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How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

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When it comes to entertaining, few things impress quite like a formal dinner table—especially when it’s been properly set. More importantly, taking the time to set a formal table shows your guests how much you care. “Knowing you are expected and are an honored guest only adds to the anticipation of the meal and the company,” says Jodi Smith, etiquette expert and founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. But between knowing what utensils go where, when certain plates should be cleared (or added) to the table, and how many glasses should be at each place setting, the correct formal table setting etiquette can get a little tricky. That’s what typically deters people from learning the rules in the first place.

Although setting a formal dinner table may seem complicated, it’s actually not that hard once you’ve armed yourself with the right tips. Even if you don’t have a dinner party or special occasion that calls for setting a formal table, learning how to do it is a skill every hostess should know—and furthermore, it better educates you on being a guest at a formal dinner. “It’s important for every adult to know the formalities of a proper place setting,” insists Jung Lee, the sought-after event planner and founder of Fête. “For me, it’s no different than knowing one’s manners. And the structure of a proper table setting isn’t a complicated math formula. It’s logical; once you know it, it’s hard to forget.”

Ready to jump in? Click through for the fundamentals and helpful tips on setting a formal dinner table.

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Before the First Course

“Once you realize table setting is based on logic, things become less intimidating,” says etiquette consultant Pamela Hillings. For example, you begin eating a meal by using the flatware at the outside left and right, and then working your way in towards the plate as the meal proceeds. Forks are placed to the left of the plate, knives and spoons to the right. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate; bread-and-butter plates sit above the forks, to the left of the place setting.

Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger, a large plate, which will be removed after everyone spreads his napkin on his lap (napkin rings, often customary at family meals, may be used as a festive decoration). The water glass stands above the dinner knife, white wine to its right, and red wine top center.

“When more than four guests are expected, be sure to create seating in advance,” says Smith. “Place cards are a lovely touch, or the host may direct people to their seats.” And remember, if you’re using place cards make sure you place them for your guests, but not for yourself.

Although it may seem protocol, both Lee and Smith strongly advise against setting a napkin underneath the forks. “It creates quite a bit of noise, and the occasional dropped fork as guests pull their napkins for use,” says Smith. “The first thing people do when they sit down is reach for the napkin, and they have to disrupt the place setting to get to the napkin, which isn’t gracious,” adds Lee.

Also, remember to think ahead when setting the table—if there are going to be toasts, Smith says a champagne glass should be added, and be placed furthest to the right to enable guests to easily raise their glasses.

Although we live in a less formal world these days and pretty much anything goes when it comes to setting your table for the holidays, I do believe it is always best to start with traditional entertaining etiquette, learn the proper way to do something and then change things from there. Once you understand the proper etiquette of how to set a formal place setting you can manipulate it to achieve your preferred style or feel for your table.

This place setting diagram for a formal dinner is a fantastic straight forward approach to learning the Formal and Informal versions for your next gathering.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

MOST COMMON CHANGES TO FORMAL PLACE SETTING

I find the biggest change most hostesses make to the Formal dinner Placesetting is to reduce the number of glasses on the table. You may not enough glasses or perhaps your table space does not allow for three glasses per guest. In most situations one wine glass and a water glass will work just fine.

Next change is the removal of the bread and butter plate + knife, and for similar reasons as the glassware, quantity and lack of space.

THE FORMAL PLACE SETTING TRADITION YOU SHOULD BRING BACK

A tradition of the formal place setting that is often skipped, which will actually save the host both time and space in the long run, is placing the dessert fork and coffee spoon above the dinner plate. By setting these two pieces on the table right from the start you have saved a step in between courses. After dinner simply clear all flatware on the sides of the guests plate, slide the dessert course flatware down to each side and you are ready to serve your coffee + pie!

TOP REASON TO HAVE A DIAGRAM FOR A FORMAL PLACE SETTING

As I mentioned, our society is becoming less and less formal on a daily basis however, during the holidays I find it is nice to take a tip from the past and set the table with a slightly more formal touch.

My advice? Learn the rules first then bend them, do it well, with purpose + beauty and your guests will not question you. Or at the very least you will have the knowledge to respond correctly if they do!

Looking for more resources? Announcing the release of the first in the Entertaining series – the Entertaining at Home Checklist and Planning Guide.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Most lives are pretty hectic, and since eating in front of the television has become the norm for some, it’s easy to forget how to set a nice table and the proper placement of tableware and cutlery. Here’s a quick refresher on how to set a table for that ‘perfect’ dinner.

Keep in mind that traditions and cultures will often influence what a proper dinner table setting should be like, so it can vary depending on where you live. But as long as you keep your table organized, every place setting is the same. All the essentials such as stemware, dinnerware, and cutlery are conveniently placed at each place and you’ve dressed the surface to create a warm dinner space, it will be acceptable. The following is the traditional way to set each place setting on the dinner table.

Top: From Left to Right

  • Bread plate with a butter knife (top left of dinner plate)
  • Coffee cup (top right of dinner plate)
  • Water glass
  • Wine glass
  • Liquor glass

Bottom: From Left to Right

  • Salad fork
  • Dinner fork
  • Dessert fork
  • Dinner plate with salad or soup bowl on it
  • Knife (can add a butter knife)
  • Soup spoon
  • Small spoon

Watch Now: 8 Tips for Setting a Beautiful Table

Table Setting Pointers

Table linens, whether a full tablecloth or individual placemats are essential to give your table an elegant, soft and inviting look. Fabric tends to absorb sound, so it can also make the dinner table more intimate.

Napkin placement depends on your preference and there are many folding variations. As a default, it can be placed (fanned and folded) in the water glass, simply folded on the dinner plate, or placed beside or underneath the flatware to the left. Some tableware pieces may be optional, depending on the dinner to be served.

Setting a beautiful table is not difficult, nor do you need expensive tableware or silverware. Arrangement and creativity are the keys to a pretty place setting. You can also add a plate charger under each dinner plate setting. These tend to add glam to the table.

Adding a table centerpiece will complete the decor and you can buy something appropriate or make your own. A sprig of evergreen in a vase, a crystal bowl filled with holiday tree balls, or a gold-painted pumpkin are examples of simple, do-it-yourself table centerpieces. Candles help to create an intimate atmosphere but keep them unscented as some people have sensitivities to scents.

Being creative with the decor will help bring out your personality and particular style. The objective of setting a nice dinner table is to create a soft, intimate, and elegant place to break bread with family and friends to share together and build memories.

If you’re setting a table for a formal dinner, hosting tips can help. Preplanning for a special dinner is key to serving on time and maintaining the proper temperature of food. It also alleviates stress and makes your dinner party more enjoyable for guests as well as for yourself, the host.

Having the right equipment for a dinner party can help you to stay on target when it comes to serving. It’s also easier to cook for a group when you use the right equipment. Find some helpful tips about products for buffets or housewares for serving at special events, formal dinners, weddings, or group and sports socials.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Setting a table is not as difficult as it seems. However, the more formal it gets the more confusion can easily come into play. Many of us can navigate a table setting fairly easily. Even if we are unsure of a particular utensil or cannot quite decipher which order the courses will be served in based on the setting, we can make our way through by paying attention to others. But when it comes to being in charge of setting the table, one can easily draw a blank. (Are these forks different sizes? Do I have to count the tines? Which order do the glasses go in?) Breathe, we’ll start with the basics.

The first and basic rule to get you started is: Utensils are placed in the order of use; from the outside in.

A second rule, with only a few exceptions, is: Forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right. (The oyster fork is the only fork placed to the right of the setting if it will be used.)

Finally, only set the table with utensils you will use. Not serving soup? Then, no soup spoon for you.

What kind of setting do you want to create?

Remember to think about the type of meal you are serving, what you’re prepared to handle as a host, and what level of formality you’ve chosen for your gathering. A casual pot-luck with close friends or family certainly doesn’t need to be more than the most basic of settings. A formal affair, and menu, however will necessitate a few more utensils and a bit of style thrown in to properly pull off a fancy at-home meal. That being said, many skilled hosts have been able to pull off a formal meal with limited tableware by putting practicality first and utilizing a dash of creativity (and maybe some very quick dish washing between courses.)

Don’t fret if you do not have every utensil known to mankind. Salad and luncheon forks can often double as dessert forks, in our own set a fish fork doubles as the dessert fork (though we don’t suggest substituting an oyster fork for a dessert or salad fork – that might be going a tad too far.)

Here are few basics along with links to more details to help you set your table.

Basic/Casual Table Setting:

The basic or casual table setting can be even more casual than what is pictured here. Many families (and restaurants) regularly set the table casually in one of two ways.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

1) All utensils are placed on the napkin: The napkin is placed to the left of the setting with the fork, knife (blade facing the fork) and spoon placed in that order on top of the napkin.

2) The napkin to the left with the fork resting on top of it. To the right of the plate is the knife (blade facing in toward the fork and plate) and a spoon (if necessary) set to the right of the knife. The water glass is placed above the knife or at 45 degree angle to the right of the knife.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Informal/Semi-Formal Table Setting:

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

The informal or semi-formal place setting is fairly basic and setting it will depend on personal style, the courses you are serving, and what you have to work with for utensils, dishware, and glassware. Informal/semi-formal settings are wonderful for the classic dinner party. They bring just enough of a step up from our everyday settings to make the table feel special, but don’t go so far as to make the event feel too stuffy for a Friday night with friends, or a family holiday setting.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Take note that the dessert utensils can either be brought out with dessert or set above the setting during the entire meal. If set for the entire meal the fork is placed so that the handle is pointing toward the left and the spoon sits above the fork with its handle facing to the right.

The butter knife is placed on the butter plate with the blade facing in toward the diner. The table setting is mostly designed for right-hand dominant diners and thus the handle of the butter knife is placed so that it points to the right. This makes it easier for the right-handed diner to pick up the knife in the their right hand.

Some hosts place the fork on top of the napkin to save room in the setting or to keep things slightly more casual. Other hosts feel this is not in keeping with the idea that each item should be touched only when it is to be used and that disturbing the fork to get to the napkin is less than desirable. At Emily Post we say, it’s really up to you and your style. Where we don’t see as much room for stylistic detours is with the utensils themselves. We have seen some inventive settings with all the utensils at the top of the setting, or flipped around so that forks are on the right and spoons and knives on the left and they have yet to make us run right out to repeat it.

Not pictured, but often used, are wine glasses which typically in an informal/semi-formal setting you’d have one (maybe two) placed to the right of the water glass.

Remember when you clear the table for dessert to remove the unused utensils (except the dessert utensils if they are out) as well as the butter plate and butter knife.

