Choosing the Perfect Napkin for Your Table

Hello wonderful world!

As I’m sure you’ve realised by now, the Matthew Oliver Blog is back with the wonderful team working hard to bring you the content you love each week. This week is my first blog I’ve written in who knows how long and on my birthday as well! Aren’t you lucky!

I am going to grace your feed with all things napkins related. Saying it loud it sounds crazy but napkins are an integral part to every table design. From the colour and material to the fold and placement. There are probably a million things you can do with a napkin and it will either pop or flop your place setting!

Napkin Colour

Spain Wedding Planner

Photography by Pablo Laguia 

There are a range of colour options available for you to choose from but it’s best to go for something that works with your overall table design, the napkins need to feel like a thought out part of the design even if it is an easy choice. You can go for a subtle napkin to match your demure floral arrangements or a bold colour to add some spunk and depth to the design. You may want it to match the tablecloth or totally different colour to add another layer to the design. I find it easier to match the napkin to something else already in the design such as the flowers or water glass if you are having a coloured one just to tie it all together.


Napkin Materials

Aman Hotel Wedding Planner

Photography by Ben Yew Photography 

We work with an amazing company called Just 4 Linen based in London for a lot of our napkin needs. Besides offering a great range of colour, there is also a selection of materials to choose from such as Urbane – a heavier woven linen, Contemporary – a plain weave cloth similar to cotton, Satin and others.

With these choices of fabric, you can play with the textures of your table design. Do you want a sturdy linen with a more structured and full fold (Urbane) or a loose and playful fabric that you can twist easily into any shape you desire (Contemporary etc.) or even a rich velvet to shimmer and be soft to the touch.


Napkin Folds

UK Planner

Photography by The Saums 

Now that you’ve chosen your napkin colour and fabric, how should you fold it? Well if you thought the napkin options were plentiful then you’re in for a treat with the million and one ways you can fold your napkin. If you search online there are thousands of images and videos showing you the possibilities. If you’re skilled enough you can turn this square piece of fabric into something magical!

You can do a simple pocket which is ideal for tucking your menu into, a knot which usually frames the plate neatly, a diamond pocket which again you can tuck a menu into or just a rectangle which hangs nicely off the edge of the table. Another option is having a napkin ring and there are a few folds you can do here as well like the candle or rosebud. If you’re feeling particulary adventurous you can create fun animals and other free standing shapes.

Over the years we have folded countless napkins but each season we learn something new which blows our minds. 2018 seemed to be the year of the pocket fold and 2019, the year of the knot and who knows what 2020 will bring.


Napkin Placement

Normandy Wedding Planner

Photography by Bubblerock

The last thing you need to think of is where you are going to place the napkin as part of your design. Will it be on the plate, under the plate or even next to it? It’s important to take into consideration what else is part of the design such as the stationery you will have and how they will fit together on the table. The napkin can frame the plates and stationery or they can be a touch of colour to brighten up the design. The best thing is to have a play and see what’s most pleasing to you or just leave it in the hands of your trusty planner who will make your tablescape dreams a reality.

I know this isn’t the most exciting topic but I do hope it will help guide you on those finishing touches in your table design. Sure, the napkin will just be taken off when your guests are seated to be used and abused but even the simplest touch can make a huge difference to the design.


Huge love to you all xx


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