WEDnesday Tip: “Place Settings”

Table Etiquette, Table Manners, Table Setting, Wedding EtiquetteToday’s weekly tip is about PLACE SETTINGS! A table setting or place setting refers to the way to set a table with tableware for serving and eating. How many times have you been out and wondered which fork to use first? As a professional planner, I see people fumble around more times than I can count.

In today’s busy world of hectic schedules and fast-food restaurants, it’s easy to forget how to properly set the table for a formal dinner. While it may not be a skill you need often, occasions do still arise for which formal place settings are an absolute must. According to Emily Post, the basic rule is: Utensils are placed in the order of use, that is, from the outside in. A second rule, with only a few exceptions, is: forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right.basic_place_setting

For a formal setting, the one rule is for everything to be geometrically spaced: the centerpiece at the exact center; the place settings at equal distances; and the utensils balanced. Utensils in the outermost position are used first (for example, a soup spoon and a salad fork, then the dinner fork and the dinner knife). The blades of the knives are turned toward the plate. Glasses are placed an inch or so above the knives, also in the order of use: white wine, red wine, dessert wine, and water tumbler.formaltablesettingimage

At an informal setting, fewer utensils are used and serving dishes are placed on the table. Sometimes the cup and saucer are placed on the right side of the spoon, about four inches from the edge of the table. Often, in less formal settings, the napkin should be in the wine glass. However, such objects as napkin rings are very rare in the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, or Italy.


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