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How many napkins to order?

How Many Napkins to Order?

Tips quantity of napkins per guest
As the big event approaches, we know you're working hard to pull together all the pieces to execute the perfect party, banquet, conference, or reception. Whether you're a do-it-yourself bride or party planner, or a professional event planner or caterer, throwing a successful affair that goes off without a hitch is a common goal for everyone.One question that we repeatedly receive is how many napkins are needed for an event or wedding. Most planners are working within a budget, but even if there is no spending limit, there is no point in ordering way too much and wasting good products. To help you calculate how many napkins you need for your event, we created the following guide:

What Is The Right Number of Napkins to Order?

Traditional expectations require invited guests to RSVP in a timely manner. Send out invitations six to eight weeks before a wedding or event so guests have time to send back return cards and make travel arrangements. If your RSVP date is two to three weeks ahead of the event or wedding, that should allow plenty of time to place orders for tableware based on the number of guests attending.

With a head count in mind, you can figure how many napkins to purchase for the event. Every reception, party, or event is unique, so keep reading to determine what types of napkins you need at your event and how many of each type you need.
  • Beverage Napkins: These napkins are also known as cocktail napkins and are typically the most used at parties or wedding receptions. This small napkin usually measures between 4.75 inches square and 5 inches square and is the perfect napkin for drinks, appetizers, and desserts. If your event is featuring a cocktail hour and an open bar, plan guests having one drink per hour. This means for a five-hour event, you will need four to five beverage napkins per guest for drinks.If appetizers are being served before a full meal, plan on guests eating three to four hors d'oeuvres and needing three to four napkins. If you decide to also use cocktail napkinsfor the dessert or cake, plan on one more napkin per person. So, you need a total of eight to 10 beverage napkins per person for a 5-hour reception or party that includes a cocktail hour, appetizers, open bar, and dessert.
  • Luncheon Napkins: These standard-sized napkins are considered the go-to napkin for any meal service. offers luncheon napkins that measures just shy of 6.5 inches square, and their 2-ply construction makes them perfect for a sit-down meal or buffet service. It is typical to order one to two lunch-style napkins per person. One napkin can be placed at each guest's place setting, or they can be displayed in stacks or containers at the end of the buffet line. Having a few extra luncheon napkins is a smart idea in case of spills or messy foods.
  • Dinner Napkins: This napkin is typically used with dinner service and differs from the luncheon napkins in that it is either pre-folded into a rectangular shape or a slightly larger square shape. For more elegant wedding receptions, banquets, or parties, our budget-friendly FashnPoint, Linen-Like, Better than Linen, and Dunilin dinner napkins look and feel like cloth, but are disposable. When ordering dinner napkins, one to two napkins per guest should be sufficient.
  • Guest Towels: Guests towels are generally made from a thicker ply material -- and therefore are more absorbent and usually softer than other disposable napkins. These napkins are pre-folded into a rectangular shape and are slightly larger than dinner napkins. These can be used as dinner napkins at the table or as an elegant alternative to restroom paper towels or hand towels. A good rule of thumb is to order two to three per person if you are using guest towels in the restrooms. If you choose to use this napkin for a meal, then order one to two per person.

To Sum It Up:

  • Beverage Napkins: Order three to four per guest
  • Luncheon Napkins: Order one to two per guest
  • Dinner Napkins: Order one to two per guest
  • Guest Towels: Order two to three per guest for powder rooms. Order one to two per guest for dinner
We hope this guide helps make your napkin purchasing easier! As always, call our friendly customer service team with further questions at1.888.959.3789.

Wonderful tablecovers! Not a cheap plastic look or feel, these look so nice and elegant. ... read more

Abigail Seattle, WA

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