Event formality dictates the shape and size of napkins used.
Napkins are usually square. The following list shows what sized napkins are used for various occasions:
*Formal, Multiple Course, Meals – large napkins (22 – 26 inches square);
*Buffet Service – medium to large napkins (18 to 24 inches square or 12 x 22 inches);
*Informal Dinners – medium napkins (18 to 20 inches square);
*Luncheons – smaller napkins (14 to 16 inches square);
*Tea – small napkins (12 inches square)
*Cocktails – very small napkins (9 inches square, 4 x 6 inches, or 6 x 8 inches).
Napkins are placed in the center of the service plate to save space at a formal event. (Menus can be placed on top of napkins or in napkin folds) Informal meals allow the host to place the napkin wherever they choose. Keep in mind when ordering napkins with caterers to always add an additional 6-8 for those that drop them, spills or just take it them to the dance floor. Also consider what color napkins will be used in your breadbaskets if they are placed on the table you will also need to order them. Feel free to mix and match your napkins as part of your overall design.