What is table setting etiquette?

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Have your next dinner party be a hit with perfect tablesetting etiquette
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Impress your guests if you know table setting etiquette for formal dinners

Planning a formal dinner party?  Every good host or hostess knows that throwing a great dinner party means more than just having the right food.  An important part of the formal dinner party is knowing table setting etiquette. 

Fortunately, this part doesn't need to be as complicated as it may seem.  When your big day comes, you'll be able to pull it off like a pro with these easy steps:

  • Plate:  the plate, being the most important part of the dining experience and the main focus of your formal dinnerware, should be placed directly in the center of each guest's place at the table.  Make sure that each guest has plenty of room and has his or her plate centered in front of their chair.  If soup is on your menu, place the soup bowl on top of the plate.
  • Forks:  a good rule of thumb when setting the formal dinner table is that the guests will be "eating their way in."  What this means is that the silverware which corresponds to the dish being served first will be the farthest away from the plate.  Forks should be placed to the left of the plate, so the salad fork should be the farthest to the left, and the dinner fork should be the closest to the plate.

    If you are serving a desert which requires a desert fork, it should be placed horizontally above the plate.

  • Napkin:  the napkin should be placed to the left of the forks.  If you don't have enough room on your table, or if you prefer it a different way, you can also place the napkin in the center of the plate.
  • Knife:  if you are serving a dish which requires a knife, it should be placed to the right of your plate.  Make sure that the blade of the knife is pointing towards the plate.
  • Spoons:  as with the forks, you will be working your way in with the spoons.  Spoons belong on the right-hand side of the plate, just to the right of the knife.  The soup spoon should be the farthest to the right, and the tea spoon should be inbetween the soup spoon and the knife.

    If you are serving a desert which requires a spoon, the desert spoon should be placed horizontally above your plate.
  • Cups:  Each guest should have a glass for water and a glass for wine (multiple wine glasses if you are planning on serving different types of wine).  The glasses should be placed on the right side of the plate, above the spoons and knife.  Make sure that the water glass is the closest to the middle of the table setting.
  • Bread and butter plate:  if you are planning on serving bread and butter for your guests before serving the salad, place it and a small butter knife to the left of the plate above the forks.
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