Lay out a perfect table setting

What is formal and what is informal?
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 23:50 IST
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 23:50 IST

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Table settings look eye-catching in photographs. Attention to detail and knowledge of what goes where makes each such frame look gorgeous.

Hosting a casual fun gathering soon or going to play host to this year’s holiday dinners? Event planners share about where to place each plate, napkin, fork, knife and the glasses.

For an everyday dinner or a weekend breakfast, you need to just put together a basic setting, which includes a placemat, cutlery (fork, knife, and spoon), a dinner plate, a water or drink glass, and a napkin.

Suchitra Kadambari, an event planner from Chennai, says after cleaning the table, lay out placemats on the table. “For each person who will be served, place the dinner plate in the middle of the placemat. Lay the napkin on the left of the plate, and place the fork on it. On the right side of the plate, place the knife with its blade pointing towards the table’s centre. Place the spoon on the right of the knife,” she elaborates.

The bottom of all these items should be at the same level. A water glass can be placed slightly above the plate towards the right side.

The basic table setting and a casual table setting are similar — some additions include a soup bowl and a salad plate, if needed. They will be placed on top of the dinner plate. “Only bring out tableware that you will use — do not spread the whole set out, as this will crowd the table. If you are serving big pieces of meat or steaks, bring out your steak knives,” she adds. When serving meat, place a fork on the napkin, and place it at the left side of the plate.

Go the formal way

If hosting a sophisticated dinner party, knowing how to set a table for a three-course meal is imperative. Of the many differences compared to a casual setting, one must forgo the placemat in a formal setting, points out Manjunath S, a wedding manager and planner from Hyderabad.

The must-haves in a formal table setting includes chargers (large decorative plates that hold the dinner plate), a tablecloth, dinner plate, soup bowl, salad plate, bread plate, napkin, salad fork, dinner fork, knife, soup spoon, butter knife, dessert spoon, and water and wine glasses.

Elucidating the process, he adds: “After placing a clean ironed tablecloth on the table, set a charger for each seat. Place a soup bowl in the centre of the charger. Place a bread plate on the top left of the charger, and lay a napkin to its left. Place the dinner fork right next to the charger on the napkin, and a salad fork after the dinner fork. If there is room on the table, you can place the forks on the tablecloth between the napkin and the charger too.”

On the charger’s right side, place the dinner knife and then the soup spoon. All these elements should be placed evenly, and around half an inch away from each other. The bottom of all these utensils should stay aligned with the bottom of the charger, Manjunath adds.

The butter knife should be placed horizontally on the bread plate, with its blade facing inwards, towards the charger. “Place a dessert spoon with its handle pointing to the right, above the charger. Place the water glass and wine glasses on the top right side of the charger plate,” he adds.

If placing salt and pepper shakers for each guest, place them above the dessert spoon. Else place them near the centre of the table. “After the soup has been served and cleared, a salad plate replaces the soup bowl’s place,” he adds.

Published 19 April 2024, 23:50 IST

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