And Jessica would know. Her company, Elegant Assets Events out of Elyria, offers a service I've not heard other linen companies advertise: They color-match, to ensure that a couple's linens match exactly the colors they're incorporating into their big day.
"We offer it because no one else does," she said. "Everybody seemed to have a book or a stack of swatches, and that was all they had."
Elegant Assets has gone as far as importing material from vendors overseas, or making linens themselves, to ensure a match.
Jessica's website explains: "In the process of planning my own wedding, I saw a need for honest, down-to-earth service that provided professional options with affordable pricing. I since have obtained my MBA and am working to expand Elegant Assets as a one-stop shop for event services in our area."
Before I go any further, I want to share: Elegant Assets is offering 10% off their services to anyone who mentions The Bartering Bride blog. So, scroll down to see their work, like what you see (because I'm confident you will) and email Jessica soon!
Given that our wedding colors are namely ivories and browns (the whole rustic motif), Elegant Assets is delivering to our venue simple, floor-length, ivory tablecloths. (We have a pale yellow and Dallas Cowboys-esque blue involved in the women and men's attire and flowers outside, but inside the log cabin venue, we're keeping it natural.)
It was my bridesmaid, Katie, who convinced me to rent linens rather than buy. "Wouldn't it be 'smarter' to buy my own linens and then resell them?" I'd asked her.
I told her simultaneously that Elegant Assets builds into its pricing delivery, on-site steaming and teardown, which would mean I wouldn't have to worry about a thing, theoretically.
Katie was adamant. Time is money, she told me, and you'll have enough to worry about without buying your own linens, transporting them there and steaming them, or leaving them wrinkled.
She's right; sometimes in the planning of the first, and often only, large orchestrated event of a woman's life, she needs to be reminded that if you can pay someone else to not only do something for you, but to eliminate a worry you might have had otherwise, that's more than worth it. So, Elegant Assets is hired.
Jessica founded the company in 2010 after she found herself feeling disappointed in the "overpriced" offerings on the market when her husband and she wed.
"Every little thing was extra," she told me. "Mileage costs, setup, removal."
So, she did what I was planning to do and bought her own linens. But, she says, she learned the hard way that linens, while seeming simple, can take an inordinate amount of time to arrange.
"The day of my wedding, I wanted to pull my hair out," Jessica said. "I was like, 'Oh my goodness, what did I do?' I had my mother, my sister, all of us crawling on the floors. Our bows were crooked. It took us about 6.5 hours to set up the chair covers. I was running in circles, trying to micromanage.
"I never want my brides to freak out," she told me. "You'll see in September."
There's nothing that sets this bride more at ease than a vendor with confidence. And, Jessica has going for her company not just the color-match (something she chose to do because so many brides voice disappointment with the inability of others to match the colors they've chosen), but she also has a price-match.
It's simple, but it goes a long way with penny-pinching brides like me: If, even after you've contracted with Elegant Assets, you find someone offering a better price than Elegant Assets did initially, they'll match that better price. It's a business model rooted in Jessica's own experience as a bride: "I really was wary to sign any contracts," she remembered. "I always felt I was going to go somewhere else and find something better."
Without further ado, here is some of the past work of Elegant Assets, which, by the way, offers lighting, draperies and backdrops, too. I'd not seen a chair sash quite like this before:
I asked Jessica: What's the biggest mistake couples tend to make involving linens? She replied that not paying attention to the way that linens can finish your look can result in an unfinished, disjointed feel to a room. From her perspective (of course!), linens mean a lot to the overall look of your venue. I've heard former brides say the same in answers to my 30 Days of Wedding Questions.
"Everything fits together like a puzzle," she said. "If you leave out one piece, then it's not money spent very well."
The final vendor we contracted with was our limo company. After much indecisiveness, I decided the cost would be worth avoiding multiple cars getting lost in multiple ways, thus, delaying our grand entrance and the start of our party. We do not want to keep our guests waiting.
Additionally, I won't lie: Having a limo bus sounds fun. I like the idea of sharing the time inside one with our mothers and our closest friends.
So, after gathering multiple quotes from area limo companies, we've selected Lifestyle Limousine Service, which came recommended by my bridesmaid, Amy. Carl the Limoman's rates were the most reasonable rates out there, and he suggested a limo bus because it's easier to get out of (especially when wearing a wedding dress) than a lower-to-the-ground limo.
As I hunted for our limo, I learned a few questions to ask: One, does the company have a business license? Two, does it have a livery sticker on the limo (or proof of insurance)? What is its vehicle substitution policy, and what's its minimum booking? (Most say four hours.) Oh, and how many people can fit into the vehicle?
Now that I've introduced these vendors, I only have three more and you've met the entire vendor cast for our impending nuptials. I cannot believe how time has flown. Truly. My focus now is on creating our burlap runners, framing signs for the venue, contacting guests who haven't RSVP'd (hint!) :], making sure vendors are paid when vendors need to be paid and assembling our programs.
Brides who've been here: What were the loose ends you spent your final weeks tying up? What did you forget altogether?!