Home Tips: How To Set A Formal Dining Table

Learn tips and ideas on how to properly set a formal dining table that will please your family and friends.

It's that time of year when you've decided to finally have a formal dinner party at your house. There's a slight dilemma though when you realize you don't have any idea of how to set a formal dining table.

There are a few things to consider before you actually prepare your formal dining table. First of all, one of your primary concerns should be to have an adequate amount of room at the table, which will allow your guests to be comfortable without being overcrowded.

To begin with, if you choose to decorate the table with a centerpiece, make sure it is not so overwhelming in its size so that it would obstruct the view of your guests. Try to keep the centerpiece smaller in size but just as eclectic in your choice of style.

Remember to keep the atmosphere in the room at a pleasant temperature to keep your guests relaxed and happy.

If you choose to have background music, make sure it is pleasing and appropriate for that particular dinner party. Always keep it at a low level to allow your guests to easily converse without having to resort to shouting just to hear each other.

Now let's begin with the place settings; be sure to allow at least an inch of room from the edge of the table.



Secondly, when arranging the cutlery, your dinner fork should be closet to the left of the dinner plate with the smaller, salad fork to the left of it.

Next, the dinner knife should be to the right of your dinner plate, followed by the salad knife, with the soup spoon on the far side of the setting.

The goblets should be placed at the top right corner above the place setting and are aligned as follows:

The red wine goblet is placed above the tip of the knife, followed by the water goblet behind to the left, and finally the white wine goblet to the right of the water goblet. The glasses arrangement may vary slightly in different formal dining table settings, as well as the placement of the napkin. A traditional setting may choose to put the napkin to the left of the forks, while another setting may place the folded dinner napkin directly on the dinner plate.

If you are using bread and butter plates, they should be placed to the left of the dinner plate and above the forks. Also, place the bread and butter knife across the plate.

When a name card is used, that will be placed directly above the dinner plate. If you choose not to use the name card, a dessert spoon and fork can also be used in lieu of the name card.

The salads, soups, and appetizers will be served on service plates until the main entrée on the dinner plate is served. It is also inappropriate to bring any tea or coffee cups to the table until dessert is served and the dinner plate is removed from the table.

Preparing a formal dining table will take time in planning but following basic etiquette rules should serve up a delightful, formal dinner to your family or friends.

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