Setting the table for any get together, whether it be with friends or family, is often a last-minute task that can leave you wondering about the correct placement of the dinner plates, cutlery, napkins and glassware. So, to help keep your focus firmly on the food and your family and friends we’ve created a short guide on how to dress your table for every occasion.You’ll be a dinner party pro in no time!
Everyday dinner setting
Let’s start with an everyday setting. You might not think it’s worthwhile laying the table for your everyday meal, but it really is worth the effort. This setting is all about ease.
For this setting all you need is a knife, fork and spoon, napkins and water glasses, it’s that simple.
Start with a placemat if you’ve got them, then put the plate on top. Then all you need is your knife and fork – place them on the right and left, respectively. Your spoon goes to the right of the knife, and if you’re using napkins, put them under the knives. Finally, put your water glass above the knife.Easy!
Setting out the table for a casual get together is slightly more relaxed. If you’ve mastered the everyday setting, then you’re almost there.
The forks, knives and spoons all go in exactly the same place as with the everyday setup above, so from left to right it’s salad fork, fork, plate, knife, spoon, with the dessert spoon above.
Put a water glass above the knife, but since you’re probably just serving one wine to match the main course, put your one glass up there too. Place the napkin on the plate or beneath the forks.
Don’t panic, a formal dinner setting isn’t as difficult as it seems, put simply, it’s the casual setting taken to the next level, adding glassware, dishes and cutlery for the foods and beverages served with the additional courses.
First things first, you’re probably going to need a tablecloth, even if you don’t normally use one. Then for each setting, place the dinner plate in the centre.
Atop each dinner plate sits a salad plate, and as you’re going to be serving fresh – ideally warm – bread with your soup or paté, your bread plate should sit to the left of the plate. Place the butter knife on the bread plate so there’s no doubt what it’s for.
Next, it’s for the placement of your knives and forks which is very much guided by your menu, remember to work from the outside in with forks, first dinner then salad. Over on the right, it’s the knife and then the soup spoon. The dessert spoon sits like a halo above the dinner plate.
You’re going to be offering red or white wine plus water, so place the appropriate wine glasses and water glass to left of your dinner plate. Then for the finishing touches, prepare your napkin in whichever of 3.4 million possible designs you’ve chosen (with a ring if appropriate), and if you’re having place cards, place it just above the dessert spoon. It’s nice to have a cup and saucer for coffee, so if space permits, put it out on display to the, next to the soup spoon and the glasses.
And there you have it. A simple formal meal, all set out.
Now all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy.