Formal table setting do’s and don’ts tend to confuse many people and be the source of stress for many a host or hostess. However, remembering a few simple and basic rules can help you master the art and help you to set your dinner table with style and elegance.
Formal Table Setting Simplified
1. The Tablecloth and Napkins
The tablecloth should hang evenly and around lap level. It should be crisply ironed and absolutely spotless.
The napkins, starched and spotless, should be folded in a rectangle and placed in the center of the charger.
2. The Flatware
Flatware includes the dinner plates and the cutlery. The simplest way to remember how to place these is to work from the outside in because they are used in that order.
- Spoons used before dinner are placed to the right of the service plate, also called the charger. The dinner knife is placed to the left of the spoon and to the immediate right of the plate.
- Dessert spoons and forks may be served with the dessert or placed above the dinner plate.
- Forks are placed to the left of the service plate. They are placed in the order in which the courses are served. If the salad is served before the main course, the salad fork will be on the far left, with the dinner fork next to the charger. If the salad is served after the main course, the dinner fork will be on the far left with the salad fork next to the charger.
- The bread plate and butter knife are placed above the forks.
3. The Stemware
Wine and water glasses are placed in a triangular formation and are placed so that the smaller ones are at the front. The water glass is placed right above the knives, to its right goes the champagne flute while the white wine and/or the red wine glasses come in front of the champagne flute.
If you aren’t serving champagne but only wines, then the white wine glass will be to the lower right of the water glass while the red wine glass will be above both of them.
4. The General Rules
Always place the cutting edge of the knife blades towards the plate.
Everything should be geometrically spaced with the centerpiece at the center and the place settings at equal distances.
Add a touch of personality to a formal dinner table with elegant flower arrangements or personalized and unique wine glasses. Remember, formal doesn’t have to mean boring!