For formal dinners, the dinner napkin should match the tablecloth. And forget about folding napkins into swans or boats - you're better off with a classic fold.
- Alternatively, the smaller square can be folded in half on the diagonal, and the two points folded under so that the monogram is displayed in the center point.
- Napkins smaller than 24 inches square can still be folded in the same way, but begin by making only two folds to form the smaller rectangle.
- Take a 24-inch, square dinner napkin. Fold it in half once.
- You now have a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise (bringing the two short ends together) to make another square.
- Fold the square in half again. You now have a smaller rectangle.
- Fold the two short ends of the smaller rectangle under each other to form a loose, partially rolled rectangle. Do not flatten the napkin completely.
- Make sure that if there is a monogram on the napkin, the monogram shows at the lower left corner of the rectangle. If the monogram is located at the center of one side of the napkin, it should show in the middle third of the partially rolled rectangle.
- Place the folded napkins in the center of the service plates with the monograms facing the diner. Do not use napkin rings for guests, as these typically are used within families, when napkins are used two or three times before laundering.
- Place the napkins on the side of the plate only if you put the first course on the table before the guests have been seated.