I of course was in charge of linens, chair covers, and overall making sure the hall was perfect.  I had finished my job when my son called and said “hey mom, I forgot to give you the champagne glasses. Can you come and get them and take them to the hall?”   I hurried to get the glasses and when I returned to the hall, the cake had been delivered, and I immediately said Oh Boy, I need to fix this.  The cake lady, whose name I will not mention did not put the Bride & Groom where instructed.  It was a little on the heavy side, and was supposed to be placed on the layer of the cake that was not real.  She put it on the cake and the Bride & Groom slid all the way down the cake, taking all the frosting off, leaving a trail of chocolate cake crumbs behind.  The people at the hall would not touch it, they would not be responsible.  They brought me a bucket of water and a spatula.  Good Grief! I’m the lovable linen lady, not a cake designer.  I took the Bride & Groom into the ladies room and gave them a bath.  Then I smoothed as much frosting as I could, turned the cake table around so the damaged part faced the wall, stuck a few roses that were left and filled the holes.

I told my son what happened to the cake when we picked him up for the wedding ceremony.  He tried to call the vendor with no luck, so he left a message.  I told him to relax, he was super concerned that this event would ruin his soon to be wife’s whole day. I told him no one would know about the cake except, for him, his dad and me. I was confident that I had done a fabulous job.  It turns out I did, nobody noticed there was a cake incident.

The cake lady did not return his call, on Monday, or Tuesday.  In fact she did not respond at all.  We had to contact her again, she blamed it on it being windy. I feel I must tell you it was not an outside wedding, and as far I can remember not one open window.

So my point is let someone else fix the bumps in the road or cake, and make sure you have contact numbers for your vendors for the day of your Wedding!

Overwhelmed by Pinterest

Pinterest is a wonderful tool that can overwhelm you. It feels like a necessary evil somedays.  You click that little red P and before you know it you’ve looked at thousand of things and pinned 500. It’s been hours since you’ve moved, no bathroom breaks, and dinner, what’s that?  Who can eat when your fingers can’t stop scrolling and pinning!

Sometimes you have a year or two to plan, can you imagine all the pins you could collect in that time frame?

You have a wedding board, a flower board, a cake board, one for shoes, and one for hair.  Oh my gosh how will these ever come together?  You thought you had a clear vision of what your dream wedding was going to be, but now you can’t even think straight.

Before you start your Pinterest adventure, have an idea of what it is that you love.  Then, this is the hard part, look only for those things that meet your style. It’s going to be hard to not get distracted by all the wonderful ideas on Pinterest, but I assure you there are plenty of items that will match your idea and style. Treat your Pinterest board like a closet that needs to be cleaned out regularly.  So every time you pin 2 new things, you must get rid of one or two other pins. Keeping the ones you “love” not the ones that make you say “oh that’s a cute idea” or “that’s different “. You want the pins that make you say “OMG I Love That”

Be Careful, Be Mindful, and most of all Happy Pinning!

 

Families!

Let’s talk about families. There are so many types of families, some happy go lucky and some drama filled. Some seem happy go lucky, until you start planning your dream wedding, then everyone wants to tell you what you should do. They may even turn into a drama filled family that you don’t even recognize. A two headed monster comes to mind.

How you respond will set the tone for the next several months of planning. Are you going to yell, cry, let them take over? I surely hope not! Polite and firm I feel works best. Everyone wants to be included, and valued as a part of your Dream Team. Here are some great responses:

That’s a great idea, but I really envisioned _____________.
I didn’t think of that, I’ll have to mull it over.
Thanks for brainstorming with me, I appreciate your input.
Here are a couple of things that always seem to cause trouble. Kids or no kids, & the dreaded seating chart. Just last week I was setting up linens and chair covers for a wonderful couple, whose family drama was getting to them. It was the day before the wedding and the Groom’s mother called him to interrogate him about why they were not having children at the wedding. Really? The day before… any ways he was telling her that they didn’t want children around the drinking, they didn’t want crying babies to interrupt the ceremony. Meanwhile, I was helping the bride with her centerpieces, and she was upset with the soon to be Mother in-law. “Can you believe she’s calling the day before the wedding?” “Yeah like I can just add to the guest count the day before.” “So and so said if their child couldn’t come, then they weren’t coming.” The bride was so flustered, I told her to take a deep breath and not to let these people ruin her excitement. Mind you these were adults she was dealing with, sounded more like 2 year olds throwing a tantrum to get their way.

