Cloth and folds
The napkins you offer your guests during dinner will likely be made of a nice fabric. Your wedding reception is a formal event (even for you rustic types), so etiquette suggests you go for cloth. Many venues provide linens, so you won’t really have to worry about picking them out yourself. However, you might get a choice of color and fold. Here are some popular napkin fold options:
Pyramid: This common fold sets your napkins in the shape of a pyramid. It stands thanks to two triangle shapes, which fold together. The pyramid is easy to do and many restaurants and caterers rely on it.
Silverware roll: This is a favorite fold for restaurants serving large amounts of customers at once (like at your wedding). All the silverware you’ll need gets rolled into the napkin. While a good choice for making your life (and the lives of your servers) easier, it’s not the most formal option.
Three pocket: The three-pocket fold puts the napkin in a rectangle shape and features (you guessed it) three pockets in which to place silverware. It’s a variation on a single-pocket fold, but has a little more flare.
While there is a time and place for the fancy finery of fabric napkins, you’ll also want to include paper varieties in your reception. Many couples opt to have a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception in which guests mingle, nibble on hors d’oeuvres and drink spirits. Because cocktail hour is somewhat casual (everyone’s on their feet, after all) you want to offer guests paper napkins. Cocktail napkins are small and perfect for holding finger food.
You can purchase cocktail napkins that are plain but within your wedding color scheme, or you can personalize them. Consider purchasing napkins that allow you to add a favorite photo of you and your fiance, or varieties that include the date of your wedding. This additional touch, while small, is something your guests are sure to notice.