Formal Table Setting:

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Here we have set a four course meal (including dessert) without a wine glass and a five course meal (including dessert and adding an oyster dish) with a wine glass. There are many many variations
that a multi-course meal could have when it comes to the setting. Soup may be served in between a salad and main course, which would move the spoon between the two knives, there could be a soup course and a palette cleansing mint sorbet course which would mean using two spoons, or having spoons brought out for these courses.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Finger bowls may be used in which case they are brought out after a messy course instead of being placed at the setting the entire meal. A charger plate may be used (or not). The napkin might be set to the left or placed in the center of the charger. You could also be serving a different wine for every course which would result in a cascade of glasses flowing to the right of the setting. Options abound!

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

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While specific place settings are to be expected at formal or semi-formal events, an orderly arrangement also unifies the look of the table at a casual or informal meal. The most basic place settings include one fork, a knife and a spoon along with a plate and drinking glass. Add more pieces as needed based on the food and drinks being served.

Informal Place Settings

The fork goes to the left of the plate and the knife goes to the right of the plate with its blade facing the plate. A spoon goes to the right of the knife. Set beverage glasses above the knife and spoon, with the coffee cup to their right. Napkin placement may be atop the plate, beneath or to the left of the fork. If serving salad, the salad plate rests on the meal plate or to the left and above the fork; the salad fork sits to the left of the meal fork. A soup bowl may replace the salad plate on the larger plate; if so, add a soup spoon to the right of the knife or the beverage spoon. Cutlery is always arranged in the order it is needed — from left to right on the left side of the plate and right to left on the right side of the plate — no matter how many courses or dishes are served.

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Place the dinner dish in the center of the table setting to serve as the centerpiece. The fork should be set to the left of the plate to ensure proper alignment. The knife should be placed to the right of the dinner plate, and the spoon should be placed to the right of the knife. Place the water glass in the upper right corner, above the knife, and set the knife aside.

How do you set up a place setting?

Instructions for Creating a Basic Table

  1. Organize the placemats on the table. Place the meal dish in the center of the placemat. Place the napkin on the plate to the left of the plate. Place the fork on the napkin and fold it over. Place the knife that is closest to the plate to the right of the plate, with the blade pointing in.

What are the 5 basic table set up?

The most common set-up consists of one piece of each of the following: plate, knife, fork, spoon, glass, and napkin (in that order).

What are the 4 types of table setting?

Let’s have a look at the many sorts of table setups.

  • Table Settings Can Be Divided Into Four Types: Formal.
  • Formal. Formal.
  • The formal table setting is popular for weddings, holiday dinners, and any other occasion where more than three courses are being served. Informal. It is likely that the casual table arrangement is the most often utilized.
  • Basic.
  • Buffet.

What side of plate does napkin go?

In the case of a napkin, the napkin is folded or placed in a napkin ring and placed to the left of the forks or in the middle of the dinner plate, depending on the situation. Occasionally, a napkin folded in half is placed between the forks. To the right of the plate, with the cutting edge of the dinner knife facing inward, is the dinner knife. (d) Salad Fork: To the right of the plate, to the right of the salad fork, is the dinner knife.

What is basic table set up?

Exceptionally Simple Table settings should be limited to a fork, knife, spoon, and napkin, which should be placed near the dish as a minimum. The folded napkin should be placed two inches to the left of the plate and the fork should be resting on the napkin as a general guideline for placement.

How do you set up a Thanksgiving dinner table?

Begin with the dinner plate, then add a folded napkin and the salad plate on top of that. The knife and spoon should be placed to the right of the dish, while the fork should be placed to the left. Above the plate, wine and water glasses should be placed on the right, a bread plate on the left, and the dessert fork and spoon should be placed just above the dish as well.

What are the general rules of table set up?

What are the Rules for Setting the Table?

  • Cutlery is arranged in the sequence of usage, starting from the outside and moving inside.
  • Forks are always placed on the left side of the setting.
  • Knives are always placed on the right side of the setting. It is customary to place glasses above knives. Dessert should be served with the dessert spoon and fork elevated above the dish.

What is a formal place setting?

This type of place arrangement is reserved for formal occasions such as dinner parties or holiday meals that need more than three courses to be served. Simple, formal place settings are elevated by include glassware, plates, and utensils for the meals and beverages that will be served with the subsequent courses in addition to the informal place settings.

Where does the napkin go when setting a table?

The napkin should be placed either to the left of the fork or on the far outside of the fork rest. Place the napkin on top of the plate if you are at a formal table setting with three forks.

Where does salad bowl go in place setting?

Salad plates are positioned above the forks and to the left of the dinner plate on the dinner plate. Sandwich platters should be placed somewhat higher than the salad dish and closer to the dessert fork. Flatware should be placed on the table in the order in which it will be used by guests: Start from the outside and work your way in.

What dishes are in a place setting?

Most place settings feature five pieces, making them ideal for singles or couples who are just starting out with their collections: a dinner plate, salad or dessert plate, bread plate, teacup and saucer. Soup bowls may be included in certain sets. Dinnerware sets offer several place settings, allowing you to cater to the needs of the entire table.

What are the 2 major types of place setting?

Table settings may be classified into several categories. Formal, informal, and simple table settings are the three most popular styles of table settings. Each place setting comprises the utensils and crockery pieces that would ordinarily be associated with the kind of eating that is being served at the time.

The fork goes. where?

So, you’re cooking up a storm to serve for a special dinner party or holiday gathering. But what about setting the table? That’s important, too. A beautifully arranged table will make your quests feel extra special — as well as compliment every dish you serve. Here’s how to set a table properly. #adulting101

How to Set a Table for Dinner

A well-set a table is about efficiency and practicality. It isn’t rocket science, but a properly set table will show you’re a thoughtful host or hostess. It will also keep you calm and able to enjoy your guests during dinner because everything needed will already be on the table. We’ll outline the basic steps for how to set a table so you feel totally confident about which fork goes where. Have no fear! It’s easy!

Fork It

“FORKS” is the Clue. Start by placing the dinner plate in the center of a placemat, or centered in front of a dining chair about two inches from the table edge. Next, say the word “FORKS.” This is your key to the order of the silverware you’ll place on either side of the plate. Starting on the left, “F” is for fork, “O” is for the dinner plate (its shape), “R” is for right because you’re going to put the “K” (for knife) on the right side of the plate, followed by “S” for spoon. Always turn the blade of the knife inward, to face the edge of the plate. (A tradition probably leftover from medieval days to symbolize no one at the dinner table would become aggressive!) (“Game of Thrones,” anyone?)

If you’re including a separate fork for salad, place this on the outside of the main dinner fork because it will be used first. What to remember: Silverware is placed on the table in the order it will be used; Silverware used first should be on the farthest left and right sides of the plate.

Napkins

Once the silverware is in its proper place, arrange a folded napkin (open side towards the edge of the plate) on the left (outside) of the fork. As an alternative, folded napkins may be placed on the dinner plate, or inserted into the wine or water glass. Just don’t put the napkin under the fork.

Bread Plates, Salad Plates, and Glasses

Next up: if it’s a formal dinner, you’ll use small plates for bread and salad, and stemware or glasses for water, wine and other beverages. Here’s another trick to help you remember their placement: Snap the thumb and first finger of your left hand together to make a “b,” and then do the same with your right hand to make a “d.” What does this mean?

  • “b” is for bread and butter — Bread and butter plates, plus the salad plates, go on the left side of the dinner plate above the fork; butter plates first over the fork, salad plates above them. Butter knives are placed horizontally across the butter plate.
  • “d” is for drinks — Glasses go on the right side. Place the water glass directly above the knife tip, and the wine glass to the right of the water glass.

All the Extras

Are you serving soup? If yes, place the soup bowl or soup plate (a shallow rimmed plate) on top of the dinner plate. (Fill the bowls in the kitchen; it’s easier!) And yes, you will remove the bowl before serving the main course. Tip: Remember to include an extra spoon for the soup — on the right, outside the dinner spoon.

Having dessert and coffee or tea? Once all the main course dishes are cleared (including the salt and pepper shakers) from the dining table, place cups and saucers for each person on the right side below the water glass.

Where do the dessert plates go? They may be placed in front of each person, or serve the dessert at the table, and then pass the servings to your guests. A dessert fork or spoon may be placed on the plate, or, when you first set the table, place it above the dinner plate with its handle pointing to the right (Remember where the water glass is? That’s the correct direction.) so it’s easy for right-handed guests to pick up.

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Knives and spoons are put to the left of the dish, and forks and spoons are placed to the right. Traditionally, stemware is placed above and to the right of the dinner plate, while bread and butter dishes are positioned directly above and to the left of each place setting.

How do you arrange silverware for dinner?

Place your flatware on the table in the order in which it will be used, with the items that will be used first on the exterior of the table. Knives and spoons should be placed to the left of the dish, while forks should be placed to the right. Knives should always be oriented inside, towards the plate, at all times. It is not necessary to use a spoon when you are not serving soup.

What is the proper way to set silverware?

Table Setting 101: How to Set a Proper Table

  1. The first and most fundamental guideline to remember is that utensils should be put in the order of usage, starting from the outside in. A second norm, with a few exceptions, is that forks should be placed to the left of the plate while knives and spoons should be placed to the right. In the end, just arrange the table with the items you want to use.

How do you set a tableware for dinner?

Place the dinner dish in the center of the table setting to serve as the centerpiece. The fork should be set to the left of the plate to ensure proper alignment. The knife should be placed to the right of the dinner plate, and the spoon should be placed to the right of the knife. Place the water glass in the upper right corner, above the knife, and set the knife aside.

What order does silverware go in the drawer?

Numerous comments followed, with the majority of respondents agreeing that the cutlery drawer should be organized as follows (from left to right): big knives at the bottom, knives, forks, spoons, and teaspoons at the top. A neatly organized cutlery drawer, regardless of one’s organizational inclinations, may make a kitchen more productive overall.

How should silverware be placed in the dishwasher?

To avoid cutting yourself, Gonzalez suggests that you always review your dishwasher’s instruction manual first. In general, he recommends that you “place your spoons facing up, forks facing up, and knives facing down, so that you don’t cut yourself.” According to Gonzalez, forks and spoons should be placed face up so that they will be exposed to greater water pressure and get cleaner as a result.

What are the five general rules for table setting?

What are the Rules for Setting the Table?

  • Cutlery is arranged in the sequence of usage, starting from the outside and moving inside.
  • Forks are always placed on the left side of the setting.
  • Knives are always placed on the right side of the setting. It is customary to place glasses above knives. Dessert should be served with the dessert spoon and fork elevated above the dish.

Does silverware go on the right or left?

The arrangement of cutlery. Place your cutlery on the table in the sequence in which it will be used, starting from the outside and working your way inwards with each meal you will be serving. Forks should be positioned to the left of the plate, and knives should be put to the right of the plate with the blade edges pointing inwards. It is recommended that soup spoons be positioned to the right of the knife.

What side does napkin and silverware go?

Knife blades should always be directed toward the plate, with the exception of the butter knife, which should be placed on top of the bread plate and pointed down and left. Napkins should be put on the dish to the left of the fork or on the plate itself before the meal is served. Place silverware on the dish starting approximately one inch from the edge, providing enough space for serving.

What are the 4 types of table setting?

Let’s have a look at the many sorts of table setups.

  • Table Settings Can Be Divided Into Four Types: Formal.
  • Formal. Formal.
  • The formal table setting is popular for weddings, holiday dinners, and any other occasion where more than three courses are being served. Informal. It is likely that the casual table arrangement is the most often utilized.
  • Basic.
  • Buffet.

Where does the salad bowl go in a table setting?

Salad plates are positioned above the forks and to the left of the dinner plate on the dinner plate. Sandwich platters should be placed somewhat higher than the salad dish and closer to the dessert fork.

What are the types of place setting?

Formal, informal, and simple table settings are the three most popular styles of table settings. Each place setting comprises the utensils and crockery pieces that would ordinarily be associated with the kind of eating that is being served at the time.

How do you set a casual dinner table?

Instructions for Setting a Casual Table

  1. Organize the placemats on the table. Place the meal dish in the center of the placemat. Salad plate should be positioned on top of the dinner dish. Start with a soup course, and then layer the salad dish on top of it. A napkin should be placed to the left of the charger.

What is an informal table setting?

An informal setting is one with little dinnerware and is used for meals of up to three courses, whereas a formal setting is used for meals of six courses or more. Although all of the flatwear is placed on the table together in an informal setting, it is possible that certain items are removed away and others are added in a formal setting.

Jaimie Mackey was the real weddings editor at Brides from 2013 to 2015. She also worked as a luxury wedding planner and produced over 100 high-end weddings and events in Colorado

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How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Photo by Carmen Santorelli

When it comes to wedding etiquette, it’s important to cover the basics alongside those nitty-gritty questions, which means it’s time to talk table manners! And nothing is more essential as a host or hostess than knowing how to properly set a table, especially if you are having a formal wedding reception. If it’s time to place the rental order and you’re still having a hard time pinpointing the charger from the champagne flute (or where they go!), we’ve got a cheat sheet to make sure each place setting is perfect.

There’s a lot that goes into setting a traditional formal wedding table and we understand that it sometimes gets tricky. First, let’s cover the vocabulary you’ll need to know:

Charger: A charger (sometimes called a service plate) is larger than a standard dinner plate, and is often more decorative in design. You don’t eat off of a charger —instead, other plates are set on top of it.

Dinner Plate: This is a large (usually 10–11 inches) plate that is used to serve the main course.

Salad Plate: This is a smaller (usually 8 inches) plate used to serve salads or appetizers.

Bread Plate: This is the smallest (usually 6–7 inches) plate, used to serve bread and butter.

Salad Fork: This small fork is used to eat salads or appetizers.

Dinner Fork: This is the biggest fork on the table, and is used to eat the main course.

Fish Fork: Often with three prongs, this fork is used to eat fish only. You’ll know it’s the fish fork because it resembles a trident.

Dessert Fork: This is the smallest fork on the tables, and is reserved for eating dessert.

Salad Knife: This smaller knife is used to eat salads or appetizers.

Fish Knife: This smaller knife does not have a sharp edge, and is often slightly offset like a spatula. A notch at the top helps you cut fish using the natural flaking quality of the flesh.

Dinner Knife: This larger knife is used to eat the main course, and can be replaced with a steak knife if required.

Bread Knife: This small knife does not have a sharp edge, and is used for spreading butter or spreads on bread.

Soup Spoon: This large spoon has a deeper bowl, used for eating a soup course.

Dessert Spoon: This small spoon is used for eating dessert.

Water Glass: This glass can either be a flat-bottomed cup or a goblet with a short stem.

Wine Glass: This glass, used for serving wine, usually has a long stem and comes in a variety of shapes (some of which are created for specific colors or varieties of wine).

Champagne Glass: These narrower, taller glasses often have long stems and can be a coup, tulip, or flute shape, designed for serving champagne or sparkling wines.

Now let’s put everything on the table, starting with the plates.

1. Plates

When setting a formal table, begin with plates. First, center the charger in the middle of the place setting. You can get creative with your chargers and play with colors, materials, and textures. Then, put the dinner plate on top of the charger, and the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. As for the bread plate, that’ll be incorporated while you’re placing the flatware.

2. Flatware

Flatware arrangement is crucial as it’s also the most functional! Flatware is arranged on the table in the order you will use it, working from the outside of the place setting toward the center. (If you’re a guest, always remember it’s outside in!)

From left to right, arrange the salad fork, fish fork, and dinner fork to the left of the charger. Now, starting immediately to the right of the charger and working your way to the right, place the dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife, and soup spoon. Note that fish forks and knives, as well as soup spoons, should only be used if those courses will be served!

Place the dessert fork and spoon horizontally above the charger. The dessert fork should be closer to the charger, with the tines to the right, and the dessert spoon should be above it, with the bowl of the spoon to the left.

Place the bread plate to the left of the dessert fork and spoon, right above the forks. The bread knife should be placed either horizontally or diagonally across the bread plate. The blade of the knife should be closest to the edge of the table, and the handle should be toward the charger.

3. Glassware

All glasses should go above the knives, to the upper right of the charger. From left to right, the glasses should be arranged as follows: Water, red wine, white wine, and champagne.

4. Napkins, Place Cards, and Menus

This is where you can get crafty and be slightly more flexible. You may opt to place the napkin in the center of the salad plate, beneath the charger, or to the left of the plate and beneath the forks. If you are using place cards, those should go either in the center of the salad plate or directly above the dessert fork and spoon. Printed menus can go in the center of the plate, and are often tucked into the napkin.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

  • Post category:French Manners and Etiquette / French Food
  • Post author:Nassie

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When I got married, a lovely French friend offered me an elegant set of cloth table napkins. I’m sure I looked at her oddly, but she let it slide.

Weren’t cloth napkins just for restaurants? I put my observation skills to the test (basically put my glasses on!), and a few dinner parties later, I realized that even the table setting for dinner at home involved napkins. The “Art de la Table“, as it is called.

The Art de la Table

The Art of the Table is defined as the art of preparing and presenting the meal in elegance and conviviality.

To put it more simply, you are not supposed to gulp down your meal in France. The chatter of loved ones, the feel of soft linens and spotless cutlery, the smell of a heavenly dish, and finally the taste. It is all meant to sing together to be the highlight of your day, to relax and unwind.

Right about now you’re thinking, who eats like that!? At home, with kids? Even if French kids supposedly eat everything, watching a 4-year-old trying to eat messy spaghetti will hardly be relaxing.

The History

But let’s rewind

, if you are wondering how the Art de la Table came about. The French Royals were always amongst the trendsetters in the courts of Europe. From the time of Marie de Medici to the tables of Marie Antoinette at Versailles, long elaborate meals became the norm at

But where the Art really took off and democratized was after the French Revolution in 1789. French aristocrats had fled or had their heads chopped off, leaving behind vast armies of chefs and servers needing employment. These unemployed

opened up their own restaurants, looking for new customers, finding a new class of clients: the bourgeoisie.

New industries sprung up around tableware and

to educate the masses. Slowly people implemented these “rules” at home

But today even the French can’t maintain that level of exigence every night. A normal workday for office workers in Paris ends around 6-6:30 pm, and after commuting home, picking up the kids, bathing them, etc., the French are just as time-pressed as anyone.

The Formality

Now the French like formality on most occasions, and dining and etiquette is no different. Even en famille, the table will be set in the Informal table setting below.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

You will notice a couple of interesting things in the above illustration.

For one, there is a napkin in both the formal and informal setting. French people really do use cloth napkins when they eat. It is more ecological than paper.

Another is that the glass for the water is also in goblet format. It is just an added touch of class added to the “fine dining experience”. It is also quite nice to include older children and those not imbibing in wine, in the experience.

And finally, even with their great love of baguettes, the French informal setting doesn’t include a bread plate, since French people usually place the bread directly on the table. (A table cloth is recommended.)

The French Hack to Fine Dining

Now, you are probably looking at this and thinking, even the informal table setting looks too formal!

But I’ll tell you one of the secret weapons in all this: Frozen Food. I’m kidding of course, but not that much.

The Art of the Table doesn’t actually have much to do with the food. Especially on a daily basis, after a long day at work. There is a reason that Picard, a gourmet frozen meals grocery chain, is usually within walking distance of every neighborhood in Paris. There you can find everything from full meals to side dishes,

quick aids, like sauces and desserts.

The real secret is not the main meal, but everything else. You can set the atmosphere with an interesting tablecloth and napkins. Add a few delicious staples such as gourmet cheese, baguette, and fruit. Et

hop! The ordinary meal has now turned into a feast. Even if the main dish was a little burnt from sitting too long on the stove 😉

So try it tonight, pull out the fancy cloth napkins, slap together a quick meal with a good bottle of wine, and spend 2 hours over a lazy dinner with loved ones. L’Art de la Table is the process, rather than the destination. (Maybe after that 4-year-old is in bed though.)

Shop Favorites:

  • 24-piece Plate set for 6 – by Villeroy & Boch
  • 12-piece red and white wine glass set for 6 – by Libbey
  • 38-piece cutlery set for 6 – by Belleek
  • 8-piece serving dishes – by Godinger Silver Art Co.
  • Champagne flutes for 6 – by House of Hampton
  • 23-piece tea set for 6 – by August Grove

If you want to learn some French-English keywords about the Art de la Table, download our Free Flashcards here. And if you enjoyed that article, you may want to read more about what a typical dinner in France is like, with all its courses. A bientôt!

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

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How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Are you intimidated by the very thought of hosting a formal dinner? Do you worry that you’ll reverse the proper order of forks or put the bread plate where the water glass is supposed to be? Many people feel the same as you.

Now you can stop fretting. Setting the table for a formal dinner is not as difficult as you might think. All you have to do is follow a few basic guidelines, and your guests will think you’ve been doing this all your life.

Dispel the Stuffy Image

When most people think of a formal dinner party, an image of men dressed in stuffy tuxedos, stiff butlers with sour looks on their faces, and miserable guests who would rather be anywhere else often come to mind. But that’s not the reality. Anyone can host an event with people minding their manners while sitting at a table during a nice meal.

