There are plenty of ways to add personality and customization to your wedding reception. Folding your wedding napkins creatively and unexpectedly is a great example of this. It’s a small touch that doesn’t break your wedding budget but it can have a huge impact on the overall look of your reception because dinner napkins are such an important part of your table decor.

The best tablescapes at a wedding reception tie together elements from the ceremony and reception. While they can incorporate the formality and elegance of the ceremony, they can also add a bit of fun to the atmosphere of your reception. 

Table settings are a great way to greet your guests before you and your new spouse make your way around to greet everyone face-to-face. When guests arrive at their seats, you want them to feel welcome and know that you’re grateful they’re sharing your big day with you. Small touches like creatively folded napkins are a great way to make sure your guests know you’re thrilled they came and that you want them to have a great time.

To someone who has never done it, folding napkins can seem complicated. How someone could turn a piece of cloth into something that looks like a sculpture is an amazing feat until you learn how it’s done. It’s actually simpler than you think. That’s good news whether you’re folding your own napkins or if you’ve asked the reception venue to take care of it for you.

There are a few things to think about before you decide how you want to fold your wedding napkins:

  • The overall spirit of the reception
  • The color scheme of the wedding
  • The material of the napkins
  • If you want napkins to stand alone or be accessorized

Now that you have a general idea of which direction you want to head, narrow down your options for what type of fold you want. 

Start by considering whether your reception has a theme. Some do and some do not. If yours does, the napkins should compliment it. If it doesn’t, you can stick with your wedding theme and customize the napkins to go with the table linens.

For instance, if you’re getting married around the holiday season and your wedding invokes the spirit of Christmas, you can choose a red and green color palette and fold your napkins like trees. Or if your wedding theme is a winter wonderland, opt for icy blue and white colors and fold your napkins like snowflakes. Having a lakeside or ocean wedding or hosting the reception at a yacht club? Consider an anchor fold. You get the picture. If you’ve set a theme for your wedding, carry that theme into the wedding napkins.

If your wedding has no distinct theme, there are still plenty of ways to add flair to your tablescape with wedding napkin folds. Here are eight of the prettiest ways to fold napkins at your wedding reception:

1. Knotted Fold

You’re “tying the knot” so what better way to fold your wedding napkins than in a knotted fold? This is a less formal fold that’s easy and quick to do, even for larger receptions. Simply tie the linen napkins in an elegant knot and place them atop the place settings. You can also incorporate accessories into the knotted fold. Some people like to add a spray of flowers or a bit of glitter ribbon. There are endless ways to get creative with this fold.

2. Loose Rolls

This might seem like a dramatic way to fold your napkins for your reception but the key to making this work is in the color scheme and accessorizing. This is a simple fold that doesn’t take long to do. Choose a color scheme that suits your overall palette and consider tying or banding the loosely rolled napkin with ribbon, twine, or a napkin ring. You might also consider doing two complementary colors that match your overall color scheme or use a different color for every other guest. This is a great option for wedding color palettes that are bold, like black and white or navy and gold.

3. Birds of Paradise Fold

Have you chosen a peacock theme for your wedding or are you a spring bride? Is your reception venue an aviary or nature center? The Birds of Paradise fold is perfectly suited to any of these circumstances. Fold your medium-sized linen napkins into a diamond shape and then create flaps or feathers.

4. Draped Napkins

If you’ve opted not to create formal place settings for guests, the draped napkin fold is a great option. It works well for buffet service, too. You can mark each guest’s seat with a draped napkin hanging slightly off the end of the table, which defines the space and adds a pop of color to your tables without worrying about an entire place setting.

5. Modern Square Folds

If your wedding has a modern or edgy feel, the square folded napkin suits the style perfectly. Simply fold each napkin into a crisp square and place it atop the plates. We think it looks great if you alternate napkin color and plate color. To keep the squares extra-crisp, consider ironing them into shape.

6. Rose Fold

Nothing is more romantic than a bouquet of roses. You can incorporate this classic flower into your wedding napkins by rolling the linen napkin into a long, thin roll. Hold the left corner down to create a right angle and then twist it into a rose. Flip it over and tuck the loose ends under. You can really get creative with this option by using unexpected colors that complement your palette or using two napkins to create a multi-color rose.

7. Angled Fold under the Plate

Another simple option is the angled folded wedding napkin that is tucked under the plate. It’s simple but it can be perked up in a number of ways. If you really want to get fancy and you have a smaller reception, consider monogramming the napkins.

8. Napkin folded with Menu

Are you offering guests paper menus to peruse? You can create a bundle by tying the menu and napkin together. There are endless ways to do this and an unlimited number of ways to make it fancy and suited to your overall wedding theme.