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The Right Way to Set a Table for a 3-Course Meal

The Right Way to Set a Table for a 3-Course Meal

How to set a table used to be common knowledge, but knowing how to set a table properly has become a lost art in today's takeaway-box ridden world. If you've suddenly got a baby shower luncheon, an informal dinner party, or even an impromptu family dinner on your hands, don’t worry about it. We’ve got you covered.

As intimidating as it may look, setting a table when broken down into its essential components, is a fairly simple affair. There will be slight variations in the setup depending on whether the occasion is casual or formal.

For a casual meal, you will need for each place setting a:

  • Placemat
  • Napkin
  • Soup Bowl
  • Salad Plate
  • Dinner Plate
  • Soup Spoon
  • Dinner Knife
  • Dinner Fork
  • Water Glass
  • Wine Glass
  • Lay the placemat down on the table.
  • Place the dinner plate in the center of the placemat.
  • Lay the napkin to the left of the plate.
  • Place the fork on your serving fabric.
  • Place the knife closest to the plate to the right, pointing the blade towards the diner.
  • Place the spoon to the knife’s right, with the head facing inwards.
  • Make sure the utensils and plate bottoms are all level.
  • Place the glass of water slightly above the plate.
  • Place the napkin on the dinner plate, and voila!
  • Your table is all set for a casual meal.

Now, for a more formal occasion, the setup will get a little more extensive, but is just as easy to follow once you get the basics right. The biggest difference between a casual table and a formal table is the use of chargers, also known as presentation plates.

For each place setting, you will need a:

  • Tablecloth
  • Chargers
  • Dinner plate
  • Soup bowl
  • Salad plates
  • Bread plate
  • Napkin
  • Salad fork
  • Dinner forks
  • Knife
  • Soup spoon
  • Butter knife
  • Dessert spoon
  • Water glass
  • Separate red wine and white wine glasses
  • Put a charger at each table place. If you don't use the chargers, a dinner plate will do. Position the napkin to the left of the charger or the dinner plate.
  • Place a bowl of salad or soup directly on top of the charger or dinner plate, depending on what you are going to serve. If you’re serving both, the right order is salad followed by soup.
  • Place a dinner fork on the left side of each platter on top of the napkin. Place a salad fork to the left of the dinner fork if you are serving salad too.
  • Place a dinner knife to the right of each dinner plate or charger, with the tip pointing toward the guest.
  • For desert, place the desert knife and/ or a desert spoon directly above the dinner plate, with the tops facing leftwards.
  • The bread plate and butter knives are meant to be placed to the top left of the dinner plate.
  • Place the water glass to the right of the dinner plate, in line with the desert flatware.
  • If serving wine, place the wineglass to the right of the water glass for red wine, and to the left for white wine.

Now you’re all set to set your table and impress your guests!