Keep It Simple

Formal dinner parties don’t have to be intimidating or awkward. They can be quite fun if you know what you’re doing. Start with the place settings. The etiquette rules for setting the table are simple and very straightforward. If this is your first time, familiarize yourself with a few basic rules and tips, and your guests will have no idea that you’ve never done it before.

Own It

Remember that this is your dinner party, and you may need to tweak some of the rules to make it work for your table or meal. Don’t make an issue of it unless someone asks about it. Many people have no idea how a formal dinner table is supposed to be set, so the guests are likely to look to you for guidance on proper etiquette. Discreetly take the lead. If anyone makes a mistake, do whatever you can to cover. You don’t want anyone to be embarrassed by not knowing what to do.

Tablecloth

Although a white linen tablecloth isn’t essential for a formal dinner party, you can’t go wrong with one. The elegance of a starched white tablecloth and matching napkins sets the stage for your meal.

Even the simplest of foods will look nice against the white background. Off-white is another elegant option. You may also use contrasting napkins for a more dramatic effect.

Dinner Plates and Napkins

The first item to place on the tablecloth is the dinner plate. Position it right in the middle of each setting, equally spaced and with enough room for the rest of the setting. You may use napkin rings or fold the napkins elegantly. Place them in the middle of the dinner plate.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

When throwing a dinner party or having guests for the holidays, it’s important to make sure your guests feel comfortable, entertained, and well-fed. This means making a few small tweaks to your home.

Setting the table is one of the most common tasks of the day, but it can sometimes be stressful. Don’t add to your stress by overthinking the process and leaving the table set up to chance.

Instead, plan your menu the night before. Get the recipes for this cookbook and prepare them yourself. You’ll love the results!

A basic set is the first thing to add to the table to make it look more festive. The best way to start is to set out a few dishes and glasses, and then to add more pieces as the party progresses.

You’ll be a great host in no time!

Basic Table Setting

The white button-down shirt is the most versatile of all the shirts I own. It goes with everything, and it never looks out of place.

This is a very important principle of good table manners. The dining table is set up for everyone’s convenience, so everything is arranged around the dinner plate in the order it will be used.

It’s good to know how to use different types of flatware for different types of food. The fork is on the left of the plate. The right side of the plate is the place where the knife and spoon are placed.

The knife should be placed above the water glass, and napkins can be used to place under the forks or on the plate for a more formal setting.

Informal Dinner or Luncheon Table Setting

To make sure your Amazon account is as secure as possible, you’ll want to set up your account with the following options:

Salad is served before dinner, and if you’re going to serve salad, the salad fork should be placed on the left side of the dinner fork. If you’re not going to serve salad, the salad fork should be kept at home and the dinner fork used as a dessert fork.

Soup is served, but the soup bowl is on the plate, and the soup spoon is next to the beverage spoon.

When eating with friends, use small dinner plates and put the butter on the bread. Put the butter spreader next to the knife.

The best way to put dinnerware together is to arrange the glasses in the order of serving size and place the cups and saucers above the spoons.

Formal Dinner Table Setting

Set the scene for an informal dinner or luncheon by choosing a setting for the event. You’ll find some ideas here.

A small amount of table salt is sprinkled into the middle of the table. The dessert spoon is the one to the right of the knife.

How to Make a Sit-Down Dinner Special

During the holidays, it’s best to host a formal sit-down dinner instead of a casual family-style supper. You’ll be able to serve each guest a plate of food, and you’ll be able to show off your own culinary skills.

Serve your best dishes, silverware, and linens in place settings. It’s very helpful for guests to find their seats easily.

You should select a centerpiece for your table that’s not too tall. The maximum height for a dining table is 10 to 12 inches. So that your guests can see each other at the dinner table.

If you have guests, serve appetizers and beverages in the living room before seating them. You’ll have one less course to prepare.

Before guests arrive for dinner, have the children wash their hands, fill goblets with water, and arrange the bread and butter and salad plates. Set out small bowls for them to pass around.

When the salads come out of the refrigerator, let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to let the heat from the kitchen warm the air around the salads.

If you don’t have oven-safe dinner plates, wash them under hot water and dry just before filling.

After the salad, you should clean up the table and put away the dishes used. If you don’t already have one, you can then prepare and garnish individual dinner plates in the kitchen.

Before serving dessert, make sure the table is clear of all plates, glasses, salt and pepper shakers, and condiment dishes.

You put the sugar and the cream on the table. Then, place the desserts and coffee cups on the table. Don’t worry about cleaning up. You can clean up when everyone has left and is used when the dessert is served.

On every occasion whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, closed one’s birthday or any anniversaries, we really enjoy having a memorable dinner with loved ones. Therefore it’s is exciting to almost all the people to plan an amazing dinner and invite guests to it.

While preparing for a dinner we really want to plan a different and elegant way to host a dinner party. Apart from decoration and cooking we love to serve people on a sophisticated dinner table.

That’s why we always want to know how to set a formal and elegant and more like a restaurant dinner table. But as we’re not professional it is tough to decorate.

So for relieving you from thinking let’s know how and what to use to set a formal dinner table.

The number utensilsused to set a formal dinner table varies. It entirely depends on the number of food items and also the kind of the foods. Different continental foods require different setting of dinner table. So here I will provide the way of standard dinner table that is followed mainly in western continent.

As I said it requires number of utensils for different items. But if you set a standard way to set a table, it will subsume wide variety of food items that you can serve at your home.

So things you need to set a formal dinner table are given below. You should follow the given order with the utensils which you will cost you less effort and less time to set a formal dinner table.

1. Charger

Well, charger is the root of a formal dinner table. Don’t worry. It’s not like the mobile phone charger by that you can get the table charged. Charger is a large nice under plate upon where the main dishes like dinner plate, salad are kept.

It must be at the center of the place setting in front of the guest. One more thing is you can use tablecloth under the charger. It depends on the way you like to decorate your dinner table with or without tablecloth or napkin under the charger.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

2. Napkins

The second thing that you must put on the table is napkin. Napkins must be very clean. There are two way to keep napkins on a formal dinner table.

  • Folded napkin can be used on a formal table. You have to fold the napkin nicely with different design and put it on top the plates on the charger.
  • Napkin can be put on the left side of charger. The forks can be placed on the napkin or at the right side of the napkin next to the charger. Usually the size of the table determines where to put the napkin. If you have enough space you can keep the napkin alongside the forks otherwise just keep it under the forks.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

3.Knives

Knives are always kept at the right side of the charger plate. Dinner knife must be immediate right side of the plate followed by salad knife. If there are any fish courses then place the fish knife right after the dinner knife followed by salad knife. Make sure that the blades of the knives face the plate.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

4. Forks

The position of the forks is always at left side. Arrange the forks at the left side of the plate in the way that the first one is on the last from the left. Typically the forks and knives are arranged in order in which they are going to be used starting from the outside.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

5. Spoon

If there are any fruits or soup items on the course then place a spoon on the right side of the plate. Spoon must be kept after the knives. So place the spoon at the right most position of the plate.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

6. Bread Dishes

Now place the bread dishes on the upper left side of the charger. This position can be assumed as 11 o’clock position. On top of this plate keep a small butter spreader blade facing to the plate and handle on the right.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

7. Glasses

Place the water glass above the dinner knife and remember to keep little space between knives and the water glass otherwise the guest will feel very jammed on the table.

If you are serving wine then place the wine glasses in front of the water glass to the plate ending with the sherry glass right to it. In case of serving champagne, a flute goes to the right to the water glass.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

8. Dessert plates

You should not put dessert plate or utensils with the main courses. You have to put those items after removing all the staffs used in serving main dishes.

So after finishing the main course, you will bring the dessert plate with typically dessert on it. Now place the dessert utensils as follows; put the dessert spoon at the right and place the dessert fork at the left.

Some Key things to remember:

  • Don’t place oyster fork with forks. Oyster forks are always kept at the right side of the table.
  • One thing you should remember that oyster fork should be served for any kind of shellfish.
  • Don’t put more than three types of one utensil g. three types of fork at the same time on the table.
  • Don’t put flowers or candles very close to plate. Because putting close to the table will make the guest feel very jammed and overfilled. And remember enough space while having dinner is more comfortable than over decorated table.
  • Remember to keep the knives enough sharp.So that the guests find no trouble to use it.
  • Only set any utensil if it is needed. For example, put the soup spoon if the soup is on the dinner courses list.

Here you have a formal and elegant dinner table on that you will just not only serve the guests at the best way but also help you to serve the foods properly and easily. So it’s your time to serve your guest like a popular restaurant. All the best to you!

Are you looking for knives for slicing brisket? Then you must check this.

Throwing a dinner party or even a casual lunch shouldn’t intimidate you. Whether you keep it simple or go full-on fancy, this guide will help you set your table and ensure everything is in place for an unforgettable night. Print our handy place setting guide and hang it inside a kitchen cabinet so it’s always on hand when needed. Now all you need are a few good recipes, and you’re ready to entertain!

Casual Table Setting

Not every get-together requires a formal place setting. Opt for something more casual when hosting impromptu parties and lunches with friends or family.

For casual table settings, the knife and spoon go to the right of the dinner plate; the fork and napkin are placed to the left. The glass goes above the knife. If needed, a soup spoon and a salad fork can be added (placed on respective sides in order of use); a cup and saucer may be placed to the right.

Although your place settings are informal, you can add special touches to your tablescape by adding an unfussy centerpiece, cloth chargers, or fun place cards.

Informal Dinners or Luncheons

For informal dinners, add an extra fork for salad, as well as serveware for dessert. You may also choose to add a wine glass to each setting.

Arrange the knife and soup spoon to the right of the dinner plate; place dinner fork and salad fork to the left of the plate in order of use. If serving dessert, place a dessert spoon and dessert fork above the plate, pointing left and right respectively. Arrange glasses, bread plate, and bread knife as directed for formal sit-down meals, below.

Formal Table Setting

For formal occasions, like holidays, go all out with your place settings. You’ll need multiple spoons, forks, and possibly knives, depending on what you’re serving. You can also opt to include bread or salad dishware and utensils, as well as items for serving dessert. You’ll also need a cloth napkin for each place, napkin rings (if desired), and place cards.

Place a knife (blade edge in) next to the plate. Then place spoons to the right of the knife in order of use from outside in. Place forks to the left of the plate in order of use from the outside in. Arrange glasses above the knife. Left to right, the water goblet is first, followed by wine glasses, placed large to small.

