4 Easy and Elegant Ways to Fold Napkins for Your Wedding
Let’s face it: Wedding planning can be overwhelming. Once you’ve got the big-ticket items like the hall and the caterer booked, it’s time to focus on the smaller details. One of the most important ways to create a beautiful reception is to design beautiful tables for your guests–and knowing how to fold napkins is a big part of the job.
Set the Table, Set the Tone
Your guests will spend at least half their time at their seats, sipping drinks and chatting with others. How do you want them to feel while they do so? The first task in designing your wedding tables is to consider your theme and tone. Formal tablescapes call for crisp white linens, floral centerpieces, and elegant napkin folding. A more casual style could be colorful and imaginative. A buffet dinner is more convenient for guests when you provide a package of silverware folded into the napkin so they don’t have to carry a handful of items to the table.
No matter what your style, you can learn to fold linen napkins like a pro for your wedding. Try one of these classic napkin folding techniques, teach them to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and you’ll be done setting the table in no time.
The Classic Pyramid
This is the easiest fold, and it’s perfect for modern decorating where clean lines are important. Pyramid napkins are also at home at a formal table where they won’t detract from a stunning floral centerpiece.
- Place your napkin hem-side up and fold in half to form a triangle. Keep the folded edge horizontal and toward your body.
- Take the right corner to meet the top corner and fold.
- Repeat for the left side. You now have a diamond.
- Gently flip the napkin over, making sure to keep the open edges away from you.
- Fold the bottom corner up to meet the top corner to make a triangle.
- Lift the napkin and gently pinch together along the center crease to raise it into a pyramid. Quality linens will support themselves in this position.
The Elegant Fan
For more texture on a formal table, try a fan fold. It’s easy to do but looks spectacular, especially when centered on a decorative charger at the place setting.
- Place your napkin hem-side up and fold in half to form a rectangle.
- Start at a short end of the rectangle and make 1-inch accordion folds back and forth until you have 4 inches of fabric left over.
- Place the napkin so the accordion folds are on the bottom and the leftover fabric forms a smooth square on top.
- Fold in half so one short edge of the accordion folds touches the other short edge of the accordion folds.
- Fold the top outer corner of the extra fabric and tuck it into the center of your accordion folds. This creates a triangle of fabric that will act as a kickstand to hold the napkin upright.
- Stand the napkin up so the long edge of the triangle and folded edge of the accordion touch the table. Pinch the innermost accordion fold and let the rest fall open to create the fan.
- When you release your pinch, the fan should support itself. Make sure the fabric kickstand faces away from the guest when you set the table.
The Lotus Flower
The lotus fold is a unique look that’s especially nice with colored linens. This napkin creates a pretty flower and makes a nice backdrop for a tulle favor bag that can serve as the flower’s center, if you like.
- Place your napkin hem-side up and fold each corner into the center to create a diamond.
- Carefully flip the napkin over so the smooth side faces up.
- Once again, fold each corner into the center to create a smaller square.
- Gently lift a corner of the square and pull the loose corner out from undertone center. This will create an oblong flower petal. Repeat for the remaining corners to complete the flower.
- If desired, place a favor in the center of the napkin as a finishing touch.
Photo credit: Leeann Marie Photography
The Cutlery Pocket
A napkin folded around silverware works well for a sit-down dinner, but it’s also a great way to mark place settings at tables where guests will get their plates at the buffet. The triple pocket adds interest by creating repeating diagonal lines.
- Place your napkin hem-side up and fold in half to form a rectangle. Keep the fold on the left.
- Fold the bottom edge to the top to form a square.
- Fold the top right corner down to meet the bottom left corner. Do this only for the top layer of fabric to create a small triangle in the lower left corner of your square.
- Fold the top right corner of the next fabric layer down towards the lower left corner. Tuck the fabric behind your first triangle layer, leaving a 1-inch strip between diagonal folds.
- Repeat for the third layer, tucking it behind the second layer.
- Fold the right side of the whole napkin under, creating a vertical crease 1 inch from the right edge.
- Gently flip the napkin over, keeping the pockets at the bottom.
- Fold the left side toward the center at the 1-inch mark, creating a rectangular strip down the left side of the napkin.
- Fold the napkin in half so the right edge meets the left edge. This will cover the strip you just made.
- Flip the napkin over. You will have three diagonal pockets.
- Place one piece of cutlery into each pocket to finish.
One of the best-kept secrets in catering is that folding napkins is easier than it looks! You can take ownership of this project by renting your own table linens and get outstanding results. Linen Hero delivers everything you need unleash your creativity and set the perfect table for your wedding.