Posted on

Setting the Stage: Table Setting Tips for Every Occassion

Setting the table
Image Credit: Didriks, Creative Commons

For the most part, setting a table isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do, even though it’s not as easy as just getting your Aava flatware and placing it within hand’s reach from where you’ll be sitting. There are a few simple rules to it, and if you follow those, you should be able to tackle setting a table for any occasion. That is, any occasion accept the most formal ones, which tend to be a bit more complicated. The rules are straight forward – the utensils that are used the first are placed the first, the utensils that are used last are placed closer to the plate. Knives and spoons are placed on the right side of the plate, while the forks are on the left. At least, that’s how it usually goes.

Let’s take a look at the most basic set table, the one you would use for a family lunch at home. The plate is in the center, as it always is because that’s where the food will be. If you plan to start your meal with a soup, the first utensil that is placed is the spoon. It goes to the right, with enough space between it and the plate for the knife. You will also need a separate plate, or a bowl, for the soup, and you should place it in the plate from which the main course will be eaten. The main course is something that requires you to use a knife and fork, so the knife goes next to the plate on the right hand side, with the blade facing the plate. The fork goes to the left. If you eat bread, a bread plate is placed on the left side, above the fork. A napkin is placed left from the forks, and a glass for water is placed on the right side, above the knives and spoons.

An informal table setting, for a casual dinner with friends for example, is a bit more complicated. The same elements are still there – the plates are in the center, the spoon and knife are on the right, the fork on the left. The water glass is above the knife and spoon, the bread plate above the fork. A butter knife should be placed in the bread plate. If you plan to serve a salad, you’ll need an additional plate and a salad fork. The salad fork goes to the left of the fork used for the main course, and the salad plate can be placed either in the main plate, and removed when it’s time to eat the salad, or to the left of the forks, if there’s enough space for it. If the napkin is in the way, you can always place it on the plate. A wine glass should be placed to the right from the water glass, and if you plan to serve desert and coffee or tea after the meal, you can bring the plates and utensils for them after everyone’s finished eating the main course. The cup for tea or coffee is placed to the right of the wine glass, and a little bit lower, towards the spoons and knives.

For the formal setting, you would take an informal setting and add to it. To the right of the wine glass, you should add another glass for white wine. That would make the glasses be, from the left, a water glass, a red wine glass, a white wine glass. You might also want to add a sherry glass to the right of the white wine glass. If you’re serving fish, you should add a fish knife and fork, usually before the main course knife and fork, which means away from the plates. You should place the salad fork depending on when the salad is being served. The tea spoon, which is to be used after the meal, is not placed closest to the plates on the right side because knives are always closest to the plates, so it should go between the soup spoon and the knives. And lastly, if you want to set a formal table European-style, you should put a desert spoon and fork above the plates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *