It’s that time of year where we venture into the dining room and stare at an empty table, trying to remember how to set a formal table for holiday guests. Are the forks on the right or left? This step-by-step tutorial will walk you through the basics of a proper place setting. You know me, even when it’s “fancy,” I keep it real and practical.
Ever wonder where everything is supposed to go? There are actually quite a few variations out there on how to set a formal table. This is the normal person’s version on how to properly set a table for a nice or formal dinner.
How to Set a Formal Table
Start with a placemat and entree plate.
You can put the napkin to the left of the forks, but I like placing the napkin in between the entree plate and the salad plate. Depending on the size of your napkin, how many times you need to fold it to fit comfortably.
The salad plate will fit comfortably top.
Next, are the utensils. Forks on the left, knife and spoons on the right. The dessert spoon and fork are placed to the top. I’ve seen the spoons reversed, but I like the symmetry of the bigger to smaller. Don’t forget to polish your silver!
The easiest way to remember your utensils… Everything that has 4 letters goes to the L-E-F-T and everything with 5 letters goes on the R-I-G-H-T. Get it?
Fork = Left (4 letters)
Knife + Spoon = Right (5 letters)
Finally, work your way from the outside to inside. The salad is first so your salad fork will be placed on the very outside.
Psst… want a beautiful printable for your Thanksgiving table to share how thankful grateful blessed you and your loved ones are? Click below…
Glasses and More
Your glasses will either be on a diagonal or form a triangle to the top right of the place setting. The water glass is always the closest one to you. The red wine glass is set at the top, with the white wine glass in the middle.
The bread plate is placed to the top left. The butter knife can be placed at either the top, middle, or bottom of the bread plate. We don’t have any smaller butter knives, so I used a regular knife just for reference.
Here is how it all looks together, along with an easy cheat-sheet.
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Love, hugs, and never wondering which fork to use.