Napkin Folds That Will Elevate Your Reception Tables
Attention to detail is one key factor that separates good weddings from truly great ones, and creative napkin folds are the perfect example of how the littlest details can make a major impact. While napkins are undoubtedly a necessary part of your tabletop design, their method of display doesn't need to be standard or plain. In fact, we think it should enchance the rest of the décor choices you've made.
Gone are the days of triangular pyramid napkin folds: From elegantly decontructured folds to crisp and contemporary napkin designs, couples are getting more creative with these dinnertime staples. Why even bother with special napkin folds? Well, first impressions matter, and this is a great way to set the tone for your celebration. Maybe you chose to have a traditional ceremony but you want to let loose at your reception and really get the party started. An edgy tablescape with dark napkins will immediately communicate to guests that they're in for a change of pace. Alternatively, a linen hemstitch napkin with a fold highlighting a custom monogram will let guests know to expect a classic, elevated evening. Whatever artistic direction you choose, a thoughtful napkin fold that matches your wedding's style will leave a lasting impression.
Beyond creative folds, you can use your napkin design as a chance to bring additional details, like ribbon or napkin rings, into your place setting. Take this place setting designed by Linda Ha for example. Instead of simply laying a menu card on top of the textured gray napkin, Ha chose to use a contemporary gold paper clip to connect the two elements. The overall effect was chic and polished.
Ahead, we rounded up more unique napkin folds and accessories to inspire your own big-day choices. No matter your aesthetic, you'll find your perfect finishing touch here.
One of the most elegant napkin folds just so happens to be the simplest: the rectangular fold. The napkin edges are tucked out of sight and the whole fold serves as an understated base for a dinner menu or place card. Rebecca Rose Events accented this large rectangular fold with a single gardenia bloom to reference the blooms featured in the couple's cluster centerpieces.
Pocket folds vary in depth and this particular design pocketed nearly the entire menu. If your menu card features a crest or calligraphy detail at the top, this is a great option. It hides the type featured on the rest of the menu, bringing focus to the top motif or detail.
Dramatic contrasts in size can be striking. Here, the rust red linen was folded into a tight rectangle, nearly the same size as the place card, bringing a unique play on proportions to the design dreamt up by Grit & Gold Events. We also love how the napkin color tied in seamlessly with the We + You floral centerpieces.
A Simple Turn
Rotating a classic rectangular fold 90 degrees adds a whole new feel to the place setting. Here, the change played up the whimsical vibe of the reception.
A napkin roll is timeless option that's surprisingly versatile. Here, the gold napkin ring, which referenced the gold-rimmed chargers seamlessly, was truly the star of the show.
A gold-foil printed menu was rolled around a linen napkin before being tied together with a sprig of greenery and gold thread. With everything resting atop botanical-inspired plates, the whole look was perfect for a garden party.
Less Is More
When the rest of your tablescape is bright and bold, a simple napkin fold ensures that your design elements don't compete with each other. Here, sapphire table runners and a jewel-toned centerpiece were complemented by an understated napkin roll.
Bright and Bold
When your plates are ornate, it would be a shame to cover them up. That's why the placement of these bright yellow napkins (all the way at the tops of the plates) makes sense. The gold rings were the perfect finishing touch.
A La Tavola Fine Linen napkin was folded into a thick rectangle to serve as a stand for menu cards on this elegant table.
Take a cue from wedding stationery when deciding on an appropriate napkin fold. Belly bands are often secured around wedding invitations and this napkin acted similarly by wrapping horizontally around the gold rimmed charger.
A wraparound fold doesn't have to be horizontal. This vertical wrap lined up nicely with the menu card and contrasted the table's indigo Casa de Perrin plates perfectly.
Setting your reception tables with both a salad plate and charger lends your design to endless possibilities. Here, a vertical wrap napkin fold was artfully sandwiched between two plates for a textured blue-on-blue effect.
To mirror the table's beige runner, this napkin creatively featured a layered runner of its own, which added depth the the vertical fold.
Two napkins were layered together and elegantly draped over the place setting to create a perfectly effortless look.
A large triangular fold brought geometric flair to this otherwise smooth and rounded vignette.
Tie the Knot
In stark contrast to the loose, unfolded look is the tightly knotted napkin. The effortlessly chic feel of a napkin knot continues to be a popular style with modern couples.
This sleek black knot is proof that a tied napkin is perfectly at home at the black-tie wedding.
This napkin fold featured a little bit of everything. The frayed linen was knotted before being placed at an angle under the salad plate. Although the napkin had a lot going on, selecting a crisp white linen ensured the look didn't take away from the table's Noonan's Wine Country Designs centerpieces or the macramé placemats.
Furoshiki is a traditional style of Japanese gift wrapping using linen napkins or handkerchiefs in lieu of wrapping paper. For this festive event, Beth Kirby styled the furoshiki-inspired place settings with taupe linen wrapped around favors to complement the Rebekka Seale hand-dyed indigo muslin napkins that were draped over the table's edge. Tara Hurst stationery and Handmade Studio plates tied the whole look together.
Tied with a Bow
If you want a special napkin display without sacrificing a timeless aesthetic, consider adding a subtle ribbon to an otherwise classic fold for an updated presentation. Here, Toast Santa Barbara used a simple velvet ribbon to elevate this classic diamond fold without taking away from the overall table design.
Inspired by a fan, this napkin turned things upside down to create a completely unique look. Sometimes all it takes is reorienting a classic fold to create a contemporary effect.
At an Angle
A simple fold placed in a unique part of a place setting can make a world of difference in the final look. Here, the napkin was folded into a simple rectangle, but was arranged at an angle under slender rose gold flatware.
A waterfall fold is as simple to execute as it is aesthetically elegant. Simply fold the napkin in thirds lengthwise before draping part of the linen over the edge of the table for a refined tablescape as seen here.
A waterfall fold crossed with a pointed, diamond-inspired fold ensured the monogram on these linens were displayed front and center. As an extra special touch, the napkins were actually hand-embroidered by the groom's aunt to be keepsakes for the couple!
This crest-inspired pentagonal fold was perfectly suited for a monogrammed napkin.
Without a Plate
Even if you won't be pre-setting tables with chargers or plates, you can still create a striking place setting. A simple rectangular fold, accented by black ribbon, created a defined place setting on these banquet tables designed by Blue Gardenia Events.
Two vertical opposing pleats framed a drink card that was wrapped around this taupe linen hemstitch napkin from BBJ Linen.
Full of Love
This pentagonal fold is both classic and creative. Thanks to a subtle color palette, the diamond-inspired fold at this A. Dominick Events soirée didn't compete with the dusty pink charger's ornate rim.
Although the options for napkin folds are nearly endless, there's a good reason that slim rectangular folds are a timeless classic. Take this charcoal napkin fold, for example. The clean lines and no-nonsense fold style make it a great addition to the table while allowing the garland centerpiece and other design elements to truly shine.
Back to Basics
In the end, whether over the top and complex, or simple and clean, your napkin fold of choice can effortlessly accentuate the rest of your tabletop design. Here, simple The Ark napkins were folded to be just slightly bigger than the Amber Moon Design menu cards and effectively framed the stationery.