Summertime is full of outdoor events from weddings to family reunions or picnics to corporate summer parties. When planning one of these events, choosing the right tablecloth for use outdoors can make a big difference.


Outdoor Tablecloth Material Options

The material of your tablecloths can set the tone for your outdoor event. From very casual vinyl to sophisticated polyester to rustic-chic burlap, you have plenty of choices to fit your vision. Let’s review the advantages of each material.


Vinyl Tablecloths

You might automatically think of only vinyl tablecloths for use outdoors, and that material is certainly a viable option. Vinyl tablecloths are designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. There are a lot of fun options online, particularly for use when planning a casual picnic with a small group of friends or family. However, they might not be the best option for a larger event. There could be some concerns about their cheaper appearance and sometimes sticky feel. Other material options exist that can give you the durability and functionality of vinyl, but also contribute to your event’s chic design.


Polyester Tablecloths 

A popular choice for an organized outdoor event or your own patio table is the use of polyester tablecloths. Looking more expensive than they actually are, 100% polyester tablecloths are generally both wrinkle and stain resistant, plus they are machine-washable. The polyester fabric can repel water and stains, similar to vinyl, but it isn’t stiff, making it a softer choice that hangs better from any table. You can also purchase heat-resistant polyester tablecloths, making placement near a fire pit or the use of a candle centerpiece less of a concern.



Photo of Outdoor Engagement Party Designed by the Happy Happy Nester Blog


Polyester tablecloths can lend a polished look to an outdoor party whether you choose to use a simple white tablecloth or another option. You can find polyester tablecloths in a variety of available colors and patterns from iQ Linens. Highlight simple tablecloths with beautiful spring or summer flowers, sophisticated lighting, and beautiful place settings.


Burlap Tablecloths

Give your outdoor event an overall rustic or vintage feel by using tablecloths made from burlap or other natural materials. While burlap wouldn’t offer the easy-of-care that vinyl or polyester materials do, you can’t find a better option to complement a rustic outdoor setting. Complete the look with wildflower table arrangements in mason jars and gingham napkins. Just take care to hand wash and line dry these tablecloths to prolong their life and keep them looking sharp. One hint about making the most of burlap tablecloths, don’t forget the possible odor. Sometimes it’s necessary to air-out the burlap for up to 48 hours before use.



Photo of Rustic Outdoor Table Setting with Burlap Table Runner from


A burlap tablecloth can be the foundation of a lovely rustic table setting for your outdoor wedding or other events. Table décor options include wood slice placemats, centerpieces featuring candles, pinecones, and buckets, and vintage silver & tableware. If all of that seems like too much work, you could use a burlap table runner with or without a tablecloth underneath. You’d retain that rustic chic look without the concerns about odor and large-scale handwashing.


Added Tablecloth Protection

Ultimately, you can use any tablecloth outdoors from those made to withstand the elements to vintage linen and cotton by purchasing Vinyl Tablecloth Protectors. They are clear and completely waterproof to offer the most protection from spills, stains, and rain showers.


How to Secure Outdoor Tablecloths

One frequent challenge encountered by planners of outdoor events is keeping tablecloths on the tables! The wind is the most likely threat to a beautifully-set table, but totally out of anyone’s control. You do have options for keeping your tablecloths in place and your event moving forward. Let’s take a look at them.


Fitted Outdoor Tablecloths

Using fitted outdoor tablecloths might limit your design choices somewhat, but they will solve the issue presented by a windy day. IQ Linens offers a large selection of fitted tablecloths in a variety of colors and fabrics. These choices will allow you the flexibility to design the perfect wedding reception, picnic, or other outdoor events.


Tablecloth Clips & Other Solutions

If you don’t want to limit your choices to fitted tablecloths, the simplest solution to secure cloths to tables is the use of tablecloth clips. These clips come in a variety of styles and colors, but they might not be the most attractive solution.

A more attractive option could be the use of tablecloth weights that attach to the hem of your cloth. They are available in various weights, designs, and materials, including crystal and cast-iron.

There are options that will work to secure your tablecloths in a pinch, including rocks and even duct tape. Needless to say, planning ahead for wind is the right idea.


Color Palettes for an Outdoor Event

Another important choice for any event, indoor or outdoor, is the color scheme. For outdoor dinner parties or outdoor weddings, this choice will influence everything from tablecloths to flower arrangements. You can find dozens of color and pattern combinations for your tablecloths, table runners, cloth napkins, and chair covers available from iQ Linens. Some choices could include complementary color combinations of green, purple and brown tones, gingham print tablecloths, or napkins featuring red and white or black and white checked patterns.