Nifty ways to liven up your table linens

At wedding receptions across the country, the tables are turning: For an intimate feel, couples are choosing smaller tables for six or eight guests rather than twelve, or larger ones (some seat hundreds!) to give the room a dramatic look. They're being topped with linens and dinnerware in bold, bright colors, and centerpieces made with shells or fruit in addition to flowers and candles. So it's no surprise that napkins and napkin folds have become yet another opportunity to lend creativity to the reception decor. It may come in the form of fabrics that play off of the wedding colors, or in far-from-ordinary folds inspired by the couple's favorite objects, hobbies, traditions, or even the way they met. Some folds incorporate a menu card or favor; others feature a simple, delicate detail such as a lace overlay or ribbon belt. All of the versions shown here add an extra decorative element, and a fun surprise, to the table.

Fresh Pick
This napkin's flat-folds frame pretty pink cherry blossoms. "White Pearl" salad plate, $14, dinner plate, $16, and napkins (throughout), all from Crate & Barrel,

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