How to set a Formal Dinner Table Leave a comment

Formal Dinner Table

Setting up a dinner table is essential especially when people have a formal dinner or lunch at their place. It reflects their mannerisms and sophistication. Moreover, it also signifies their class and also ensures that it gives off a very positive image to the guests that are coming over. The art of setting up a formal dinner table is quite simple and people just have to understand the basics in order to do it with perfection. Many people hardly know the basics behind setting up the formal dining table and hence the way they set up their table is a reflection of a disaster. In order to set up the dinner table perfectly, following rules and principles should be followed:

Arrange the things that you need

The first step is to arrange the things that you need in order to set up the dinner table perfectly. A formal dinner table would need a table runner, table mats, flower arrangement, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, soup bowl, plates, napkins, wine glasses etc.

Set the Dinner Plates

After all the things that you need are arranged, the next step is to set them down properly on the table. The dinner plates should be at the center of each chair and it should be at a distance of one thumb from the edge of the table. All the dinner plates should be placed in that way. Now the salad plate should be placed inside the middle of the dinner plate but make sure that the salad plate is cleaned properly from underneath. Finaly the side plate on the left top corner of your set up.

Set the Silverware

After the plates have been arranged, the next step is to lay down the silverware on the table in a proper manner. Silverware should be added according to the dishes that are on the menu on that particular day. Make sure that only the culinary tools that are needed are placed on the table. Dinner fork should be placed at the left of the plates. Follow the same thumb technique to place the silverware on the table in the right manner. The knife should be placed in a way that the serrated side of the knife is not visible. The knife should be placed on the right side of the plates. The spoon needs to be placed at the right of the knife.

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Napkins are absolutely essential in a formal setting hence folded napkins are the proper way of placing the napkins. There are many techniques available to fold the napkins. A simple rectangle or triangle can do the same trick that a fan folded napkin can do. The napkin can either be placed at the top of the dinner plates or it can be placed on the left side of the silverware. It‘s up to the host in case there is a menu that needs to take place on top of the napkin or on top of the plates.


Glasses are the final element that is needed in the setting up of the formal dinner table. Water glass and beverage glass should be placed together. Water glass should be placed first. It should be placed straight above the knife. For wines, a different glass needs to be placed. The wine glass should be placed at the left side of the water glass. The wine should determine the glass that you are placing for the wines that you are planning to serve. For instance, for white wine, the glass would have smaller rim and bowl as compared to the glass that would be used for red wine.  The glassware arrangement can vary.

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All of the above-mentioned steps should be followed in order to make sure that the dinner table represents class and at the same time, it should make the guests comfortable and at ease. A flower arrangement can also be added to the dinner table as it will make the look of the dinner table even more formal.

How to: Wine and Cheese Matching Guide →

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