tips formal place setting

Formal place setting arrangementsFormal place setting arrangements don’t have to be difficult when you have these easy to remember tips!

  1. Flatware The easiest way to remember which side of the dish to place your flatware is as follows:  The word “fork” has four letters as does the word “left”.  Whereas the words “knife” and “spoon” both have five letters as does the word “right”.  It’s as simple as that!  Just place them in order as they will be used.  Your appetizer fork will be used first so it goes on the outside with the dinner fork closest to the plate.  The knife blades should always face toward the plate.  Imagine that the spoons don’t want to be cut by the knife!
  2. B and D = Bread & Drinks Do you always forget where to put the bread and butter plate? Can’t remember where to position the glasses?  Then this tip is perfect for you!  Bring your pointer finger and thumb together on each hand.  You’ll see that your left hand makes a lowercase “b” and your right hand makes a lowercase “d” shape.  This will help you remember that the bread plate goes on the left (above the forks) and the glasses for your drinks goes on the right (above the knives and spoons).  If you’re using a bread plate, don’t forget the butter knife which should sit horizontally across the center of the bread plate with the tip of the blade pointing to the left.
  3. Glassware Water glasses should be placed directly above the dinner knife. The white wine glass sits directly to the right of the water glass.  If you are serving red wine too, the red wine glass sits above and in between the water and white wine glasses, forming a triangle.  If you’re only using water and one type of wine glass, keep the water glass above the dinner knife and place the other wine glass to the right and slightly above the water glass.
  4. Napkins Placing your napkins is the easiest part of the job because there are no set rules. Here is where you can be simple or get really creative!  Fold the napkin and place it on the center of the dinner plate, under the forks or even directly to the left of the forks.  You can even place it underneath the dinner plate and have it drape over the edge of the table.  Fold the napkins into rectangles or you can experiment with fancy folds that resemble fans, flowers, bow ties, animals, etc.
  5. Putting on the final touches After your table is set you can now pay attention to those final, ever so important, details of your formal place setting arrangement.
  6. Add your centerpiece to the center of the table. Candles, flowers or other seasonal decorations can really dress up a table and show that extra thought and effort was put into the table setting. 
  7. Go around the table and fill the water glasses before your guests arrive and be sure to have a filled pitcher or two nearby for refills.
  8. Use place cards and assign seats for your guests. This eliminates that awkward questions of “Where should I sit?” and when done correctly can add to the lively conversation and help your guests get to know each other better.
  9. Don’t forget the salt and pepper shakers.
  10. Save the coffee cups and saucers for dessert time. Bring them in with the dessert plates.  There is no need to have them on the table taking up room during dinner.Basic place setting example.

Most importantly, DON’T STRESS!!!!!  If you end up forgetting the salt and pepper or have your knives facing the wrong way, it will all be fine.  If the food and drink is good and you enjoy the company of your guests, that’s all that matters!

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