How To Set A Table - Formal Or Casual Setting

How To Set A Table – Formal Or Casual Setting


Planning a romantic evening? A Sunday brunch with family and friends? A fancy dinner party for colleagues? No matter what the occasion, you will want to wow your guests with a classy display. Here are some simple steps on how to set a table that will bring out the hostess in everyone!

1. Casual Setting

This type of setting is perfect for a Sunday brunch, informal family dinner, or even an outdoor barbecue where wine and conversation flow naturally. A laid-back dining style works for anything from takeout to fried chicken to a homestyle Italian meal.

Plates: An entree plate should generally suffice in an informal setting. However, if you are serving soup or salad, you can always creatively layer additional pieces for something fun and colorful.

Stemware: Wine or beer glasses should be set to the right of the plate, at about 1:00. Water or iced tea or lemonade glasses/tumblers should sit above these and slightly to the left.

Flatware: The knife should go to the right of the plate, followed by the dinner spoon. Place your fork to the left of the plate. Don’t forget additional utensils for soup, appetizers, and salads if needed.

Napkins: Feel free to take creative liberty on this one…under the fork or dinner plate, hanging gracefully over the table, tied with a sprig of herbs or placed in a cute napkin ring.. possibilities are endless!

2. Formal Setting

Holiday meals, anniversaries, birthdays, business dinners…these call for a more elaborate setting. Below are a few guidelines on how to set a table for a more formal event.

Plates: The charger (or largest piece) should be placed first, followed by the entree plate and lastly the appetizer plate. You should place the bread and butter plate to the left at 10:00, setting the butter knife on the plate angled ever-so-slightly.

Stemware: Stemware should be placed at 1:00 to the right of the place setting. Wine glasses go closest to the plate and champagne and/or water glasses just above the wine glasses, but slightly to the left.

Flatware: Traditionally, forks go on the left, starting with the salad fork farthest from the plate and ending with the salad or fish fork. The knife should be placed to the right of the plate, followed by the dinner and soup spoons, and lastly the fruit spoon. Dessert utensils and coffee spoons should be placed at 12:00, directly above the plate.

Dinner Napkin: Normally, the napkin should be placed at a top of the dinner plate, but you can take creative measure with this finishing touch. Bonus points if you know how to make swans, flowers, etc. to add some decorative flair.

Now that you have a basic idea on how to set a table, go ahead and plan that brunch with the girls, or a formal dinner party for your co-workers. Better yet, have a themed party and decorate your table to match. Pick a date, call your friends and get the party started!

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