I encourage you to look at interesting way to dress your napkins. Different folds, pins or antique jewelry, ribbon, and more. If you can, avoid putting favors on the table (arrange them later as guests are leaving) in lieu of a small napkin detail. See some examples below, but don't be afraid to get creative with your own!
If you can't incorporate a bold pattern into your table linens, try using it as an accent in your napkins. You may even think to use it on napkins as well as chair pads or toppers. Here a brightly colored brocade pattern (from Wild Flower Linens is accented with an orchid).
A fantastic fold that is simple to execute and looks elegant. When using a charger with another plate, wrap a silk or lamour napkin under the plate, accent with a napkin ring. This ring can look like anything to match your decor! Secure a menu card underneath or place in a matching frame at the head of each place setting.
This is a fantastic napkin decoration and favor! A small bouquet of daisies sits at each place setting. Simple cotton striped napkins are folded into a square pattern. You can also use menu cards in this arrangement, but be sure that all vases are dry before placing them. Tie a ribbon with a simple card around each vase if you wish to have place cards.
Having a destination wedding or want to highlight one of your cultures? Use traditional accents at each place setting. Here a bird woven from grasses is elegantly poised on a linen napkin tucked underneath an appetizer plate.
For this Moroccan-inspired table, the brightly-hued napkin compliments the jeweled charge plate. The tropical blossom sits on top of a bright, beaded pin. All of the colors work together because they are jewel-tones.
I love the elegance of this napkin. It would be hard to execute for each setting but the flowing folds and the simple bloom look amazing. Definitely try to replicate this look for a 1920s elegance theme. (I would be wary of the jewels on the table though, will never stay that way!)
Again, another simply elegant napkin setting. This silk or lamour napkin is delicately rolled, secured with an orchid (wired around the napkin) and fluffed at the edges.
This napkin is arranged on the plate and accented with a vintage pin. You can also use antique jewelry on menu cards or the backs of chairs. Pins serve a functional purpose for outdoor wedding where wind may be a problem.
What do you do once the guests have been seated and napkins begin to go into service? Alert your caterer that you will be having napkin decorations (they may have already helped to set them in place). Let them know if you wish for servers to collect the remnants after serving the first course, or if you intend for the decor to be a gift to the guests. Trust me - it is worth the first look!