How to Set a Table – A Guide for Formal & Informal Settings

Meal times have always been a very important ritual in human society; knowing how to set a table and eating at a properly set dining table is a great way to enjoy meals with friends and family. Today, our lives are so fast-paced and rushed that very few people have their meals at a correctly set table unless they are at a restaurant. Still, the art of setting a table is not lost when it comes to hosting a lunch or dinner at home. If you are wondering how to set cutlery on a dining table or where to place the plates and glasses, we have all the information you need.

Why You Must Not Overlook the Process of Setting Your Dining Table

When food is enjoyed, it can directly impact how well you can digest your food; when you are having a meal at a table that is well set, the ritual of having your meal becomes so much more enjoyable. Food is not only to be enjoyed through taste, but the sight of a well-prepared dish on a perfectly set table is a part of enjoying the meal. Something seemingly small like the table utensil set-up has the potential to make or break your dinner party. Enjoying your meals on a set table also ensures that the entire family is well-mannered while eating – it is a great opportunity to teach children table manners and table setting etiquette. It is important for children to be taught the right way to eat and hold a conversation when they are young as they may one day have to attend formal events like job interviews that may be held over lunch or meetings with important people and others. This makes it important not to overlook the process of setting your dining table.

Basic Table Setting

If you are worried about your lunch table set-up at your next luncheon party, we’ve got your back. Knowing how to do a basic table setting will get you through most occasions and dinners, so it is best to know how it’s done. If you are partial to the idea of family dinners eaten right, this is the type of table setting you would use at home:

  • Place a table mat on the table and then set the dinner plate right in the centre of it.
  • Place the fork on the left side of the plate, the knife on the right side, the sharp edge facing the plate. The spoon should be placed on the right side of the knife.
  • The glass of water should be placed above the knife.
  • Place a napkin under the fork.

Informal Table Setting Guide for a Casual Meal

This type of casual table setting will come in very handy when you are planning something with your close friends and family. Here is how to do it:

  1. Lay the place mat in the desired place.
  2. The dinner plate should be kept in the centre of the place mat.
  3. If salad is on the menu, the salad bowl should be kept on top of the dinner plate.
  4. Place the fork on the left side of the dinner plate. If you are having salad, the salad fork should be placed on the left of your dinner fork.
  5. Keep the knife on the right of the dinner plate and the spoon to the right of the knife.
  6. The water glass will go at the top right corner, above where the knife is kept.
  7. If wine is on the menu, the wine glass should be kept on the right side of the water glass.
  8. Place the napkin on the plate or under the fork.

Table Setting Guide for a Formal Event

Formal events often consist of three-course meals, all of which will need to be prepared for while setting the table. Here is how to set a formal table:

  1. Formal settings will always require a clean and crisp table cloth to be placed on the table as the first step.
  2. Traditionally, a charger plate is placed at the centre of the place setting, and the dinner plate placed on top of that.
  3. Place the salad bowl on your dinner plate.
  4. Place the bread plate to the top left of the dinner and salad plates.
  5. Keep the dinner fork on the left side of the dinner plate.
  6. Place the salad fork on the left side of the dinner fork.
  7. The water glass should be kept on the upper right corner of the place setting above the fork, and the wine glasses to the right side. Keep the white wine glass closer to the knife and spoon, and the red wine glass above the white wine glass.
  8. The napkin should be folded and placed on top of the salad bowl.
  9. The dessert spoon should be placed above the plate and kept centred.
  10. Set the place card above the dessert spoon and write down the name of the guest on both sides of it. This will help the guests to find where their place is, and it will also help guests seated opposite each other to be able to read the name and know whom they are talking to.
  11. Place the coffee cup and saucer below the glasses, and ensure that the handle is facing the right side.

Whether you want to host a dinner party that is elegant and formal or a laid back and casual luncheon, follow the tips given above to set the table the right way so that your event will stick in your guest’s minds for all the right reasons.

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