Even though my bigest love is fashion I always like to flirt with interior decoration! I enjoy entertaining friends at home. Setting and decorating the table makes me feel creative. I have learned how to set a beautiful table correctly, from my mother. She is very resourceful and stylish with her decorations and I think I might have inherited the .. gift. Anyway, the art of setting a table is a lot easier with the proper instructions. Whether your dinner is very formal or casual, there are a few basic guidelines to follow when learning how to set a table. The final touch is making a lovely decoration and using elegant items but that is another … post!
Figure out how many guests will be attending.
Determine where everyone should sit. If there is a male guest, he is traditionally seated on the hostess’s right. A female guest is traditionally seated on the host’s right. For large parties, determine who would interact best with each other. Some people like to alternate between men and women, but this isn’t necessary. You may want to use name cards to avoid everyone rushing for a seat at the last minute.
Decide if you will use a tablecloth When the tablecloth is on, it should hang down about a foot and a half if it is a seated dinner. If it is a buffet dinner, it should hang down to the floor. Remember to iron it flat.
The basic rule is that silverware is to be placed on the table in the order it will be used; silverware that will be used first should be set to the farthest left and right sides of the plate. When it comes to the utensils, forks to the left, knives and spoons to the right is the old saying. Knives should be placed with their cutting-edge toward the dinner plate.
Here is a more detailed description of the place setting. Always start utensils about 1 inch from the edge of the table. For a more casual setting, starting from the left side of the guests setting, you will have a dinner fork, salad fork, plate with napkin folded on top, butter knife, and spoon. For a more formal setting you may have from left to right again, a folded cloth napkin, fish fork, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner plate with soup or salad dish setting inside, dinner knife, fish knife and soup spoon.
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Place the desert spoon or fork directly behind your plate parallel to the setting. Your bread plate is off the left adorned with a butter knife. Your goblets off to the right side of the setting starting with the water goblet, red wine goblet and white wine goblet. Remember that if you are not serving wine, you will eliminate those goblets from your table settings, as well as any utensils that will not be needed. If you leave unneeded utensils on the table, your guests may become confused causing unnecessary embarrassment.
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Place the large dinner fork to the left of the napkin and the smaller salad fork to the left of the dinner fork.
Place a salad plate to the left of the forks. The dinner plate should not be on the table when guests sit down.
Place a knife to the right of the napkin, with the cutting edge toward the plate. For chicken or a game bird, you might want to use a steak knife.
Put out two spoons if you’re serving both soup and dessert. The small dessert spoon should be placed to the right of the knife. Place the soup spoon to the right of the dessert spoon. (You can also wait and bring the dessert spoons out just before dessert.)
Place a bread plate with a butter knife (if you have them) about 2 inches above the forks. Place a water goblet about 2 inches above the knife. To the right of the goblet and slightly closer to the dinner guest, place a wine glass.
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Plates and bowls
1. The bread plate should be placed to the right and slightly above the salad plate.
2. Salad plates are placed to the left and just above the forks.
3. Dinner plates should be placed about 2 inches from the table’s edge, centered on the place mat or squarely in front of the chair for a proper place setting.
4. Soup bowls are placed on top of the dinner plates.
5. For a formal place setting, when serving multiple courses, the host may opt to serve each course on separate serving plates.
6. Clear dishes and utensils after each course is finished by all at the table.
Cups and glasses
1. Water glasses should be placed above the dinner knife, with other drinking glasses arranged neatly nearby the water glass and to the right.
2. Coffee cups and saucers may be placed on the table to the right of the knife and spoon.
Napkins and name cards
1. For a less formal proper place setting, napkins are placed either on the plate or to the left of the forks. For a more formal place setting, napkins are placed inside a drinking glass whereby a server may place it in your lap upon being seated at the table.
2. Name cards are always a good idea for formal place settings, especially if the dinner party is large (such as a wedding). The card should be placed above the dessert utensil and to the left of the drinking glasses.
I am sure your table manners are perfect and you already know all the rules of a formal dinner but if you are in doubt about something you can check out the 9 proper Table manners instructions. Ancient Greece and Rome, developed rules for proper social conduct. Confucius included rules for eating and speaking with his philosophy.
The meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds his or her napkin. This is your signal to do the same. Place your napkin on your lap, completely unfolded if it is a small luncheon napkin or in half, lengthwise, if it is a large dinner napkin. It is important to remember not to begin eating until everyone else at the table has been served first. All items that are in need of being passed around the table from person to person should be done in a clockwise fashion (to your left).
5. The best way to spoon soup is away from you, which avoids splashing. Don’t crumble your crackers into your bowl, instead break a piece of and eat it before or after a spoon of soup. If your soup happens to contain noodles, it is acceptable to cut them with the edge of your spoon to create bite-sized pieces.
6. When eating a salad, if there are a few pieces that are too large for your liking, be sure to slice them ahead of time then place your knife (with the blade facing you) across your butter plate. Cherry tomatoes can be tricky and messy, it is best to pierce them with the sharpest point of your knife.
7. When eating any entree be sure to always eat bite by bite, avoid cutting all or large portions of your meal beforehand. Always be sure to point fork prongs downward, especially when cutting meat. Take small bites and avoid mentioning that you are “stuffed” or “really full” at the table as it is not classy to overeat.
8. Your dessert spoon or fork can be moved to the left side of your place setting as soon as your dinner plate is removed. When eating apple pie or any other dessert a la mode, it is proper to use both the fork and spoon. The fork is used in your right hand while a small dollop of ice cream can be added/pushed onto the forkful of pie with the spoon in your left hand.
9. If you have been invited into someones home for a meal, it is a good idea to mail out a thank you card no more than 48 hours after attending the event. I am sending sms lately, I don’t know what Erasmus, the Dutch humanist and author of the first modern book of manners in 1526 would say about that. 🙂 Of course, before leaving, be sure to thank the host for the invitation and meal and thank the other guests at your table for their dining conversation.
Dinning out is a pleasure especially because you leave the mess in someone else’s kitchen but hosting guest in my home is always a lovely experience.
Have a lovely Day!!!