Wedding Reception Napkin Art

Most brides envision their wedding. Their outfits, who will be there. And they definitely think about how everything will look. That moment when the ballroom doors open guests are greeted by a flood of lights, music, and decor.

Believe it or not, table napkins can have a big impact on the whole look of the space. There are several ways to display napkins.


Most venues include napkins in their catering package, usually from a selection from 2-3 basic colors i.e. white, black, ivory.

Photo: Lin & Jirsa

If you want to match the napkin color with your overall decor, you can! It’ll cost you more because but the venue may be able to get them for you. To be honest for most South Asian weddings, couples get them from their decorator.

Table at a wedding reception decorated and setup for the evening.
Photo: Greycard Photography

Napkin Display

Another napkin detail is how to display them. It’s like art, there are so many options! The example on the far right is the standard napkin design and layout that comes with the venue’s package. If you want something more like the left options, the venue do that but it will cost more as there’s more labor involved.

Charger Plates

Charger plates are for decoration. They are a layer beneath the serving plate. Since most South Asian weddings serve a buffet style dinner, the plates are stacked at the front of the buffet. Referring to that same photo, after guests get their food and head back to the table, their plates will replace the napkins. Whereas in the next photo below, the plate will be stacked on top of the gold plate.

No charger plates; Photo: Lin & Jirsa
gold charger plates and purple napkins at Indian wedding reception
Guests will stack their dinner plate on top of the gold charger plate. Photo: Lin & Jirsa

Silverware and China

At most receptions, you’ll see the silverware placed on the sides of the plate. However notice on the left image, the settings are on the plate. It looks beautiful, but you know at least 1 person is going to drop their silverware while moving it to the sides. So make sure your venue has extra silverware. An additional elegant touch is the menu on each place setting.

Also, make sure you specify silverware for dinner and dessert. Most South Asian weddings require a fork and spoon, and knives are optional. Notice the left image above, which doesn’t have dessert silverware, whereas the image on the right has the additional fork above the napkin. That means that additional dessert silverware must be available later in the evening.

Notice here, they included the coffee cups, water glasses, and champagne flutes on the table setting. Some people may think the table looks crowded. Others may like that ‘full’ look and that everything guests need is right in front of them.
In this example, they went with upgraded table linens from their decorator but the basic napkins provided by the venue in the basic napkin design and layout included in the package. No charger plate. But they made their own ‘thank you’ cards and placed them on top of the napkins. Photo: Randery Imagery

There are lots of options when it comes to table setting design. Think about what you’ll be serving, when, and how you want the dinner and dessert experience to flow.

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