The arrangement of your tabletop is the first thing that your guests see. Whether you’re having a casual or formal occasion, the table setting will dictate the first impression and dining experience of your guests. 

As a host, it is essential to learn the proper placement of silverware, such as spoons, forks, and even non serrated steak knives. Proper table-setting etiquette is not that hard to follow. By learning and applying the etiquette and rules of table setting, you and your guests can experience a comfortable and fun meal.   

Plan the Table Setting According to Your Menu 

It is important that your table setting matches your menu. If you plan on serving steak, make sure that you have non serrated steak knives ready. If bread and butter are part of the dish, place a butter plate on the table setting. 

You should also consider the type of occasion you’re hosting. Does it require a formal or informal table setting? Is the meal served during breakfast, lunch, or dinner? How many courses are there?

Rules for both Informal and Formal Table Setting

Some general rules apply in both a formal and informal setting:

  • Align the lower edges of the napkin and silverware with the lower rim of the flatware. Place them one inch from the edge of the table.
  • Place utensils approximately one inch away from the side of flatware.
  • As a basic rule, the silverware for the first course is on the outside of the setting. Meanwhile, the last utensil is directly next to the flatware. 
  • Fold the napkins in the same style and point them in the same direction. 
  • Do not include a piece of flatware if it is not needed on the menu. 
  • Make sure that the sharp side of the knife faces the plate. 

 Informal Table Setting

An informal table setting is usually set for casual meals, like breakfast and lunch. Dinners with only a few courses can also apply this table setting.

  1. Place the flatware and napkins at the center of the setting.
  2. Set the left-hand silverware – salad fork and dinner fork. The salad fork is placed outside the setting while the dinner fork sits next to the plate. 
  3. Lay down the right-hand silverware – soup spoon and dinner or steak knife. The knife is directly beside the plate while the soup spoon is on the far side of the knife.
  4. Set a salad plate on the left portion of the salad fork. Lay down a bread plate over the dinner fork.
  5. Place the water glass above the knife. 

 Formal Table Setting

The formal table setting follows the same procedures as mentioned above. However, there are additional utensils and flatware included in a formal setting.

  1. If required, set a seafood fork on the right of the soup spoon. 
  2. Place a dessert spoon and cake fork above the plate.
  3. You can set a red wine, white wine, or champagne glass beside the water glass as needed.
  4. Lay down a salt shaker and pepper shaker above the dessert spoon.  

 Why Does It Matter?

The table setting delivers a visual impact that will surely impress your guests. It lets them know the type of dishes they should expect. Furthermore, a proper table setting will make the dining experience fun and comfortable. 

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