How to set a formal table
April 12, 2012, 5:26 PM
Filed under: etiquette

There is no need to use more than three pieces of silver on either side of the plate. No need to make your guests feel uncomfortable while they are trying to figure out which fork to use. If the menu requires additional silver, it should be brought in when the course is served. If you are serving that many courses, I highly recommend your hire outside help to assist you. If there is no food to be eaten with a piece of silver, it should not be placed on the table. Simple as that.
Table setting diagram
If you are serving coffee and it is going to be served in the living room, there is no need of a spoon on the table unless it is required by some other food. In general, silver which is used by the left hand is placed on the left of the plate, and that used by the right hand is on the right. Forks are at the left, knives and spoons are on the right. A seafood cocktail fork is an exception. It is placed on the right since it is used in the right hand, unless an individual is left-handed. The sharper side of the knife is turned toward the plate. The formal table setting diagram above, shows a more involved table setting for a more elegant formal dinner. There is no need to utilize to formal table table setting diagram, if you don’t have enough flatware to accomodate it. Just follow the informal table setting diagram.
The water glass is placed on the right at the tip of the dinner knife. Goblets may be substituted at luncheon or dinner. If wine is to be served, the glasses are to the rightof the water glass. They are arranged in a diagonal line toward the spoons. The first wine to be served is placed nearer the right hand of the guest.
If you don’t plan on serving wine or any other type of alcoholic beverage, click here for some non-alcoholic beverage ideas.
The use of bread and butter plates is up to you. They are not generally used in formal dining but for a semi-formal luncheon or dinner party, they provide space for bread, relishes and olive pits. If you are having a casual type party with cocktail ribs or chicken wings or something with a toothpick, include this type of plate for the waste. It is better to have bread and butter plates than to have the dinner plate assume role of a garbage can.
When setting a table, the napkin can be placed in either of two positions. At a luncheon or dinner party when the first course is to be served after the guests are seated, it may be folded into a rectangle and placed across the plate. It is also OK to place the neatly folded napkin to the left of the forks. The open corner may be toward or away from the plate though all napkins on the table should be folded and turned in the same direction. Don’t waste your time trying to learn fancy napkin folds. The food is more important. A napkin folded into a rectangle fits into the design of table arrangement better than any other shape.

If a salad is to be on the table, it is placed to the left of the bread and butter plate. Individual salt and peppers are placed at the top of the plate. Salt and peppers at each place are not required for a good service but they allow guests to continue the conversation rather than to try to find a break in which to say, “Please pass the salt.”
At a large dinner party place cards simplify seating. Place cards may be used for a small party if it is a festive occasion or if place cards are desired to carry out the theme of the party.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I couldn’t have really asked for a much better blog. You are always at hand to provide excellent information, going straight away to the point for easy understanding of your subscribers. You’re really a terrific pro in this arena. Many thanks for remaining there humans like me.

Comment by Henrietta C. Patten

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: