Setting a beautiful table is quite simple and easy. There are just a couple rules that should be followed to ensure that your table always passes the most critical inspection.

Dish Placement

To begin, the directions are for a person that would be sitting in front of the place setting.

Dinner Plate – the dinner plate will always go in the center of the place setting. An elegant table will have either a tablecloth or placemats to cover the table. Place the dinner plate on the tablecloth or placemat so that the person sitting at the place will be directly in front of the plate.

Bread Plate – the correct placement for the bread plate is the upper left side of the plate. It will be over the fork settings.

Salad Plate – salad plates are also placed to the left of the dinner plate, at the center of the plate.

Glass placement – Glasses are placed on the upper right of the dinner plate over the knife settings. Water goblets are on the far left, then to the right place the red wine glass then the white wine glass.

Coffee Cup – The coffee cup, sitting on a saucer, is placed to the right of the plate, but more towards the center of the plate.

Utensil Placement

Again, we are looking at the plate from the front of the place setting.

Napkin Placement – a linen napkin is folded and placed to the left of the dinner plate.

Forks – the entree fork is placed to the left of the plate. This is the longer fork that has three tines. The shorter fork with four tines, and usually a notch on the inner tine, is the salad fork which is placed to the left of the dinner fork. If a smaller-sized fork is used for an appetizer course it is placed to the left of the salad fork.

Knife – the dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate with the sharp side of the blade towards the plate. The bread knife is a small knife that is placed on the top of the butter plate.

Spoons – the small coffee spoon is placed to the right of the knife, and the larger soup spoon is placed to the right of the coffee spoon.

Dessert Utensils – the small dessert fork and/or spoon is placed at the top center of the plate.

Ease of Placements

Once the table is set, there is symmetry in the placement. The table appears balanced and well laid out. The placement of dishes and utensils should eliminate the fear of eating at a formal dinner party or restaurant. A person always “eats in” when using utensils. The appetizer is the first course, so the appetizer fork is placed at the outside of fork placement. Then the salad is served, which is the next fork, and the entrée fork would be the next fork to be used.

If soup is served, the soup spoon is on the outer side of the right utensil placement. The bread knife is always on the bread plate, and the entrée knife is the only other knife on the right. Dessert is served last, and those utensils are at the top of the plate and should be the only utensils left after the meal.

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