How To Set A Table

The holidays are right around the corner.  You’ll be hosting parties and dinners for family and friends.  While what you serve is important, so is how you serve.  The table setting contributes to the ambiance of a meal as much as the food and wine. A few simple guidelines will help you establish the desired tone.

 

 

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Glasses

Each place should be set with all the glasses that will be used during dinner.  The exception is the dessert-wine glasses, which may be brought out when the dessert is served. The water glass belongs to the right of the plate, just above the knife. Wineglasses should be set to the right of the water glasses in the order in which they will be used.
1. Water glass
2. Red-wine glass
3. White-wine glass
4. Champagne flute
5. All-purpose glass

 

 

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China

Welcome to the South or as others might refer to us “The land of formal china”.  A party is a great reason to dust off your grandmother’s china and set  a stunning table.  The only pieces of china that should be part of a table setting are the bread plate and a charger.  A charger is a purely decorative, oversize plate used to add texture, color, or pattern to the table. Chargers may be made of china, pewter, brass or even burlap. Food is never served directly on the charger, but a first-course soup bowl or salad plate can be set on top of it. The charger should be cleared along with the bowl or plate.
1. Dinner plate
2. Salad plate
3. Cup
4. Saucer
5. Bread-and-butter plate
6. Charger
7. Dessert plate
8. Soup bowl

 

 

 

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Silverware

A proper silverware setting follows one simple rule, no matter how formal or relaxed the event: Set the silverware on the table in the order it will be used, from the outside in. The fork for the first course is the one farthest to the left; to the right of the plate, the knife for the first course is the farthest to the right. Any spoons needed before dessert,  should be placed to the right of the knives. Dessert utensils should always be placed horizontally above the plate, or they can be brought in later, with the dessert course.
1. Salad fork
2. Dinner fork
3. Dinner knife
4. Soupspoon
5. Teaspoon
6. Butter knife
7. Fish fork
8. Fish knife
9. Dessert fork

 

 

 

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 Mixing and Matching

Although a balanced table maintains a level of formality, creating a mix-and-match table from your collections of china, glassware, and silverware is appropriate on many occasions — and has the benefit of providing you with a unique table setting for each event. Just keep in mind that something should tie the elements together.  If you combine dishes and flatware from different periods and styles, make sure that they share similar proportion or complementary lines.

 

 

 

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Everyday Table Setting

A classic, informal place setting begins with a dinner plate only when soup or another first course is served. Dinner plates are not on the table when guests take their seats if there is no first course. Of the five basic flatware pieces, only the teaspoon is left off the table.  It will arrive with coffee or tea, placed at the saucer’s edge. A water glass (placed over the knife) and single wineglass are set, suggesting that one wine will accompany dinner. A folded cloth napkin adds a touch of elegance.

 

 

 

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Special Occasion Table Setting

This formal place setting includes a charger and is set for European dining, where the salad follows the main course. From the left, forks are for fish, main course, and salad. From the right are the soupspoon, fish knife, and dinner knife. Above the charger are a dessert spoon and dessert fork. Stemware forms a triangle: The water glass sits above the dinner knife, the white-wine glass is to its right, and the red-wine glass is above them. The bread-and-butter plate and butter knife sit above the forks.

 

 

 

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Dessert Table Setting

When dessert is served, all wineglasses (except dessert-wine glasses), bread plates, and salt and pepper shakers should be cleared from the table. Dessert flatware can either be set above the dinner plate or charger at the initial table setting, or it can be carried in on a tray at dessert time, along with coffee cups and saucers. Water glasses remain on the table for the duration of the meal.