10 tips when hiring chair covers on a DIY service.

March 2012

Our DIY service within our set up service areas saw an increase of 34% during 2011. This is a clear reflection of more and more weddings being arranged on a budget during this financially challenging time.

There are 2 main reasons our customers choose to dress the chairs and tables themselves. The first is quite simply that it is a cheaper service than the set up. The 2nd reason is that some customers prefer to dress the room themselves as they feel this gives them complete control over the look of the room and adds a more personal touch. It also gives the more creative types a chance to put their talents to good use.

Below are 10 tips to use when hiring chair covers on a do it yourself service:

1. Get samples first. The first and foremost tip is to find a chair cover hire company who send out samples. There are many different styles of chair covers out there (Lycra, linen and ruffled being 3 of ours) and even more styles and shades of sashes. Remember, you’re not going to receive the chair covers until the week before your wedding and if you don’t like the ones you’ve chosen, it will be too late to change them by then.

2. Visit your venue for a dress rehearsal. Once you receive your samples, visit your venue to try them on their chairs. Different chair covers have different effects on different chairs so only try them on the chairs that will be used at your wedding on the day. A common misconception is that linen covers are the better cover as they’re generally more expensive. The only reason they cost more is because they have to be ironed. One size linen cover may “fit” 5 or 6 different chairs. This means the same size cover will be snug on one chair but loose on another. In my opinion, the linen chair covers only look their best when snug. As the Lycra covers mould the chairs, they look snug on pretty much every chair.

3. Hire Lycra chair covers This isn't mandatory, but it is advisable. As Lycra covers don’t need ironing, they can be squeezed into a box and transported around the country with absolutely no effect on their appearance whatsoever. The linen covers are all ironed then folded and put into a box a week before your wedding. They stay folded (never hung) until they’re put on the chair, so they will definitely have fold marks in them Depending on their treatment by the courier company staff, who knows what condition the linen covers will arrive in? You definitely do not need the added stress of spending the week leading up to your big day ironing chair covers.

4. Count and check your consignment when it arrives. As if you don’t have enough to do 3 days before you get married! This tip will put your mind at rest though and save any unnecessary stress when you go to fit them. It will also prevent any extra charges after the wedding. Problems like this reported after they have been used will not be honoured and will result in a bill so spending 5 minutes counting your order will prevent this from happening.

5. Get help. You’ll be surprised how time consuming just putting chair covers and bows on can be. We work at a rate of 30 chair covers and bows per person per hour. This means that 3 people can fit 100 chair covers in around 1–1 ½ hours.

6. Small bows, long tails. Big bows look nice for about an hour before they start to droop. For maximum effect that will last the duration of the day, tie the bows small with longer tails. Personally, I think the fold-over effect is a much better option when working with heavier materials such as satin and taffeta. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.

7. Find a marker. When tying the sashes, find a marker on the chairs (i.e where the top starts to round off) and tie every sash at this height. This way when you’re finished, all the sashes will be at the same height.

8. Work backwards. When dressing a ceremony room where the chairs are set out in rows, it’s always best to start at the front row. Cover one row of chairs, and then sit on the uncovered chair behind to tie the sash on the covered chair in front. This way you won’t sit on any covered chairs so won’t crease them or tamper with the position of the sash. When covering the function room, take an uncovered chair round with you to sit on when tying the bows. We use a hairdresser’s stool on wheels.

9. Make sure they’re all level. When you’ve finished tying all the sashes, step back and look at the chairs from the front. Make sure they’re all level and none are twisted. It’s the final touches that matter.

10. Delegate someone to pack them up. The last thing you want to be doing after your wedding is counting chair covers. This often isn’t even possible if you’re being whisked away on a honeymoon. So, pre-arrange and delegate this role to someone so you’re safe in the knowledge they’re all being sent back with no hiccups. The chair covers will arrive to you with some paperwork. Give this to the person who will be dealing with them so they know how many there should be. Remember, they’re you’re responsibility as the customer. If they’re to be collected from a secondary address then inform the chair cover company of this before they’re sent out to you.