help! what kind of table linens should we use for our country-casual wedding?


Okay dear readers, I need some of your decorating savvy! Our wedding is coming up soon (late in Sept) and there are a lot of details yet to sort out. I think I’m stuck on this one, and once this decision is made, the rest will fall into place. Namely: What kind of table linens should we have? Let me paint the scene: Our reception is going to be held in a barn (wood walls, cement floor, very simple and rustic) and we’re going to have four or five round tables for our guests to eat at. In my mind’s eye, I see a pattern on the tables, and would love to make my own. I’d pick a pretty pattern like the Denise Schmidt ones at PurlSoho. The problem is I don’t have the time, the skill or the sewing the machine! I have found a few rental places online that have some creative patterns. Here’s four we are debating now. Thoughts? Other suggestions for fabric or solutions? Your opinions will be greatly appreciated! — Angela M.

1. Forest Plaid: I like how classic this is, charming but not kitschy. Would look great with cream accents, daisies and black-eyed sues on the table.

2. Mod Suede: This is more unexpected and fun. Would be so cheery and yet also fit our overall sensiblility. Perhaps a touch to girly?

3.White Wildflower Sheer: This white on white pattern is so pretty, but we’d have use it as an overlay over another cloth — would that make it look too formal and stiff?

4. Yellow Picnic Check: We’d never go for the cliche of a red-and-white gingham, but this board yellow check could work. I think you could really dress it up while still keeping the country flair.

From our partners

I like the first green plaid one. Would be really nice with the daisies you mentioned. Went to an informal outdoor wedding here in TX recently where they used old quilts on the tables. Sounds too quaint I know, but with the right flowers and candles around, it was very charming.

My favorite is the yellow check. I like the white on white too, but tend to agree that it might not be the right mood. Maybe I’m just not good enough at imagining it paired with other things.
Also, I think I’m unfairly biased against the green. It looks exactly like our old kitchen ‘rag towels’ from when my mom was a kid in the 70’s. If I could get that association out of my head I would probably like it better!

Erica P.

i vote yellow.


I like both the green plaid and yellow check but would probably choose the first for myself. The colors and pattern make it casual and charming but the tight plaid pattern could be easily dressed up to match the rest of your decor.

Have you decided on centerpieces yet because if so that would definitely help?


White sheer with a white cloth underlay without a doubt! Very romantic with wild flowers on the table. You can very easily dress it up or down depending on your place settings and votives.


My husband and I got married at a historic farm, and had our reception at a wooden outdoor pavilion on the property. We had long wooden picnic benches for our guests to eat at, and I wanted to cover them with something too.

I finally settled on something unexpected – burlap. It comes in a variety of natural shades (we used a nice ivory color) and is quite reasonably priced. We used the fabric as runners down the center of the tables and our flowers (in dollar store metal buckets – ikea has something similar) sat on top of the runners.

One nice thing about burlap is there are no sewing skills required – just cut it and you’re done! You can leave the edges as-is or pull a few strands away to create a small fringe. I have a picture or two I can show you if you’re interested – just email me :)


I can picture the green plaid in a cute, breezy summer dress — it’s country but still a bit snappy, so I think it could work well. And it would accessorize easily, as you described. The much larger size of the yellow check makes it far too casual in my opinion.

The sheer fabric could also work just fine. You’d definitely want to avoid an overly shiny satin underlay. I think adding a touch of color underneath would help move it away from the formal “this is a wedding!” effect (which a white underlay would reinforce, IMO). Placing a matte fabric underneath in a color like dove gray, light blue, or pale yellow would be just beautiful.

laura k

I vote for the yellow. what about a lace underlay, a period type to go with the age of the barn.

If you’re not go to do a lot of other decor, i’d go with the mod one. If you are going to dress up the venue further, I’d go with the more sedate yellow one.

I’d also vote for either the green plaid (would look darling with the flowers you mentioned), or the yellow gingham.

I like the mod flowers, but think that in comparison to the others, they are more “city”.

Good luck and make sure you show some pics of the shindig!

I’m voting for green too. The mod is my favorite for straight-up design appeal, but the green plaid is perfect for a barn wedding.

