8 Pretty Ways to Fold Napkins at Your Wedding Reception

Create small works of art at each place setting.

Folded napkin at place setting at wedding guest table


The tablescape is an important aspect of wedding décor that can often go overlooked. Not only does it tie together the ceremony and reception and communicate your whole vision for the big day, but it's also the first thing that your guests are greeted with at the reception and what they'll be looking at for the entire night (other than you, of course). Table linens, place settings, and centerpieces don't seem quite so trivial now, do they?

You'll want to make sure that what you place before your guests is impactful yet simple enough to easily blend into the bigger décor picture. What's a simple trick to achieve just that? Focus on the linens. Skip the boring napkin folds and instead, dress up your wedding reception table with creative, artful napkin stylings your guests have never seen before.

From elegantly knotted napkins to perfectly draped linens, these eight ideas will take your reception place settings to the next level.

Knotted Napkins

Knotted blue napkins at place setting at wedding guest table

Photo by Beatrice Howell Photo

Soft, washed-linen napkins give your tablescape a soft, relaxed feel. Tie them in an elegant knot and place each napkin on guests’ salad plates, along with color-coordinating flatware to tie the wedding palette together.

Rolled Napkins

Loosely rolled napkins at place setting at wedding guest table
Photo by Michael Radford

For a casual, unfussy look, place a loosely rolled napkin—with or without a ribbon tie—atop each plate. Be sure to coordinate your linen shades by selecting a napkin color that complements (but doesn't necessarily match) your table linen hue.

Draped Napkins

Draped napkins at place settings at wedding guest table
Photo by Amanda Nippoldt Photography

If you aren’t planning to have plates at each place setting (as is often the case when you have a dinner buffet), then you’ll need to come up with another way to mark each guest’s spot. This is a simple solution: Drape each napkin off the edge of the table—this will help demarcate each place setting while adding a pretty pop of color to the overall tablescape.

Loosely Gathered Napkins

Loosely gathered napkin at place setting at wedding guest table

Photo by Feather and Stone

Complement a loose and lush floral centerpiece with an equally relaxed place setting. Instead of folding napkins into a tight rectangle, gather them loosely; add a beautifully calligraphed place card, and tie them together with matching ribbon.

Napkin Square

Folded napkin at place setting at wedding guest table

Photo by Clayton Austin

Give your place setting a modern look by alternating the colors of the plates and napkins. Next, fold each napkin into a crisp square, adding a sprig of fresh greenery and finishing off the look with some luxe velvet ribbon.

Draped Napkin Under Salad Plate

Draped napkin under a salad plate at wedding guest table
Photo by Katie Lopez Photography

We love the clean, modern look of this monochromatic, all-gray place setting. Place the napkin beneath the salad plate, letting the napkin drape elegantly off the edge of the reception table.

Angled Napkin Under Salad Plate

Angled napkin under place setting at wedding guest table
Photo by Kayla Barker Photography

For a chic, unfussy look, we love the idea of tucking each guest’s napkin beneath the salad plate. Loosely gather the napkin and place it at an angle before topping it with the salad plate. Then, top off the place setting with a few sprigs of fresh flowers or greenery for a fresh look.

Napkin and Menu Bundle

Napkin and menu bundle at wedding guest table

Photo by Bradley James Photography

Keep your place settings neat and tidy by wrapping your napkin and menu card together with twine or string. Fold each napkin and place the menu on top; tie them together, and top each bundle off with a sprig of greenery, like the olive branch featured here.

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