03 Aug How to Set a Table: Bone China and Wooden Serveware
Setting a welcoming table is one of the joys of hosting, so relax and have fun with it. Pick a level of formality for your table that suits your style, the event and your guests. Then enjoy the creative experience as you create a table that will add to your guests’ comfort and delight in the meal. Here are a few simple tips for how to set a table.
Setting the Table, the Basics
Begin by spacing chairs evenly around the table so you don’t have to shuffle place settings later. Next, centre a placemat and charger—if you’re using them—and an entree plate in front of each chair. The napkin goes either to the left of or on top of the plate. A simple but impressive-looking napkin fold we love is done like this: open a square napkin and lay it flat, then fold it in half three times (square to rectangle, rectangle to a square, square to a rectangle). The side with the open flap should sit against the table, leaving a crisp rectangle showing on top.
Flatware is typically organised in the order it will be used. A basic place setting from left to right looks like this: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, butter knife with the blade facing the plate, spoon. Water and wine glasses go at the top right of each place setting, above the knife and spoon.
Before you decide which dishes to use, think about how many dinner courses you’d like to serve and how you’ll serve them. If you’re planning a family-style meal, guests can pass serving plates and bowls and use the same entree plate throughout. But for formal sit-down meals, plates are cleared and guests are served each course on a new dish.
Formal Place Setting Tips
To give your dining table a formal and elegant feel, start by using a tablecloth. Napkins that match are great for a traditional look, or you can use coordinating napkins to relax the tone. Adding more flatware and dishes can also help elevate a seated meal.
A formal dinner is also a good time to enjoy items like napkin rings, chargers, salad and dessert plates for multiple served courses, elegant taper candles in gleaming candlesticks, formal bone china and crystal glassware for extra sparkle. Tip: for a formal dinner, but sure to serve cocktail-hour drinks in glassware that coordinates with your place settings so you won’t have unexpected elements on the table when your guests sit down for dinner.