I love the yellow and the green. The overlay does seem a bit formal and the pink and orange, while fun and pretty, seems a bit trendy and might be too overpowering.

How lovely, a country wedding in autumn… can’t wait to see pictures when it’s all done!


I’d vote for the yellow or the mod. They’re quite nice for fall and a barn, and it depends on what else you want to do. If you do loose, rustic fall flowers on the tables, the yellow and white would be a warm, yet soft, background. The mod ones are so great though, it’d be hard not to choose them. :)

I vote for the Mod Flowers – they suit your personality, and set in a “country” setting, they could be really cute…not as expected as a traditional gingham. Plus, you can understate your real flowers a bit more…go with something really simple like daisies, or pretty bundles of fall grasses like wheat, and save some serious $$$!!

Allison R

I vote white sheer wildflowers for sure.

megan k.

White sheer wildflowers!


mod suede! go with your gut, be a little wild, fun! you’re a city girl in the country and it’s your day….


My vote goes either to the white on white – lovely country wedding vibe – or to the yellow. I’m not into mod in a barn at all. Also, in such a neutral setting, the color may be too shocking. What fun decisions!

ellobie in Chicago

My favorite just looking at the four is the mod, but thinking about putting plates, glasses, silverware, etc. on top it would get pretty busy and make the tables look cluttered and messy. Same with the green, I think. I vote for the sheer over a light color or the yellow.


My vote is the Forest plaid – I like the simplicity and think that with the flower choices it will be very beautiful, yet retaining it’s casual vibe.
As a side note (& a recent prop on a job) a really cute and cheap vase for the center piece is a spray painted metal coffee can.


of the four, I vote for Mod. There’s a lot you can build off of from this pattern. Good luck.

I vote for Denyse Schmidt! What about using solid linens and then buying a couple yards of a few coordinating DS fabrics, cutting them into strips and using them to tie around your napkins and flatware? I, too, had a countryish wedding (outdoors in VT) and we used white tablecloths with a few different colored napkins. This worked great for us since we bought our flowers from a flower farm and arranged them ourselves and we didn’t know ahead of time exactly what might be blooming.

From the choices above, I like the yellow. Even though Sept. is technically fall, it’s likely that it will be pretty warm still and it just seems more summery and celebratory than the others to me.


I really like the idea of having the White Wildflower Sheer on plain grey cloth and having red, orange and yellow candles of different heights as centerpieces….


I love the white on white flowers…I am a bit traditional when it comes to weddings and i think it will be romantic. You have LOTS of parties in your future for the green plaid and the mod swirl…but this pattern stands out for this special occasion.

Have you considered toile? It’s such a nice contrast with a rustic setting and can be made country chic with the right accessories. Toile is awesome!

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 2. Looking for an easy, lovely tablecloth. Consider burlap. Mellia wrote: “It comes in a variety of natural shades (we used a nice ivory color) and is quite reasonably priced. We used the fabric as runners down the center of the tables and our flowers (in dollar store metal buckets – ikea has something similar) sat on top of the runners.” Read more about country casual table linens here. […]

I love all the fabrics, I think the yellow check would work best with the location and the theme.

I vote for Forest Plaid. Keep in mind that your final choice depends also on the dinnerware you want to use. Even if I like the pattern itself, Mod Suede is out of the question for your theme- way too modern looking.

I like the idea of Melissa about the burlap. It adds textures and you can dress it up if you like.

I am bringing you another suggestion a farm toile like La Petite Ferme Lake. You can see here

I vote for the yellow. I am having a wedding in a lodge with log walls and a very rustic atmosphere. I have been looking for the yellow checked tablecloths myself and can’t find any. Where did you find this one????? Thanks!!!!

shelterrific » Blog Archive » steal this idea: embroidery hoop art

[…] stretched through an embroidery hoop and displayed on a wall. When shopping for fabrics for the wedding, I came across a few great shops that sell small squares of meant for quilting. Here’s one […]

shelterrific » Blog Archive » on the table: flowers, fabric and more

[…] the Denise Schmidt fabric squares we placed on top of each table. You may remember there was a big a debate about what table linens to use. I ended up opting for simple cream cloths, and then I made squares […]