If you’re using a bread plate, place it above the forks. A butter knife may be placed across the bread plate. The salad plate is placed to the left of the forks, and the cup, saucer, and coffee spoon to the right of the setting. For formal dinners, these items are usually brought to the table when served.

If entertaining isn’t your favorite chore or you are just looking for some new idea for Valentine’s Day, Wedding, etc., and if you’re working in a restaurant, here’s my helpful suggestions to make those party plans seem effortless.

Entertaining in style is expected these days and interesting suggestions to ensure your parties are memorable. Ladies do it with style this Valentine’s Day, or at least you are expected to. Perhaps you better half has invited “just a few” people for dinner. On closer investigation you find that it’s to entertain the VIP’s of the company who just happens to be in town for a couple of days, along with other important people from the firm.

Basically, the organization has to be “just right” and there is no room for panic or anything other than the best in presentation from the table arrangement to the food.

When sending out invitations, do try to give plenty of notice. The usual time is at least two weeks in advance. If the dinner is informal perhaps for friends or relatives often just a phone call, mobile phone, or a short note would be sufficient. If you do arrange formal parties and celebrations, it is worth having set invitations printed at the printers; all you need to do is fill in the date, time and details of the event.

However, if your formal entertaining isn’t a regular event, then a typed or neatly written invitation is best. Send it out at least two weeks in advance, a month is better). To ensure that the guest is informed of all details make sure the following details are included. The day, date and time; if there are pre-dinner drinks or a reception beforehand, the occasion and style of dress (formal/informal/national dress).

When giving the venue do include a map for those who are unfamiliar with your location. Most importantly, include the name of the host or hostess and easily RSVP contact number or reply card for the guest to confirm.

When planning the meal take into consideration the guests who will be attending: are there any special diets required for health, personal or religious reasons? Maybe one or two of the guests are known to have light appetites and would appreciate smaller portions.

Dinner Party Planning:

For a formal dinner, the courses generally are as follows: Cold hors d’oeuvre, soup, warm hors d’oeuvre, fish, sorbet, main course with side dishes, cheese or fruit, dessert and tea/coffee with petit fours. Of course not every dinner party demands such formality therefore most people cut the courses down to a starter, main dish and dessert. If you are not sure which way the menu should be planned, offer a cold hors d’oeuvre, a warm soup or fish course, a main dish, then dessert. In this way, much of the preparation can be done well in advance and frozen ready for the big day.

No dish should ever be repeated, however crustaceans are an exception. Dessert should be light if the main course is rich. Consider a balance of colors – all white food is boring, so the emphasis should be in varying the colors of each course, yet ensuring the dishes complement each other.

At times it may be preferable to serve small hors d’oeuvres with pre-dinner drinks and move straight into the fish/soup course when guests are seated at the table.

When it comes to place settings for formal dinner parties, it really pays to invest in an attractive and sophisticated dinner service and cutlery. It will be money well spent for they could last a lifetime. One of the first impressions a guest may have of the host is the table presentation. A crisp white table cloth with a pretty overlay is often all that is required to show off your tableware to its best.

Add to this color coordinated candles, a pretty posy of flowers (nothing too high or it will obstruct your guests’ views of each other) and condiments in dainty containers and you have the perfect setting around which to serve a meal.

To keep your linen in top condition treat any stains immediately. Spills can be treated with a proprietary stain remover available in many supermarkets. Don’t be tempted to bleach your linen cloth as it will only damage and weaken the fibers. Linen can be laundered in an automatic washing machine. Once washed, the linen should be line dried (not tumbled dried) and taken off the line when it is still damp, then ironed. Spray starches can be used and if possible, steam iron on a medium setting. If you are particularly worried about your linen, take it straight to a reputable dry-cleaning firm the following morning and point out any stains, describing what they are.

Setting the Table:

To get a clear idea of the space required to put the dinner plate you will be using on the table. The plate should be placed one thumb nail in from the edge of the table. Place the side plate to the left of the dinner plate with the bread knife on the right side of the plate, its blade turned to the left.

Cutlery should be laid with the main course knives and forks nearest the plate, and the other courses working outwards until, on the very outside should be the cutlery for the first course. Knives should be placed on the right blades pointing inwards, forks on the left, while the soup spoon traditionally lies on the knife side. Dessert spoons and forks are placed at the head of the plate with the fork handle facing the left and the spoon handle to the right. If there is cheese, the cutlery is placed the same as the dessert cutlery with the spoon being replaced with a dessert knife.

The glass which accompanies the main course (the leading glass) is placed directly above the dinner knife. Glasses which accompany courses before the main dish are set before the leading glass and glasses which accompany a course after the main dish are set behind the leading glass.

This order is important as it ensures the guest has unrestricted access to the glassware for each course. Glasses should be removed after each course, apart from the water glasses which should be placed in line with the first course glasses. No more than four glasses should be placed on the table. Additional glasses can be added later if required.

Dish washers are too harsh for crystal as heat and abrasive cleaners may mark the surfaces. Jostling in a dishwasher can also cause chipping and cracking. It’s better to hand washing in water that is hand-hot using a mild washing up liquid. Rinsing well in lots of clear water – vinegar in the rinsing water will help remove any stubborn stains. Wash away from the taps to prevent chipping and drain on a plastic coated rack or towel.

When drying, use a clean linen dish towel (keep several ready for the task) and hold the glass by the bowl, not the stem, for twisting the stem in the opposite direction to the bowl can cause it to snap. Polish the glasses then store standing on their bottoms not the rims, well spaced out to avoid any potential chipping in your cupboards or glass cabinets.

Vases and decanters can be cleaned by filling them half-full of moderately hot water, a small amount of mild detergent, two tablespoons of white vinegar or ammonia and ¼ cup of uncooked rice. Swirl the rice around for a few minutes to remove residue inside. Rinse well with moderately hot water and air dry, upside down on a rack.

Accessories provide the ideal finishing touch to a table: add some fresh flowers, candles and place cards but always remember that the decoration should be unobtrusive yet attractive. With practice and even inexpensive decorations, it is easy to create elegant table settings. Keep an eye out for attractive fabrics which could be made up into inexpensive table mats and napkins.

Introduction: 15 Steps on How to Create a Proper Formal Place Setting.

Step 1: Step One: Place Mat

To create a impressive formal table setting select a decorative place mat to accent the china and the utensils in the place setting.

Step 2: Step Two: the Plate

The next step is to add the service plate. This plate is the largest place in the setting.

Step 3: Step Three: the Salad Plate

The salad plate is placed on top of the service place. The salad plate closely resembles the bead plate.

Step 4: Step Four: Soup Bowl

The soup bowl is placed on top of the service plate and the salad plate. in most fromal dinners soup would be served to guest.

Step 5: Step Five: the Dinner Fork

The dinner fork is placed to the mid left of the serving plate. it is one of the largest forks in the place setting arrangment.

Step 6: Step Six: the Salad Fork

the salad fork is placed in between the dinner fork and the service plate. also located in the nine o’clock position.

Step 7: Step Seven: the Service Knife

The service knife goes to the right of the service plate. The service knife resembles a kitchen butter knife but is a little heavier.

Step 8: Step Eight: the Soup Spoon

The soup spoon is placed to the right of the service knife. the soup spoon has a more rounded head and is slightly bigger than a regular dessert spoon.

Step 9: Step Nine: the Fish Fork

If fish is on the entree for your formal dinner then your table setting will require a fish fork. This fork is the smallest fork in the arrangement.

Step 10: Step Ten: Cake Fork

The cake fork is place directly under the desert spoon also at the twleve o’clock position.

Step 11: Step Eleven: Desert Spoon

The desert spoon is placed directly over ( at the twelve o’clock position) of the service plate. The desert spoon is the smallest spoon in this arrangement.

Step 12: Step Twelve: Bread and Butter Plate

The bread and butter plate is placed at the top left of the service plate. This plate is used to eat dinner rolls or whatever bread is being served at the dinner.

Step 13: Step Thirteen: the Bread and Butter Knife

The bread and butter knife is placed on top of the bread and butter plate. The bread and butter knife slightly differs from a kitchen butter knife.

Step 14: Step Fourteen: the Drinking Glasses

There are several differnet versions as to how many drinking glasses to use when setting a table. The number of glasses required for a place setting is according to what and how many different beverages guest will be enjoying at the dinner. In this arrangement I have presented I used three glasses: one for red wine, one for white wine, and the other for water( also known as a water gobblet).

Step 15: Step Fifteen: the Napkin

The napkin is now added to the table setting. Always remember that the napkin goes to the outside left ( also known as the nine o’clock position) of the table setting.

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How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

There are many things to sweat during the holiday season—so much awkward small talk! Don’t let setting the table for your formal holiday dinner be one of them. If you’re not sure how to set a table (specifically, how to arrange the silverware or plates), or if you’re a guest who isn’t sure what to do with that place setting in front of you, it’s OK. Odds are that you’re like me and treat your couch as a dining room table most nights of the week. (Make TV trays cool again, am I right?)

To help soothe your holiday table worries, I spoke with etiquette expert Thomas Farley, also known as Mister Manners. You may have seen him on the Today show or read his work in Town & Country. Here, he shares his tips for hosts and guests alike.

Before you bust out your great grandmother’s china and silver (that you have to polish by hand), please note that it’s OK if you want to go a more casual route. “I would say we’re living in an exciting age in the sense that, really, you entertain the way you feel it best serves the occasion and best suits your guests and what your own entertaining style is,” says Farley, who notes that many people aren’t even registering for china anymore. But, he adds, “There is a specialness, particularly on a holiday occasion, that comes from a really beautifully set table that I think is lost if even on your most special of all special occasions you’re doing a buffet.”

If you are doing a formal table setting, there are things to be aware of when you’re setting the table.

Be strategic about seating arrangements.

Do your cousins always get into an argument over dinner? Do you think your two friends would feel more comfortable sitting next to each other? Strategize beforehand to remove that anxiety (for everyone), and assign seats using place cards.

“You’re really losing an opportunity to make your gathering sparkle if you don’t do place cards, seating people where you think that they will best enjoy themselves and contribute to the overall mood of the night,” Farley says.

What’s the deal with the forks and knives?

A carryover from Europe is what Farley calls the continental-style of dining. Forks go on the left side of the plate, and knives and spoons go on the right. When you’re arranging them, think about how many courses you’re serving and set them from the outside to in with relation to the course sequence.

Don’t overlook this tiny detail, either. “The knife blades face in, not out, so that it’s a non-threatening gesture, whereas blades facing out towards the person sitting to your right is a little bit more aggressive,” Farley says. 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e

What about glassware?

