We had an amazing venue for our wedding, and after deciding to not go with the “too perfect” castle venue, but instead go with the do everything yourself dream / Jane Austen venue, I began to realize that everything…well it meant a fuck load of work. As in sourcing knives, forks, plates, cups, glasses (water, beer, wine, champagne, spirits), kitchen equipment for the caterers including fridges and ovens, bar equipment, table cloths, napkins, water jugs, butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, propane, serving utensils, milk jugs…
So I began the fun of getting quotes from everyone on hiring all of these things. There are some fab places that hire these for quite reasonable prices in Ireland but upon realizing that tablecloths and napkins weren’t actually that cheap, I decided to give in to my massive wedding hoarding / vintage urge and look on eBay for vintage table cloths. And this my friends, is when the aforementioned do-it-yourself wedding addiction began in earnest….
I searched “vintage table cloths” on eBay and found myself in a whole new world. After some searching, I began to fall in love with Quaker Lace tablecloths. These are machine-crafted lace tablecloths, but the company, Quaker Lace, essentially made it possible for “middle class” Americans to purchase lace curtains in the late 19th century, introducing their first tablecloth in 1932. I tried to look for original Quaker Lace tablecloths that had tags on them to prove their authenticity, but I definitely strayed a few times to a few cheaper, potential knock-off purchases.
And given this was becoming a full blown addiction, I began to search for vintage napkins. Low and behold, these are actually very cheap to purchase! I did a mixture of eBay and Etsy purchases for napkins. Some were small batches of personalized (even monogrammed) napkins, others were large batches from estate sales. A few were even Irish linen I found at Goodwill for $1 a napkin.
Overall, I spent $352.66 on 13 tablecloths, for a total of $27.13 per item. On napkins, I spent $244.22 for $2.16 an item. While the tablecloths were definitely more expensive than just hiring white, linen tablecloths from a rental company, and the napkins were a little more expensive, the amount of romance that they added to overall event was wonderful. No regrets! (Although my poor mother and family friend Susan who washed and ironed all of the napkins in the days running up to the wedding might say otherwise!)