When we started planning our wedding, one of the first ideas we co-opted from other weddings were the handmade cocktail napkins my sister Kristal used during her wedding reception. Colorful and cute, they were just as inexpensive as paper napkins (maybe cheaper even?) and a lot more unique than anything we could hope to find at a local party store.
As luck would have it, my sister actually made the cocktail napkins for her own wedding and she was willing to make them for ours as well. I took a trip to the fabric store with all of my bridesmaids and we selected a bunch of different green and yellow batik, gingham and otherwise reversible fabrics for the simple cocktail napkins Kristal would create. Made using a rotary cutter fitted with a pinking blade, these napkins required just a steady hand and some basic quilting tools. No sewing was required and because she’s a pro, I think Kristal cut all of the cocktail napkins in a single afternoon.
Fast forward a couple of weeks (or maybe a month). We finally selected our caterer and found out they would be charging a rental fee of $1.00 per dinner napkin for our wedding. Since I roughly know how much fabric costs, I did a few calculations in my head and realized that homemade napkins would be substantially cheaper than rental napkins. They would also end up a whole lot prettier than the generic white ones we would have been stuck with had we rented them.
So back to the fabric store we went. This time we selected three shades of green fabric for the napkins. To get the most out of a yard of fabric, we made the napkins a little smaller than a normal dinner napkin…yet still ample enough for proper napkin use. Again, no sewing was required for the dinner napkins and I think she cut most of them in a single afternoon.
At the wedding itself, we put out a few baskets near the bar for guests to place their used cocktail napkins in and we instructed the catering staff to save all of the napkins for us. At the end of the reception, my sister dutifully collected all of the napkins and dragged them home to launder. At some point in the future, she’ll be using the napkins and some other handmade parts of our wedding decor (to be described soon) to create a quilt for Joel and I and maybe a couple more quilts for other family members.