Being in the wedding biz for 25 years, the biggest problem the brides talk to me about is the seating arrangements. Listen people, if you can not be cordial for a hour to have a meal with some one who might not be your favorite person in the world, then perhaps you should not be attending these type of events. Seriously, you are there to celebrate the union of 2 people you know and love. It’s not about you and who you will be dining with!

My advice is not to share to much information with your family. When the invitation says Adult Reception, they will know your wishes, and it’s too late to badger you into something. Just do your seating chart with your fiancé, the 2 of you should know your families well enough to decide who sits together.

Bottom Line: It’s Your Wedding Day! Don’t let drama keep you from enjoying the planning process.

Brides Maids

Your brides maids are some of the most special people in your life.  It is a honor and a privilege that is bestowed upon them.  Everyone is giddy with excitement ! You may have come up with a clever way to ask them, with a gift or a catchy little saying.  Besides them standing next you in a lovely dress, what assistance do you expect from them?

I joke when I say they call them maids for a reason. But in truth, I think the role of a brides maid has diminished over the years. Replaced by event and party planners.  Back in my day, (married 33 years here), the brides maids were in charge of the bridal shower.  Their role has changed a bit, now they throw a bachelorette party.

You should sit down and think of all the things that go into planning the wedding.  (Overwhelming) I know.  If there are certain things you want help with from your bridal party, you should let them know that upfront.  Perhaps purchasing a few gifts each for the shower, making centerpieces.  Help addressing invitations.  The more things you all can do as a group, the fun and memorable it will be.  Maybe  a Friday night of getting some wedding stuff done and enjoying a great evening with your girls.  Do not let the stress of wedding planning get to you, make great memories with you bridal party during the planning stages, not just the day of the wedding.  Take pictures of all the things you are doing together, and make a scrapbook.  Have Fun, and create beautiful memories.

Families!

Let’s talk about families. There are so many types of families, some happy go lucky and some drama filled. Some seem happy go lucky, until you start planning your dream wedding, then everyone wants to tell you what you should do. They may even turn into a drama filled family that you don’t even recognize. A two headed monster comes to mind.

How you respond will set the tone for the next several months of planning. Are you going to yell, cry, let them take over?  I surely hope not! Polite and firm I feel works best.  Everyone wants to be included, and valued as a part of your Dream Team.  Here are some great responses:

  1. That’s a great idea, but I really envisioned _____________.
  2. I didn’t think of that, I’ll have to mull it over.
  3. Thanks for brainstorming with me, I appreciate your input.

Here are a couple of things that always seem to cause trouble. Kids or no kids, & the dreaded seating chart.  Just last week I was setting up linens and chair covers for a wonderful couple, whose family drama was getting to them. It was the day before the wedding and the Groom’s mother called him to interrogate him about why they were not having children at the wedding.  Really?  The day before… any ways he was telling her that they didn’t want children around the drinking, they didn’t want crying babies to interrupt the ceremony. Meanwhile, I was helping the bride with her centerpieces, and she was upset with the soon to be Mother in-law.  “Can you believe she’s calling the day before the wedding?”  “Yeah like I can just add to the guest count the day before.”  “So and so said if their child couldn’t come, then they weren’t coming.” The bride was so flustered, I told her to take a deep breath and not to let these people ruin her excitement.  Mind you these were adults she was dealing with, sounded more like 2 year olds throwing a tantrum to get their way.

Being in the wedding biz for 25 years, the biggest problem the brides talk to me about is the seating arrangements.  Listen people, if you can not be cordial for a hour to have a meal with some one who might not be your favorite person in the world, then perhaps you should not be attending these type of events.  Seriously, you are there to celebrate the union of 2 people you know and love. It’s not about you and who you will be dining with!

My advice is not to share to much information with your family.  When the invitation says Adult Reception, they will know your wishes, and it’s too late to badger you into something.  Just do your seating chart with your fiancé, the 2 of you should know your families well enough to decide who sits together.

Bottom Line:  It’s Your Wedding Day! Don’t let drama keep you from enjoying the planning process.

 

Important Questions

I would like to share with you some important questions to ask your vendors. If you are renting linens:

  1. Are chair covers and linens washed and pressed after each rental?  Does this sound like a silly question?  Well it isn’t. I have been on job sites where there is another linen vendor in the next salon/room and have watched them drag in chair covers in garbage bags.   Here is a helpful hint, ask them if you can go and see an event they are setting up.  Anyone can show you 1 clean, pressed, perfect linen or chair cover. Request to go to a job site to see what it really looks like.
  2. Does the vendor you are trusting your event with have different size chair covers?  There are many different chairs out there, make sure you get the perfect fit.
  3.  What type of deposit is required? Is it refundable?
  4. Who will set-up and take down the linens after the event?  Does the hall require everything to be removed after your party?  Helpful hint: It is in your best interest to pay for after hours pick-up or to have someone you trust remove everything and return it for you.  Here’s why this is important, You Are Responsible for rented items, if you leave everything at your venue and something is missing it is your responsibility to pay for those items. Prime example: chair covers were removed by the venue and put into plastic garbage bags, the next day when other staff came in, they threw those garbage bags in the dumpster. Yes, I said dumpster! Luckily for that bride and groom the garbage truck had not picked up, so the chair covers were retrieved.  That would have been very expensive to replace a couple hundred chair covers.  Better to pay the pick-up fee and save yourself the worry!
  5. Is there a store front? or are you meeting at someone’s kitchen table?  If you are at someone’s home, where are all the linens stored, washed, and pressed?  I have been in the linen rental business for over 30 years, this is not something that I find manageable at home.  So here’s a little story, I had a bride and her mom come into my showroom. This is a place to come and try things on the tables in any combination you can think of, with many style chairs to put covers on. The mom was kind of aggressive, as if she were entitled to price matching. My answer to price matching is when they match my quality, I will match their price.  She also told me the other place was cheaper, why were my prices higher?(truthfully we are just a tiny bit higher) I wanted to say, “Do you ask Macy’s why they are more expensive  than K-Mart”, but I didn’t, I held my tongue on that one. I said with a smile, because I am not at my not at my kitchen table, we have overhead, and our own laundry facility to insure everything is up to my standards.

Hopefully I have helped you with some thoughtful questions to ask!

Tips for You

Here are some basic questions you should ask your prospective venue.

Does your venue allow outside vendors, for table cloths, chair covers, napkins?  It’s hard to believe, but some do not.  This baffles me, but rules are rules. If you have your heart set on something stunning, do not book a venue that outside vendors are not allowed.  This is a tough one to swallow after you have made your deposit.

What does the venue provide? Tablecloths, napkins, skirting, chair covers?  Be sure to stop in and see a wedding all set-up. Is everything pressed and stain free?  Some halls own chair covers, but do not have an amazing laundry service for them.  I have personally been to halls, that do not remove and wash chair covers after each event. It is not a pretty sight.

What colors are available?  Will you have to settle for something or do they have exactly what you have been dreaming about?

What size are the tables? This is a very important question. We need to know what size cloth to cover the table.

How far in advance does the venue want the linens delivered?

Do your rented items need to be removed from the venue the night of your event?

Now here is something that needs to be discussed. What size chairs do they have?  The venue will most likely tell you they are a standard banquet chair.  There is such a variety of chairs. Just an inch will make a huge difference in the way a chair cover fits.  It is best to bring a picture for us to see.

I hope these little tips will help you when choosing a venue for your dream wedding.

I’ll be back with more tips and questions to ask your vendors.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome

I’d like to start with an introduction. I’m Donna and I’ll admit I am slightly technically challenged.  So I hope this blogging thing goes well.  So I guess I’ll dive in to the deep end right now!

I am one of the owners of Always Special Linens.  I have been in the Linen Rental Biz for more than 25 years (yikes I’m giving away age secrets).  I love the party  business, you might say I have a passion for parties.  I have been a part of countless weddings, showers, graduation & birthday celebrations, as well as corporate  events.  If you need it covered then I’m your gal.   I cover chairs, tables and sometimes walls.

Here’s a little story about a couple of friends, and a mom.  Introducing Ovida, my very best friend, we met when we were in elementary school, we’ve been through it all together. You see she married my cousin, so she is officially family, (not that it matters). I consider her my sister. Any way like I was saying we’ve been through it all, Jr. High , High school, prom, graduation, our own weddings, the births of our children, vacations, camping, I could go on, but you get the point, we are thick as thieves. We even worked together at another  Rental company. So when the opportunity presented it’s self for us to start our own business, mom (her mom, I call her mom too, known her forever) decided she’d join us. She also worked at the other company with us.  Mom’s specialty is sewing.  We call on her for all the impossible ideas we want made.  So after working for 2 other rental companies, it was time to take the bull by the horns and make it on our own.

Nine years, wow! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been making weddings and parties “Special” for almost a decade.  So if you’re ever in the neighborhood stop in and say hi, we’d love to meet you. Also it would get me out of doing laundry for just a little while.  This is where you chuckle, but I’m being serious!