Proper Table Settings
Etiquette for proper table setting; set the table correctly!
Proper table setting etiquette adds a subtle yet definite touch of class and sophistication to any formal dinner. Fortunately, the techniques of proper table setting are not as complicated as they may seem. Here are a few guidelines that will hold you in good stead for your next formal dinner.
General Table Setting Rules
- When setting a table, always remember to work from the outside in, which means the flatware that will be used first should be placed furthest from the center, with the entrée plate placed directly in front of the diner.
- Silverware should be aligned 1inch from the table edge and no more than 2 inches if place mats are used. Setting all items the same distance apart from one another enhances the overall look of the table setting.
- Forks are always placed on the left side of the plate and spoons and knives on the right side, with the cutting edge of the knife placing the plate.
- Water glass is placed above the knife on the right side of the plate
- Wine glasses are placed to the right of the water glass further away from the plate
- Bread and butter plates are not a compulsory element in table setting but when used, they are placed on the left side directly above the fork
- If soup is being served, the bow is typically set on the dinner plate and is cleared away as soon as the soup is finished.
- Coffee cup and saucer are placed to the extreme right after the knife and spoon
A Few Exceptions to Table setting Etiquette
- The butter knife should be placed across the bread plate.
- If the dessert fork and spoon are being laid out at the outset, they are placed above the plate with the spoon nearer the plate and pointing left, and the fork placed further away with its tines pointing right.
- If an oyster/cocktail fork is being placed, it goes right of the dinner spoon
Setting Your Table With Glasses
Getting Your Glasses Right
The key to bringing out the distinctive bouquet of any wine so that it can be enjoyed to the fullest is by serving it in the right wine glass. The number of different types of wine glasses you need to set at your dinner table depends on the different types of wines that you are planning on offering your guests.
- Champagne: Champagne is enjoyed best when served in a narrow fluted glass as this reduces the surface area of the liquid and stops the bubbles from dispersing too quickly.
- White Wine: A smaller wine glass with a wider bowl helps capture the bouquet of the white wine. White wine is best served chilled and holding the glass by the stem will help keep the wine cold.
- Red Wine: Red wine glasses are slightly larger than white wine glasses. Red wine is typically served at room temperature and the glass is held at the bottom of the bowl where it meets the stem.
- Pinot Noirs & Burgundy Reds: Pinot Noirs and Burgundy Reds are best enjoyed when served in a wine glass with a large bowl as this helps bring out the complexity of these wines. These glasses are slightly taller than white wine glasses.
- Brandy: Brandy should always be served in a brandy snifter. The right way to drink brandy is by rolling snifter between both hands to warm the glass, which brings out the heady bouquet.
Where Does the Napkin Go?
At last, some flexibility in your formal table setting! There are no hard and fast rules for napkin placement. Where you place your napkin and how to choose to fold it is a matter of preference but it can be the key to enhancing your entire table setting.
A white napkin, folded traditionally and placed on the dinner plate can give the entire setting an ultra-sophisticated look while a bright colored napkin placed in the water glass can add a burst of color and instantly liven up the whole setting. Creativity coupled with proper arrangement is the key to a perfect table setting that is sure to be the talk of the town!
And when it comes to napkin folding
the sky is the limit.
For even more great details on table settings take a look at http://didyouknow.org/tablesettings