Some call them a serviette and some a napkin. However Debrett’s say napkins and never a serviette. They should be placed on either side of a plate or in the centre of the setting, where the plate will go. They should be folded simply (and yet for me I sometimes prefer to leave them large and bold).
I know you know, but let’s take a further look at what Debrett’s tell us. Before you start eating unfold your napkin and place it on your lap (never tuck it into the top of your shirt…seriously who would do that). That said, any napkin on my lap always ends up on the floor, not once but more times than not and you spend your night with your head in your guests lap attempting to retrieve your napkin from the floor (not a good look ever). Dab the corners of your mouth through out the meal but never make a grand side-to-side wiping gestures (besides that would mean wiping off my Mac lipstick so that’s not at all cool). Finally, when you have finished picking up your napkin from the floor 20 times and wiped the corners of your mouth, place the napkin, unfolded, beside your plate.
Napkin Debate |I prefer paper because they are so much easier to maintain than cloth and so much more choice. I do however pull out the beautiful linen for more formal occasions (which are rare in our house as I prefer the more relaxed style of entertaining). As weird as this sounds, I love a great paper napkins (tragic…maybe). We all collect one thing or another and for me it is paper napkins (along with few other things). Currently we have about 200 napkins stored away (actually please don’t make me count for I think I probably have closer to 1,000!!). So often I would go shopping for the perfect napkin and could not find what I was looking for. There is nothing more annoying. So now when I see what I love I simply buy it and store it for that perfect occasion.
Perfectly French | These french napkins pictured here (from Simon Johnson, Subiaco) have since sold out both in Australia and on their French website. I am thankful I purchased just enough to get us through this lifetime of dinner parties (and possibly my son’s life after me).
Go large (40cm x 40cm) so that they make a big splash on the dining table and they look and feel generous. They cost more (between $20-30 for a packet of 20) and yet I am also known to stock up Ikea’s napkins which sell for around $3 for a pack of 50 (massive bonus). Mix them up and have fun. Put them together or layer them. I love layering. Clearly you can never have too many napkins and if one falls on the floor you still have another to go before you have to put your head in the lap of the guest sitting next to you.
Tip: Go bold, large (40cm x 40cm) and gorgeous! Let your napkin make a statement!