Napkin Folds & Table Settings: Creative ways to Dress up your Reception Tables


You've probably seen hundreds of photos on Pinterest and online of wedding reception guest tables with all the unique details and decor elements that really showcase the particular taste of the couple. One of the traditional elements of the classic table setting is the linen napkin. Such an unassuming and basic item, right? Wrong! If you saw many of those tables without a napkin at the place setting, you would really notice something missing. This key component adds a touch of elegance and class to any table, especially when it is presented with individual style!

The art of napkin folding has been around since the 1800s, beginning with royalty and bourgeois society and has increased in popularity over the last century and ever growing with the wedding industry. After hearing from a few of the Snohomish Wedding Guild event professionals who put together dream weddings around Snohomish and the greater Seattle area, I've come up with a short list of some of our combined favorite napkin folds and how different they can look in various settings.

1. Waterfall Fold: this simple statement fold will add interest to the table with an easy three folded linen napkin draped over the edge of the table and can be topped with silverware, favors, or even just a sprig of rosemary or whatever you like!

Joanna Monger, of Joanna Monger Photography shared that Chip and Olivia's wedding gave homage to the bride's Mexican heritage with brightly colored linen napkins in a cheerful coral and highlighted with airy succulents and blush colored blooms in bud vases on terra cotta plates from Flowers by Tiffany. Mexican wedding bunting flags were waving from the rafters of Swan Trail Farms, adding to the distinct feel of the space. The couple chose to add a personal touch for each guest with a favor box on top of each napkin that were filled with little Mexican cookies that were made by the groom. This style would work perfectly for buffet dinner service where the guests would grab their food then take a seat at a table with their silverware and napkin ready to go.

{Photos by Joanna Monger Photography}

I've loved to see the various ways that waterfall folds have been used to decorate a table. No need for a table runner with this style, the fold completes the look very simply. Here is a setting we saw at one of Twelve Baskets Catering's weddings where we provided a family style dinner so the dinner plates were set on top of the waterfall folded napkin for an elegant look. Photo by David Lai Photography.

Try it slightly different with the napkin tucked between the dinner plate and the salad plate for family style service. Vintage mismatched china from Twelve Baskets Catering.