Wine and water glasses go to the right of the plate. Also, while it is the holidays and people may get merrier than usual, it’s polite to have a nonalcoholic alternative for your guests who are opting out of alcohol. While a restaurant will take away a wine glass from someone not drinking, that may be alienating at an intimate holiday dinner.

“As a good host, I would want to make sure that just because somebody is not drinking, that they don’t feel like they could be a part of that,” Farley says. Instead, offer something festive, like a sparkling apple cider.

I’m a guest at dinner. How do I approach the place setting?

A helpful tip that Farley teaches his students is BMW. “Think of a BMW logo: bread, meal, water, wine. BMW, and always in that order,” he says.

So bread is on the left, your meal is in the center, and your beverages are to the right. Now you can avoid accidentally sharing your water glass.

We shouldn’t have to say this, but keep your phones away.

“If you ever look at a map of a formal place setting, you will see oyster forks, you will see demitasse spoons, you will see things and items of cutlery that you don’t even have the foggiest notion of what they might be for,” Farley says. “What you never see is a spot for a baseball cap, a spot for keys, a spot for a wallet, or a spot for a phone. And that goes face-up or face-down.”

If you’re expecting an urgent business call or you’re nervous that the babysitter might need you, keep your phone on vibrate on your person (lap or pocket, for example).

If that call comes, excuse yourself and take it away from the table. And this extends to other phone usages, too, including Googling of random trivia (“Oh, what movie was she in?”), which snowballs into people checking their social media and no one actually talking to each other. If not checking your phone for a few hours is too much to bear, do what I do and sneak a peek on a bathroom trip. But don’t fall down a rabbit hole and disappear for too long.

These tips should make your next holiday gathering less daunting. But if you get tripped up, just remember that your family and friends are there to spend time together. And it’s not the end of the world if there’s a fork or glass out of line at your dinner party, but at least now you know how to set a table the proper way.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

When an informal three-course dinner is served, the typical place setting includes these utensils and dishes:

Our illustration shows how a table would be set for the following menu:

  • Soup course
  • Salad or first course
  • Entree
  • Dessert

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

(a) Dinner Plate: This is the “hub of the wheel” and is usually the first thing to be set on the table. In our illustration, the dinner plate would be placed where the napkin is, with the napkin on top of the plate.

(b) Two Forks: The forks are placed to the left of the plate. The dinner fork, the larger of the two forks, is used for the main course; the smaller fork is used for a salad or an appetizer. The forks are arranged according to when you need to use them, following an “outside-in” order. If the small fork is needed for an appetizer or a salad served before the main course, then it is placed on the left (outside) of the dinner fork; if the salad is served after the main course, then the small fork is placed to the right (inside) of the dinner fork, next to the plate.

(c) Napkin: The napkin is folded or put in a napkin ring and placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate. Sometimes, a folded napkin is placed under the forks.

(d) Dinner Knife: The dinner knife is set immediately to the right of the plate, cutting edge facing inward. (If the main course is meat, a steak knife can take the place of the dinner knife.) At an informal meal, the dinner knife may be used for all courses, but a dirty knife should never be placed on the table, place mat or tablecloth.

(e) Spoons: Spoons go to the right of the knife. In our illustration, soup is being served first, so the soup spoon goes to the far (outside) right of the dinner knife; the teaspoon or dessert spoon, which will be used last, goes to the left (inside) of the soup spoon, next to the dinner knife.

(f) Glasses: Drinking glasses of any kind — water, wine, juice, iced tea — are placed at the top right of the dinner plate, above the knives and spoons.

Other dishes and utensils are optional, depending on what is being served, but may include:

(g) Salad Plate: This is placed to the left of the forks. If salad is to be eaten with the meal, you can forgo the salad plate and serve it directly on the dinner plate. However, if the entree contains gravy or anything runny, it is better to serve the salad on a separate plate to keep things neater.

(h) Bread Plate with Butter Knife: If used, the bread plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife placed diagonally across the edge of the plate, handle on the right side and blade facing down.

(i) Dessert Spoon and Fork: These can be placed either horizontally above the dinner plate (the spoon on top with its handle facing to the right; the fork below with its handle facing left); or beside the plate. If placed beside the plate, the fork goes on the left side, closest to the plate (because it will be the last fork used) and the spoon goes on the right side of the plate, to the right of the dinner knife and to the left of the soup spoon.

(j) Coffee Cup and Saucer: Our illustration shows a table setting that would be common in a restaurant serving a large number of people at once, with coffee being served during the meal. The coffee cup and saucer are placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons. At home, most people serve coffee after the meal. In that case the cups and saucers are brought tot he table and placed above and to the right of the knives and spoons.

V enosta’s suggestions for proper table setting– forks, spoons, knives, plates and glasses.

How to arrange the silverware, glasses, plates and napkins

Table setting is an art form with rules to be followed for arranging the cutlery, plates and glasses. The picture shows the correct positioning:

  • Napkin
  • Fish Fork
  • Table Fork
  • Soup bowl
  • Flat plate
  • Underplate
  • Table Knife
  • Fish Knife
  • Table Spoon
  • Plate for butter or bread
  • Fruit Knife
  • Fruit Fork
  • Fruit Spoon
  • Dessert Fork
  • Water glass
  • Red wine glass
  • White wine glass

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

As shown in the figure, the forks are positioned to the left of the plate – first the Table Fork and then the Fish Fork.
To the right of the plate are the knives – first the Table Knife then the Fish Knife, each with its sharp edge facing towards the plate. The Table Spoon for soup goes next to the knives.

The Fruit Fork and Fruit Spoon are positioned horizontally above the plate, with the handle of the fork towards the left and of the spoon towards the right. A Fruit Knife may be inserted between these two, facing in the same direction as the spoon. The fruit cutlery may be joined by a Dessert Fork to complement the desserts.

The glasses are positioned slightly to the right of the plate, at about the same height as the knife. There should be at least two glasses – a larger one for water and, to its right, a smaller one for wine. If more than one wine is to be served during the meal, the number of glasses increases, always being positioned to the right of the water glass.

To complement the arrangement, place markers may be added in front of each setting.

Table size Table size is very important for the diners’ comfort and to support the right atmosphere during the meal. The table needs to be spacious enough to put the guests at ease. Beware, however, because too much space can hinder conversation during the meal and dampen the atmosphere. Type of tablecloth One of our first decisions while setting a table involves selecting the tablecloth. There are different kinds of tablecloths – linen or cotton, monochrome or decorated, softer colors or colors that strike a contrast. The most important thing is to figure out the tablecloth that goes best with the type of event you are hosting. Table decorations After the table has been properly set with the cutlery, plates and glasses, you can add an extra touch with table decorations. A floral or fruit-based centerpiece can be used; candles can be added for atmosphere or to create original artistic compositions. Our advice, though, is to limit the overall size so as not to interrupt the flow and the lines of sight between the diners. Make your table unique Choose your own style to add a touch of originality to your table. Cutlery is one element that can be played with to express your personality by choosing from an infinite number of different design solutions. 3V Venosta helps you narrow in on your style by providing a wide variety of different models, each one unique, to be united with your style.

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MAIN Home Life Party Ideas Table Settings

Your table is the focus of any party where food is served. Depending on the occasion, the tableware and seating plan can be as important as the food you serve.

General rules of thumb for setting a table may include the same instructions when you were asked to set the table as a child: “. fork on the left, knife on the right!” (with the blade facing inward toward the plate.)

For formal dinners, the rules remain the same, but get a bit more involved. These include where to place the water and wine glasses, the bread plate and butter knife and, later when it’s time for dessert . where does the coffee cup go?

Perhaps even more puzzling, who invented all these rules?

Historians point to the Middle Ages, when members of the royal court finally stopped eating with their hands and fingers to use forks and knives as they feasted. Although different cultures have evolved different customs, this particular setting is now considered the universal way for treating your guests like royalty:

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner
1. napkin, 2. salad fork, 3. dinner fork, 4. bread plate, 5. bread knife, 6. dessert spoon,
7. dessert fork 8. dinner plate, 9. knife, 10. soup spoon 11. teaspoon 12. coffee cup,
13. saucer, 14. water glass, 15. wine glass

NOTE: Always observe an additional nicety by making sure that the dinner plate is set at least two inches away from the edge of the table. This is so that if any spillage occurs from the plate, it lands on the table – and not in the guest’s lap!

While ultra-proper table setting isn’t for everyday family meals, it’s good to know the rules when having family, friends or important guests to town for special celebrations like wedding receptions, Thanksgiving dinner or the Christmas holidays.

Just up ahead, top Web resources point the way to more established table setting etiquette for casual buffets, formal holiday dinners or wedding receptions, related etiquette for seating arrangements, and more on providing the perfect setting for the best mix of merriment and relaxed conversation.


More about table setting etiquette around the Web:


How to Set a Table – Basic, Casual and Formal Table Settings
– Check out this Real Simple.com guide to the differences and where to place everything, with helpful photos and illustrations.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinnerPhoto: Dining table set up outdoors.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

In most parts of the world people have three meals a day. The first is breakfast, then lunch in the middle of the day and dinner in the evening. Most people have breakfast at home, and some take a home-made lunch to work or school. Most people also have dinner at home, and for many modern families dinnertime is the only chance we have to get together and talk to one another. At family dinners we don’t have to follow the rules of etiquette for formal dining, but if you go to expensive restaurants or travel for business it’s useful to know these rules. You might also need to know them if you’re hosting a dinner party or having special guests for dinner.

Table settings and dining etiquette

Houses and large apartments often have a dining room with a dining table that can seat many people. Dining rooms are sometimes used for everyday meals, but often they’re only used for big family gatherings, dinner parties or formal meals. If you’re hosting a meal like this, you’ll probably use your best set of dinnerware and cutlery. Before your guests arrive you’ll need to set the table. Begin by covering the table with a tablecloth and then place a centrepiece such as candle sticks or a flower arrangement in the middle of the table. Then arrange place settings around the table, making sure there’s a place for everyone, including yourself.

Place settings for formal dinners usually include a place mat, or an empty space, in the middle with a dinner fork and a smaller salad fork to the left, a table knife and soup spoon to the right, and a dessert fork and spoon across the top. Each place setting also has a bread plate and butter knife on the left and a drinking glass or tumbler and a wine glass on the right. Sometimes these glasses are on coasters, but only if place mats are used instead of a tablecloth. The place settings for dinner in most hotel dining rooms and fancy restaurants are also like this.

Salad or soup bowls, dinner plates and dessert bowls are often brought to the table during the meal, and if so they shouldn’t be on the table before the meal begins. There should, however, be a folded napkin at each guest’s place, and if you’re serving steak or fish you can add a steak knife or fish knife as well. Salt and pepper shakers and jugs full of drinking water should also be on the table. If you’re serving tea or coffee after the meal, bring cups and saucers as well as a sugar bowl, teaspoons and a small jug of milk or cream to the table.

