Learning how to set a table for a three-course meal is fundamental to hosting an elegant dinner party. Here, the utmost care should be taken to ensure that your table is set correctly. This is the sort of table setting where every detail counts.
Formal Dinner Table Setting Instructions
The foundation of a formal setting (and what sets it apart from a typical dinner setting) is the presence of a charger. The simplest way to understand how to lay a table with charger plates is to think of it as a decorative base plate on which all the other service plates rest. Because it is purely for decorative purposes, a charger is often more elaborately designed than its practical counterparts, making it a luxurious addition to your table.
The same rule of thumb for silverware placement should be applied to formal settings, however many courses are being served. This setting shows three cutlery settings for a starter course, fish course and main course – with utensils for the early dishes being placed on the outside.
Table linen should consist of a tablecloth that is either used to cover the expanse of the table or folded as a runner as well as napkins. Napkins should be placed to the left of the forks to allow each diner or a server to easily place napkins on laps.
Formal Table Setting Etiquette Tips
To truly elevate this table setting, consider providing each guest with individual salt and pepper shakers as well as individual butter dishes. But also, remember that the table setting is far from the only way to make sure your dinner party falls on the more formal side. The etiquette that is to be respected by all guests contributes greatly to the atmosphere felt by host and invitees. Whether you’re the person hosting and want to lead by example, or if you’re attending a supper party and want to make certain you have your dining manners in check, here are a few tips:
– Don’t pick up your cutlery or start eating until everyone at the table has been served. This doesn’t apply to tables of 8 or more.
– Don’t put your elbows on the table.
– Do ask to be passed a dish or condiment – never reach over anyone or their plate. But always offer to another guest first.
– If you need to leave the table, always excuse yourself.
– Place your cutlery together with the blade and tines facing upwards to 12 o’clock to signify that you are finished eating.