What's the Proper Way to Set the Table?

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 4:15 PM (EDT)
What's the Proper Way to Set the Table? | On the Dock | GreyDock Blog
Article Intro

Have you ever wondered what the proper way to set a table is? Whether it's formal or casual, we've got the answers.

Have you ever wondered about the right way to set a table?

It’s not as difficult as it seems. Once you know the basics, it’s a quick setup whether you’re hosting a formal or casual dinner party.

The Formal Way

Formal place setting

When hosting a big dinner like Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s always nice to have a proper formal setup. You’ll need several pieces of dinnerware, flatware and glassware to make this setting work.

Start with a placemat or charger; both aren’t necessary. Next, place the dinner and salad plates with a quality cloth napkin on top.

The next step is placing the flatware. On the left, place the salad fork and dinner fork. The dessert spoon and fork should be placed above the dinnerware. And finally, the knife and soup spoon. Your meal may require more flatware depending on what’s being served.

An easy way to remember the placement of bread and glassware is to touch your pointer fingers to your thumbs. On the left, you’ll see a lowercase “b” and on the right a “d”. Here’s where the easy part comes in: Bread plates should be placed on the top left of your guests’ setting and stemware to the right.

The Casual Way

Casual place setting. Image: www.proflowers.com

If you’re having friends over for a small get-together, go for a more casual approach. It’s still the same idea as a formal setting, but casual place settings don’t require quite as many pieces.

Start with a charger or dinner plate and stack your salad plate on top. To the left of the plates, place the forks; salad fork goes first and then the dinner fork closest to the dinnerware. Remember, you want to work your way in. On the right, place the knife and the soup spoon if necessary.

Place the water glass in the top right of each setting and a wine glass next to it. If you aren’t folding the napkin to go on top of the plates, place it on the left under the forks.

Other Things to Note

  • Make sure your dinnerware, glassware and flatware are spotless. Nothing is worse than serving a guest on a dirty plate.
  • Have backups of everything. Extra napkins and forks will come in handy.
  • Don’t stress! Unless you’re dining with an etiquette coach, nothing is set in stone.
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And there you have it: the proper way to set a table. Whether you stay true to a formal setting or take a more casual approach, you’re going to have the best looking table out there.