When I was a little girl growing up in Virginia, my mother sent me to Cotillion. For those that aren’t from the South, cotillion is a school where young children go to learn social manners, sometimes ballroom dancing, table etiquette, or both! Cotillion is where I learned to set a table for every occasion. The rules are ancient, some outdated, but nonetheless, are still used in formal settings and good to know at fancy dining establishments. This map to setting a formal table is just a guideline. Remember that your table doesn’t have to be perfect and that your guests will look to you, the host, for the overarching house rules.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

The China

Traditionally, a charger and bread plate should be the only china elements included in a formal place setting. The charger (also known as a presentation plate) is never used for food. The bread plate belongs directly above the dinner fork to the left of the charger. The dinner plate and soup bowl can be placed directly on top of the charger during dinner but are immediately cleared after use for other dishes. I personally like to break this rule and add all of my beautiful china to each place setting for decorative purposes prior to starting dinner.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Glassware

Whether it is a formal or informal setting, only the glasses that are to be used should be set on the table. You can also leave any glassware for dessert off the table until dessert service. The water glass is the most used glass on the table, so it belongs closest to the plate directly above the dinner knife. Next, are the wine glasses placed in the order in which they will be used. The red wine glass is typically a bit taller and has a larger bowl than the white wine glass, as red wine typically has a bolder aroma.

Flatware

As a general rule, flatware is arranged in order of use starting from the farthest to the plate and working inward. Just like the glassware, only the flatware for your specific menu should be included on the table. Your dinner knife belongs to the right of the plate with the cutting edge always facing in. The butter knife is placed horizontally on the bread plate. A steak knife is added to each setting only for those who require it. Dessert utensils are placed above the plate or can also be added during dessert service.

Additional elements

The napkin should be ironed and folded to the left or beneath the forks. Alternatively, it can be placed on the charger or dinner plate. Place cards, traditionally, are added directly above the dessert utensils, but today, we add place cards to napkin folds, silverware, glassware, etc. so get creative! Individual salt and pepper shakers are also placed above the dessert utensils to the left and right of the place setting card. You can also add these to the center of the table or at each end for longer table settings.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner
Ok, we know it’s old school but sometimes it’s fun to dig out the wedding china, shine up the silver and strive for pure table perfection. Setting a formal table is a lost art but we’re here to give you a nudge and help you set a beautiful holiday table.

Once you realize table setting is based on logic, things become less intimidating. The thing to remember is outside-in. You begin eating a meal by using the flatware at the outside left and right, and then work toward the plate as the meal proceeds. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate; bread-and-butter plates sit above the plate and to the left.

Start by placing the dinner plate in the center of a placement, or centered in front of a dining chair about two inches from the table edge. Next, say the word “FORKS.” This is your key to the order of the silverware you’ll place on either side of the plate. Starting on the left, “F” is for fork, “O” is for the dinner plate (its shape), “R” — well, skip that letter–and “K” is for the knife on the right side of the plate, followed by “S” for spoon. Always turn the blade of the knife in, to face the edge of the plate.

Napkins
Once the silverware is in its proper place, arrange a folded napkin (open side towards the edge of the plate) on the left (outside) of the fork. As an alternative, folded napkins may be placed on the dinner plate, or inserted into the wine or water glass.

Bread Plates, Salad Plates, and Glasses
Next up: you’ll use small plates for bread and salad, and the stemware or glasses for water, wine and other beverages. Here’s another trick to help you remember their placement: Snap the thumb and first finger of your left hand together to make a “b,” and then do the same with your right hand to make a “d.”

“b” is for bread and butter – Bread and butter plates, plus the salad plates, go on the left side of the dinner plate above the fork; butter plates first over the fork, salad plates above them. Butter knives are placed horizontally across the butter plate.

“d” is for drinks – Glasses go on the right side. Place the water glass directly above the knife tip, and the wine glass to the right of the water glass.

Soup?
Are you serving soup? If yes, place the soup bowl or soup plate (a shallow rimmed plate) on top of the dinner plate. (Fill the bowls in the kitchen; it’s easier!) And yes, you will remove the bowl before serving the main course. Tip: Remember to include an extra spoon for the soup–on the right, outside.

Of course this is just a guide so make sure to have fun with your table. Use color, flowers and candles to add the perfect touch.

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From fork to knife to napkin, here’s everything you need to know.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Knowing how to set a table is a skill you’ll use for years to come, whether you’re hosting friends for a dinner party or family for a big holiday dinner. Understanding where each item should be placed on a table not only helps with flow, it’s also important for best displaying the beautiful linens, cutlery, china, and glassware you’ve taken the time to collect and curate. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, you can also start to play around with them (checkout these fun napkin folding ideas) and focus on other parts of setting the scene, like centerpieces, festive music, or kids’ activities.

While place settings can get super formal (just picture a dinner scene from The Crown), we think mastering the informal place setting is a great way to begin and will get you squared away for most occasions.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Here’s how to set a table and create a beautiful place setting in five easy steps:

  1. Place a dinner plate in the center of each place setting. If you’re serving salad, place a salad plate on top of the dinner plate.
  2. Place a folded napkin to the left of the dinner plate.
  3. Place forks on top of the napkin, with the salad fork on the outside and the dinner fork on the inside, closest to the plate.
  4. Place a knife and spoon to the right of the plate, with the spoon on the outside and the knife on the inside, closest to the plate. Be sure the blade of the knife is turned toward the plate.
  5. Set the water glass in the top right corner, just above the knife. If you’re serving wine, place the wine glass to the right of the water glass.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Napkins on the right or the left? Which way does the knife face, anyway? Sometimes it’s just plain hard to remember. Follow this guide and your table will look picture perfect, whether you’re going formal or casual.

1. Chargers and Placemats
For a formal table: Place a charger, or presentation plate, at every place setting. If you like, you can place a soup bowl or salad plate on top of it when you serve those courses, but the charger should always be removed before you serve the main course. You also have the option of removing it immediately after guests sit down — the idea is to dazzle them with a beautifully set table when they enter the dining room, and to hold their places at the table. Finally, if you don’t have a set of chargers or just don’t want to bother, you can cheat with the dinner plate instead, or simply use placemats. In this modern age, even formal rules are made to be broken—just be careful with Grandma’s china!

For an informal table: Use placemats at every place setting, or nothing at all. If you’ve got a beautifully grained wooden dining table, why not show it off?

2. Forks, Knives and Spoons
For a formal table: Forks go on the left and knives and spoons go on the right. (To remember: “Fork” has four letters, as does “left”; “knife” and “spoon” both have five letters, as does “right.”) Diners eat from the “outside in,” meaning soup spoons and salad forks should be farthest from the place setting, since soup and/or salad is typically served first; utensils for the main course—the dinner fork and dinner knife—should be closest to the place setting, since the entree is served last. The knife’s blade should always point inward, toward the dinner plate, since a blade pointing outward might come across as unfriendly, or possibly unsafe. Space all flatware as evenly as you can, depending on the size of your table and number of guests, and align it with the bottom of the charger or dinner plate.

For an informal table: The same rules apply as above, although usually you would have only a dinner knife and fork, and either a salad fork or a soup spoon, depending on how elaborate your menu is.

3. Water and Wine Glasses
For a formal table: Water glasses are always positioned directly above the point of the knife. Wine glasses are placed immediately to the right, with red wine glasses closer to the water glass than white wine glasses, if you are serving both types.

For an informal table: The same rules apply as above, although unless you and your guests are serious oenophiles, you can usually get away with just one wine glass for either type of wine—or use a simple glass tumbler instead. And your water glass and wineglass don’t have to come from the same glassware set—feel free to mix different styles.

4. Napkins
For a formal table: Place napkins to the left of the forks if there’s room on the table; otherwise, you can place them under the forks, or position them on the charger or placemat.

For an informal table: Place them under the forks, or in the middle of the place setting.

5. Bread Plates
For a formal table: Rarely seen at home in these carb-conscious days, bread plates go above the forks, with the butter knife laid horizontally or diagonally (pointing toward 10 o’clock) across the plate and the blade facing away from the center of the table.

For an informal table: Just break bread together the low-key way and pass a bread basket around the table.

6. Dessert Forks and Spoons
For a formal table: These go directly above the main place setting, positioned horizontally, with the fork’s tines facing right and the spoon’s bowl facing left, and the fork closer to the place setting than the spoon.

For an informal table: You don’t need these on a casual table; give them to guests when you serve dessert.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

A buffet table describes a piece of furniture for the dining room or a method of serving food to our guests and they can freely choose food and drinks, serve themselves and cutlery is usually just a fork. Buffet tables are perfect for home parties, business gatherings, birthday celebrations or weddings.

Buffet tables in the dining room provide extra space for food and drinks

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

If you have decided to add a buffet table to your dining room, you may be surprised by the variety of designs and styles. Such a table is greatly functional as a furniture piece because it gives you the freedom to go away from formality and serve your food in spectacular way. In addition to that these side tables can add significantly to the interior and the atmosphere in your dining area.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Depending on the occasion you may need some additional tables and chairs for your guests to eat their food as the buffet is a secondary or side table. You can organize a buffet table for breakfast, for example, for dinner, just for appetizers or desserts.

How to organize a buffet table – practical tips

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Organizing a buffet table for a formal gathering is not an easy task. It requires some skills and knowledge. Etiquette requires to follow certain rules and takes into account the shape and arrangement of the tables, the order of their placement, design, dishes, appetizers, etc, etc. If you organize a home party, however, you can avoid all the rules as your party would be much more informal. Try to set the table in a way that it does not block the free movement of guests. Think vertically – use tiered cake plates and dessert servers. The highest serving dish should be placed in the center of the table. Cutlery should be placed at the end of the table, so that your guests’ hands are not blocked while serving themselves. Think of some table decoration, but try not to overdo it as the main decoration of a buffet table is the food. Look at the gallery below and see wonderful examples of round table lunch buffet, outdoor buffet table and elegant decorations.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

An awesome table arrangement in the garden

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Arrange the food vertically

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

a great idea for a summer party

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Add elegant table decorations

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Arrange different tables for the types of food

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Breakfast buffet

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Appetizers

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Outdoor round table lunch buffet

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The dinner table is a special place — whether you’re sitting down for mac-and-cheese with the kids, or enjoying an intimate dinner with close friends. It’s a place to step away from the hectic pace of life and revel in the simple joy of togetherness.

