How to Set a Formal Table

A formal dinner requires perfection. As people start to set the table, they often get confused. They forget which piece goes where. It is very simple to set a formal table as the rules are written everywhere. You just need to follow them and place your crockery and cutlery accordingly. After that is done, choose your aesthetic sense and decorate the table using a good colour scheme and some complementing accessories which are elegant and functional as well.

Things Required:

– Flatware
– Stemware
– White linen
– Cutlery
– Floral centrepiece
– Napkins


  • 1

    Start by taking out a clean and crisp table linen. Make sure that there are no stains on the sheet and that it is properly ironed. A white sheet is the safest choice and always looks classy. Make sure that the sheets cover the sides of the table and are neatly placed.

  • 2

    Put the charger plate right in front of where the guest will sit. It gives a very formal effect and also acts as a decorative item. The plate stays there until dinner gets served. Folded napkins are very important on a formal table. If you are using monogrammed napkins, they should be placed in a way that the monogram faces the guest. If the dinner will be served before the guests sit on the table, then the napkin should be placed on the left side of the flat plate. The bread and butter plate should be placed a little on the side of the service plate. The plate should be at about 10:00 position. At slightly diagonal position, put the butter knife.

  • 3

    The water glass is slightly to the right in front of the plate. A little below the water glass, the wine glass which is stemmed should be placed. If there is champagne being served then the champagne glass goes to the right of the wine glass but a little above it. After you are done with the glasses, it’s time to set the flatware: to the right of the dinner plate, put the knife. After that the soup spoon is placed and then the fruit spoon. An oyster fork is also placed last if shellfish is being served. On the left of the plate, put the salad fork and then the dinner fork.

  • 4

    The finishing touches are then added: place a floral centrepiece in the middle or name cards in front of each plate.

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