The 7-Step Guide to Table Settings

In Corporate Etiquette, Dining Etiquette, Main by treska roden

The 7-step guide to table settings will help you when hosting a dinner party. Place settings can be difficult to understand so this guide will make it easier for you.

1. The table cloth

If it is a very formal dinner the starched white table cloth will fall to the floor but if it is a less formal dinner, the starched white table cloth will just cover the table with an overhang of about 20 – 30cms.  There will be white serviettes to match the tablecloth.  If the dinner is less formal the table cloth and matching serviette will be any colour or multi coloured.

2. The charger plate

At a formal dinner, there will be charger plate or service plate in the middle of your place setting.  This is taken away by the waiter when your meal is served.

3. The cutlery

The forks are placed on the left and knives and spoons on the right.  They are arranged so that you start eating with the utensils from the outside in.  Except for the soup spoon, every other setting has 2 pieces i.e. knife and fork.

So when you have finished a course, whether you used both the knife and fork or not, place both on the used plate for the waiter to take away.  You will notice that the blade of each knife is facing inwards and the tines of each fork is facing upwards.

The dessert spoon and fork is sometimes placed at top of the plate or it can be placed alongside the other knives and forks.  At a formal dinner, your name place will be above the dessert spoon and fork.If you have ordered fish, the waiter will remove the knife and fork that has been set and replace it with a fish knife and fork.

This is slightly different to a regular knife and fork; the main difference being that the blade on the knife is quite blunt.

4. The glasses

They are on the right hand side of the main plate. They are arranged in a row with the champagne glass first, then white wine glass, the red wine glass and lastly the water tumbler which is above the knives.

5. The butter dish

The butter dish is usually placed in the centre of the table with a butter knife on it for you to be able to take some butter and place on your small bread and butter plate.  However, sometimes in a very formal setting each guest has their own butter dish.  In this case, there will not be a butter knife on it, you use your own butter knife which is on the bread and butter plate.

6. The bread and butter plate

On the left of the dinner plate is the small bread and butter plate with your own small knife for buttering.  This will be placed with the blade facing outwards.

7. Your serviette

This will either be on the centre plate or on the bread and butter plate.  If the waiter does not unfold it and place it on your lap, you should do this yourself.  Unfold it at your side – not in the air and neatly place it on your lap.

Bon appetite.

If you would like to know more or take a class please contact us. 

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