Table Setting Etiquette

Dinner plates on the table

Whether you’re hosting a grand wedding or a fun dinner party with your friends, following the right table setting rules can be quite overwhelming. Depending on the occasion it’s important to know how to set a table and to follow proper table setting etiquette.

What type of table setting is best for a wedding? How to set a table for dinner party with friends?

Knowing which table setting rules to follow does not have be complicated if you just follow  a few simple guidelines. There are four  Types of Table Settings: Formal, Informal, Basic,Buffet.

# The Plan

Try to plan the table setting to match your menu. When bread and butter are served, add a butter plate to the table. Use separate salad plates if serving your main course with gravy.

Depending upon the occasion, you may want to use a “formal” or an “informal” table setting. Most of us will infrequently use a formal setting.

Although a formal dinner requires a tablecloth, at informal dinners a tablecloth is optional. A bare table with place mats is the alternative.

# General Table Setting Rules

Utensils – For starters, utensils are placed in the order in which they are used with the first ones placed on the outside. For example: the salad fork is placed on the outermost edge of the left side before the dinner fork. This is because salads are usually served before the main course.

The lower edges of the utensils should be aligned with the bottom rim of the plate, about one (1) inch up from the edge of the table.To avoid hiding a utensil under the rim of a plate or bowl, lay it approximately one (1) inch away from the plate’s side.To eliminate fingerprints on the handle, hold flatware by the “waist,” the area between the handle and the eating end of the utensil.

Do not place over three pieces of flatware on either side of the plate at one time (except forks if an oyster fork is used).

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The Olivia Cutlery Set – In Purple

Placement – All utensils should be placed about an inch from the edge of the table and lined up evenly from the bottom ends.

Set only what you use – Only set the utensils that will be used throughout the service. If there is no soup, there’s no need to set a soup spoon.

Centerpieces and candles- Flowers or bowls of fruit work well as a centerpiece. Make sure the centerpiece doesn’t stand so tall that guests can’t see over it.

Candles, if meant to be merely ornamental, are placed on either side of the centerpiece. Or, place one candle above each place setting if they will be used as the only source of light.

# Forks

Both forks are placed on the left of the plate. The fork furthest from the plate is for salad. The fork next to the plate is for the dinner. Fork tines may be placed downward, in the continental style, or upward, in the American style.These are usually placed on the left side of the main service plate. The exception is the dessert fork which can be placed above the plate and the oyster fork which is placed on the right side.

# Dinner Plate

The dinner plate is placed on the table when the main course is served and is not on the table when the guests sit down.

Large plates, such as the dinner plate and luncheon plate, are laid about one (1) inch in from the edge of the table.

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Penelope Collection Flower Shaped Ceramic Plates

# Salad Plate

The salad plate is placed to the left of the forks.

Small plates, such as the salad plate, fish plate, and dessert plate, are laid about two (2) inches in from the edge of the table.

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The Ophelia Collection Matte Pink Ceramic Dinnerware

# Dinner Knife

The dinner knife is placed on the right side, and directly next to and one (1) inch away from, the plate. The blade should face the plate. If the main course requires a steak knife, it may be substituted for the dinner knife.Knives are always placed on the right side of the plate, with the cutting blade facing inwards towards the plate. The exception is the butter knife which is placed on the butter plate, with the blade pointing downwards and left. Place knives with blades facing the plate.

# Spoons

The soup spoon is on the far right of the outside knife.

Bread Plate with Butter Knife

A small bread plate is placed above the forks, above and to the left of the service plate.

The butter spreader is laid on the bread-and-butter plate.

# Glassware

Usually one wine glass is used along with a water goblet. If the table setting is uncrowded, there is room to arrange glassware in any way you like, such as in a straight line parallel with the edge of the table or a diagonal line angled toward the table’s edge.

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Penelope Collection European Styled Glasses for Champagne and Wine

# Water Goblets

The water glass is placed in a position closest to the hand, approximately 1 inch above the tip of the dinner knife.

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The Ophelia Collection Rose Gold Pitcher and Glass Set

# Napkins

Place the napkin in the place setting’s center, or left of the last fork.

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# Coffee Cups

Place a cup and saucer to the right of the place setting. The coffee spoon goes to the right of the saucer.

Place approximately one (1) inch beyond the outermost piece of flatware. The top edge of the saucer is aligned with the top rim of the plate or bowl.

Cup handles are faced in the four o’clock position for easy access.

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Marble Porcelain Coffee Mugs

# Dessert Spoon and Fork

At an informal meal, when two utensils are provided for dessert, the utensils are laid on the table or presented on the dessert plate.

The dessert spoon (or dessert knife) is laid on the table above the dinner plate in a horizontal position, handle facing right.

The dessert fork is laid beneath the dessert spoon (or dessert knife), handle facing left.

The dessert utensils may also be presented on the dessert plate in the same way as formal service.

# Salt and Pepper

Since more people use salt than pepper (and most people are right-handed), the salt shaker is placed to the right of the pepper shaker, in a position closer to the right hand.

The placement of the pepper shaker is to the left of the salt shaker, and for added definition it is angled slightly above the salt shaker.

They are placed above the cover or between two place settings.

Because salt is finer than pepper, the lid of the salt shaker is punctured with smaller, more numerous holes than a pepper shaker.

At the end we want to share with you the scheme how it should look at the table.

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We hope that this helped you.

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