We were asked to supply table decorations to a couple who had organised their chair covers online. Search chair covers and you will find loads of companies offering chair covers for £1.00 or even less. Sounds like a chair cover bargain? Possibly not.
This is how it works … you order your covers online by credit card and you agree that all damages will be deducted. They send you them by courier, you use them and then you send them back within 2 days. The sites claim; “Do It Yourself option which means you can cut out the cost of having to pay someone to fit your chair covers for the wedding, the wedding chair covers are manufactured with four pockets so they can be easily fitted to most chair types”. Sounds great, what can possibly go wrong?
The customer unpacked the chair covers and asked the venue to put them on – the venue said they would but understandably said there would be a charge. For anyone who has never done it, fitting stretch chair covers is time consuming and back breaking. To do covers and sashes for 100 chairs will take you at least 2 hours – possibly more. If you stop and think about it you have probably got better things to do on your wedding day 😉
So the bride and her mum started to put them on. First of all they were not particularly clean, the cheap chair companies claim that the covers will be “light laundered” whatever that means – from the look and smell of them we were not convened that they had been laundered at all. Secondly you could see through them, hotel chairs tend to be rather garish (it’s why we cover them up!) and you could see the quite clearly the red and gold stripe through the fabric. The bigger problem was that the cheap stretch covers were extremely small and particularly stretchy. Wedding Sparkle stocks 4 styles of stretch covers because the difference in chair size from venue to venue is massive. The cheap chair cover one size fits all proposition simply does not work.
As the covers went on they started to give way at the seams, I am not talking about the odd one or two but the majority. We have provided covers at the venue before and whilst the chairs are high backed – they are not particularly wide, so we were surprised by this.
The customer had signed a contract and agreed that all damages will be paid for at £4 per cover – the cheap chair company charge this upfront. What is damage – well anything they decide really. They say that anything not removed by light laundering. From our experience when people go to weddings the gents clean their shoes and the ladies slap liberal amounts of fake tan on their legs – guess what – the chairs take heavy collateral damage which needs professional cleaning is needed.
Let’s do the maths.
Hire cost of 100 chair covers for £1 = £100
Damage deposit = £400
Total paid = £500
For the example we saw 80% were damaged just getting them on – let’s assume this is extreme and say 25% are considered damaged by the cheap chair cover supplier
25 x £4 = £100
Your total cost would be £2 a cover – which is what most reputable companies will charge you – including delivering, fitting and collecting.
Collection is another issue, cheap chair cover suppliers hire you your chairs for 2 days, for every day late back they charge you £20 a day (note this is actual day not working day).
Most people get married on a Saturday so the cheap internet chair cover company will deliver them on a Friday (most couriers won’t deliver on a Saturday) which means that you have to get them back to the company by Monday – unless you are prepared to drive them to the depot then this is simply not possible without incurring additional same day courier fees.
So going back to your maths you are paying an additional £20 so the total actual cost of your cheap chair covers is £2.25.
In the end we took the cheap covers off and used ours. Crap covers look bad for the couple, the venue and the wedding decorator suppler and we didn’t want the guests thinking that the chairs were ours.
Wedding Sparkle don’t do cheap chair covers like this because they are a con, please don’t fall for it and always read the small print.
Wedding Sparklechair covers 200g/ M2 polyester/Lycra mix, this means that they are thick enough not to see through them and fabric mix ensures that they have sufficient stretch but at the same time maintain their shape and have “cotton” like appearance. Cheap covers have are 100g/M2 or less and have a higher Lycra content – which makes them thin shiny (like tights!).
We get them professionally laundered (cleaned to hospital standard) and insist on using a fabric conditioner that makes them smell fresh. Only in EXTREME cases do we charge for damage – we have supplied over 5000 of covers this year and have only charged for 4 covers.
We always check with the venue prior to your event to ensure that we bring the right covers and that they are the right size.
We put them on, make sure they look nice and then pick them up the following day. We charge £2 for stretch and £3 for fitted (because we have to press them).