Wedding Napkin Folding Ideas and Techniques

ideas for napkin folding
Photo Courtesy of Carly Daniel Photography

Decorative napkin folding at the reception is one of those pesky little details that most brides are far too stressed to give much thought to. But if they can spare the time, they’ll be glad in the end that they did. An artistically folded napkin at each place setting is a special touch that reception guests will remember.

When Is Napkin Folding Appropriate?

Napkin folding is best for formal receptions that feature a sit-down, fully catered dinner. Casual affairs where the food is served buffet-style, or receptions that feature finger food but not a sit-down meal, generally have the napkins stacked near the food table for easy access and convenience.

Linen Napkins vs. Paper Napkins

napkin folding ideas for LDS receptions
Photo Courtesy of DeLane Robinson Photography

If your reception lends itself to napkin folding, then the next thing you need to do is decide whether you want linen or paper napkins.

Linen napkins are very classy and decadent, and their weight makes them easier to fold and crease. However, they are also expensive and careful pressing and ironing is required. Linen napkins are best for a small wedding to keep cost and labor to a minimum. Some caterers, however, include the cost of neutral-colored linen napkins for each place setting.

Paper napkins, on the other hand, are very versatile. Inexpensive white party napkins are the most economical choice, but slightly more expensive paper napkins can also be very decorative. It’s easy to find paper napkins in any color to fit the wedding color scheme.

Paper napkins embossed with the couple’s names and wedding date are easy to order and make a great souvenir for wedding guests to take home with them. Cleanup is also a lot easier with paper napkins. No washing is needed – just throw them away at the end of the night!
Kinds of Dinner Napkin Folds
There are many types of decorative napkin folds, so every bride is sure to find one that fits her reception. Some dinner napkin folds lie flat on the table, while others are 3-D and add height to the table.

Many brides like the look of napkins that are rolled up and tied with a napkin ring or a decorative ribbon. Others prefer to fold them into a little “pocket” that holds the silverware. Folds shaped like swans and flowers are also popular.

Napkins are traditionally placed to the side of the plate, but when you use a decorative napkin fold you can really place it wherever you want. The napkin is the eye-catching part of the place setting, so wherever you put it will be the center of attention. Napkins can be to the side of the plate, placed directly on the plate, or fanning out of the water goblet.

As a rule, the more formal the reception, the bigger and more elaborate the napkin folds can be. Just remember that monogrammed or embossed napkins should feature a simpler fold that shows off the printing. Plain napkins can be folded into more elaborate shapes.

The type of folding (or even whether you want decorative napkin folding at your wedding) is completely up to you. With a formal wedding reception, having a beautifully folded napkin at each guest’s plate is a nice touch that really says you cared enough to plan even the very smallest detail for your wedding day.

To watch step-by-step videos of “how to” napkin folding click here.

♥ Jenny Evans
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