Elevate your dinners at home by learning the proper table settings for each occasion.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

1. Basic Table Setting

Pizza night? Eating alone? You can still set a nice table for dinnertime:

  • Start with a simple, woven placemat in front of each seat.
  • Place your everyday ware (or melamine plates) in the middle of each placemat.
  • Set a folded napkin on the left side of the plate.
  • Top the napkin with a dinner fork and place a dinner knife to the ride of the plate.
  • Finish with a water glass above the knife.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

2. Informal Table Setting

If you’re sitting down for a family dinner or a casual dinner date, add a few extra touches to celebrate the gathering. Start with the basic table setting then you add the extras:

  • Use a decorative napkin or a cloth napkin (instead of a paper napkin), and place it under the fork.
  • Add a soup spoon to the right of the knife. A salad fork is optional, but if you choose to use it, it should go on the left of the plate (outside the dinner fork).
  • Place the wine glass to the right of the water glass, which should be above the knife and spoon. Stemless glassware is acceptable.
  • If eating family-style, the serving dishes are brought to the table, and placed on cork or woven trivets.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

3. Formal Table Setting

For fancy dinner parties or holiday meals, it’s time to step up the table setting a notch! Impress your guests with a tablescape that shows as much thought and care as you put into the food. Start with the informal table setting and then:

  • Spread your best tablecloth or table runner across the table. The drop should be about a foot from the table, at lap level.
  • Place candles and flowers in the center of the table. Unscented are highly recommended to avoid any interference with the aroma of the food. Use low arrangements of flowers to prevent distractions.
  • Replace everyday linens with lovely placemats and your best cloth napkins, which are folded and put across the center of the dinner plate.
  • Use heirloom dishes (or china) and high-quality silver flatware.
  • Add a bread plate and small butter knife above the forks and a salad plate to the direct left of the forks.
  • Place a dessert fork and spoon above the plate. (This is optional since these utensils can also be brought out with the dessert course.)
  • If necessary, add a steak knife to the right of the plate.
  • Use stemmed wine glasses: The white wine glass is placed to the lower right of the water glass, and the red wine glass is placed above them so the three glasses form a triangle.
  • To channel a fine-dining vibe, place a charger (a large decorative plate) under the dinner plate.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

4. Five-Course Table Setting

Pull out all the stops for a formal, five-course feast, which typically consists of soup, salad, fish course, main course, and dessert. Start with the formal place setting steps outlined above, then:

  • Add a Champagne flute further back behind the white wine glass.
  • Place a sherry glass closer to the front, ahead of the red wine glass.
  • If you’re serving a fish course, add a fish fork between the salad and dinner forks and a fish knife between the dinner knife and soup spoon.
  • To top it off, include a name card on each place setting.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

5. Buffet Table Setting

For potlucks and other occasions when there are too many guests to sit at one table, a buffet can be an easy, efficient service method. Create a stress-free buffet setup, using the following guidelines:

  • Consider the flow of traffic:
    • Place the food and drinks on separate tables arrangement to avoid traffic jams near the seating areas.
    • Create a designated drink station with beverages, ice, glassware, cocktail napkins, straws, etc.
    • At the food table, place plates at the beginning of the buffett with napkins and cutlery at the end.
    • If space permits, create a separate area for snacks, finger foods, cheese plates, etc.
  • Arrange the food on the buffet:
    • Start with the hottest plates, ending with the coldest.
    • Use chafing dishes to keep dishes warm. (They will not stay hot enough without them.)
    • Use ice to keep things chilled.
    • Leave enough space in front of the serving dishes so guests can set their plates down.
  • Arrange the dishes on multiple levels: Repurpose cake stands, or place serving dishes atop sturdy objects to create a tiered effect. Not only is this method pleasing to the eye, but it also helps guests clearly see all of their options.
  • Write short description cards to go in front of each dish. If you are expecting guests with food allergies or dietary restrictions, it’s considerate to add which dishes are vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, etc.
  • Place condiments, dips, and other sauces next to the dishes they pair with.
  • Supply extra piles of napkins in the seating areas.
  • Use disposable tablecloths if you’re using plastic or folding tables for the food and drink stations. In addition to disguising the table surface, it also helps a lot with clean up.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinnerSetting your table doesn’t have to be a big challenge. We’ve sought out the proper way to handle it with these steps, from the Emily Post Institute.

The Basic Table Setting

  1. To start, think of the word FORKS (minus the R to remember how to place your utensils going left to right: F is for the fork, O is your plate (it’s shaped like an “O”), K for the knife, and S for the spoon.
  2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch your thumbs to your forefingers so they form a lowercase “b” (your left) and lowercase “d” (on the right). This is to remember that bread and butter go on the left, while drinks go on the right.
  3. The blade of your knives should always face the plate. A napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate. A bread and butter knife is optional.

The Informal Table Setting

  1. When setting a table for an informal three-course dinner, start with the idea that the dinner plate is like the hub of a wheel. It should be the first thing set on the table.
  2. As with the basic setting, place the forks to the left of the plate. In this case, you’re using two forks: one for a salad or appetizer, one for the entrée. You place them left to right in the order in which you’ll use them.
  3. Fold the napkin, or put it inside a napkin ring, placed to the left of the forks or the center of the plate. You can also put a folded napkin under the forks.
  4. Again, the knife should go to the right of the plate, with the blade facing inward. If you’re serving meat, you can substitute a steak knife for a dinner knife. Keep spoons to the right of the knife, and as with the forks, arrange them in the order in which they’ll be used.
  5. Place drinking glasses of any kind – wine, water, juice, soft drinks – at the top right of the dinner plate.
  6. The salad plate can go to the left of the forks. The bread plate, with butter knife, is placed above the forks, with the knife diagonally across the plate, handle to the right, blade facing down.
  7. If you’re serving dessert, place the spoon or fork either horizontally above the dinner plate, or beside the plate. If putting them beside the plate, use the outside-in rule: the utensils you’ll use last should go the furthest from the plate.
  8. If you’re serving coffee, place the cups and saucers above and to right of the knives and spoons.

The Formal Table Setting

This table setting is for meals with more than three courses (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a dinner party). It’s the other table settings taken to the top level.

  1. We start this setting with the service plate, which will act as an underplate for the first few courses before the entrée.
  2. Place the butter plate above the forks at the left of the plate setting.
  3. As with the other courses, place the dinner fork to the left of the plate, and then arrange smaller forks for the other courses to the left and right of the dinner fork, depending on when they will be used.
  4. Knives should follow the same rule as forks. Put the dinner knife directly to the right of the plate, and then other knives to the right of the dinner knife. If you serve soup or fruit as a first course, this spoon should go to the right of the knives.
  5. If you’re serving shellfish, place the oyster fork to the right of the spoons. It’s the only fork that ever goes on the right of the plate.
  6. Glasses go one the right, above knives and spoons. Glasses used for a specific course should be removed at the end of the course.
  7. Place napkins on top of the service plate, or to the left of the forks, or under the forks if you’re short on space.

If you need help preparing your table, InnStyle has a wide range of tablecloths, with coordinating napkins, runners and placemats, for every occasion.

This includes Sferra’s newest style, Squire, which is an easy-care ringspun polyester collection. This special weave yields a cloth with the feel and drape of a fresh, crisp linen. Best of all it has a stain-repellent finish which makes laundering a breeze.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

If you’ve been looking for a way to have your colleagues and clients in a place together, you should consider hosting a corporate dinner party. Whether you’re the chairman of a large business organization or the owner of a small firm, hosting a business dinner can help you achieve a lot. From helping you connect more with your business partners, customers/clients, and employees to helping you facilitate an improvement in the services your company offers, dinner parties often offer more beyond the drinks and merriment as they’ve been noted to be very valuable and profitable in the long run.

Although the idea of planning a dinner party sounds good, it’s usually not an easy thing to organize one. From being conscious of the availability of good drinks and good food to making plans for some interactive conversation, it’s very essential to plan to have a memorable dinner and a successful party. And, how can this be achieved? There are some simple steps you can always follow to organize a memorable dinner and they’ll be listed below.

Step 1: Consider The Purpose

When you understand the purpose of the party, you’ll be charged and motivated to work appropriately towards your goal. Why are you planning that dinner party? Is it to celebrate success or promotions or finalize a big business deal? You figure out that yourself. How do you want the party’s mood or theme to be? Do you want to hire a magician for corporate events to make things livelier, or add some music to spice up the mood? These are all the questions you should ask yourself before going fully into the planning process.

Step 2: Select Your Date And Time

When you’re organizing your business dinner, you’re not just to choose any date or time; you’re expected to ensure that both the date and time go along well with your schedule. If you’re planning to start at a specific time, make sure you start at that exact time, and for this, you should make sure you plan.

Start and end accordingly with your proposed time. Normally, you shouldn’t spend beyond 2 to 3 hours for a business dinner party. If you want your guests to enjoy the event to the fullest and prevent them from hurrying, ensure you have a well-organized time frame.

Step 3: Choose A Location

Your business party will be held somewhere, isn’t it? Sure it would. So, what location are you considering? Take note that you just can’t choose a location anyhow; some factors can help you rightfully determine the perfect location for your event. It’s recommended that you choose a 5-star hotel or a banquet hall if you’re planning a grand event and it can as well be a cool idea to use the lawn of your office if you’re only organizing a simple party.

Most times, the location you’re planning to choose will be largely determined by your estimated budget. However, if you’ll be hosting your event at a hotel or a banquet, you should try to check out the place to look at needful areas such as the views, the environment, the place in general, and your preferred space in the area for the event.

Step 4: Ensure Safety and Security

You wouldn’t like to host a party that will end up in shambles. While you’re planning to organize your dinner event, safety and security are two things you must not leave out of your budget.

And, if you can manage to get the service of professional security guards for the event or just find any affordable security service that works for you, you’ll stand to enjoy a hassle-free party experience. Take note that ensuring the full security and safety of your guests is your responsibility and all your plans can be ruined when you underrate the importance of this.

Step 5: Use Simple, Formal Invitation Cards

Maybe you have a personal relationship with your guests and you feel it’s okay to invite them verbally or you passed the information on a social media platform like WhatsApp or Facebook, it would be nicer if your guests can receive a simple but formal invitation card from you.

However, your invitations shouldn’t be sent just a few days before the party. They should be sent two weeks earlier. And, of course, the invitation should carry necessary details of the event such as the venue, the address, the time, and the date.

How to arrange a place setting for a formal dinner

Step 6: Arrive Early

You must be at the venue of your event earlier to be sure that all arrangements are well set and you can as well be around to meet and exchange pleasantries with your guests as they arrive.

Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you want to experience a successful business dinner party, do well to follow all these steps that have been outlined and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan