How to Set a Formal Table (It's Easy – Promise)

Throwing a dinner party? Don’t underestimate the power of a perfectly set table. Here’s how to do it right:

Table Settings

Image courtesy of Eddie Ross.

Additional tips:

  • Wineglasses. These should be arranged in the order they will be used.
  • Silverware. Work from the outside in – appetizer, entrée, then dessert (thank you, Titanic). Some believe that dessert utensils should always be above the dinner plate – this is fine, as is presenting them with the dessert course.
  • Courses. You can vary the silverware based on the courses you’re serving. If you have soup rather than a fish appetizer, for example, you would lose the leftmost fork entirely and replace the knife on the far right with a soup spoon.
  • Napkin. The napkin should be at the far left. It’s also acceptable to place it on the dinner plate (especially if you’re using napkin rings), or to style it neatly in one of the glasses.

All you really need is this advice from our Home Editorial Director, Eddie Ross – “forks are on the left, spoons and knives on the right, [with] blades facing in” – and you can modify from there to suit your tastes.

Bon appétit!

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Do you prefer a different table-setting style? Share in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala

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