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Table Setting Tips for Your Wedding or Event

August 27, 2018
How do you set a fantastic table at your next event? Formal or informal, following these table setting rules can help your table setting stand out. 
Start with a "place setting" for each person, which includes everything they need for the meal, such as:
Table settings for a buffet style dinner are a bit different (since the plates and flatware are at the buffet table), but for a sit-down meal you want to follow these basic parameters:
How a table should be set is determined in a large part by the serving style. Every family has its own eating style. There is really no right and wrong way to serve a meal, but there are a few general guidelines:

  1. The flatware, plate, and napkin are set one inch from the edge of the table.
  2. The plate is placed in the center.
  3. The dinner fork goes to the left of the plate.
  4. Optional - the salad fork goes to the left the dinner fork.
  5. The napkin goes to the left of the fork, with the fold on the left, under a fork or in the centre of the plate.
  6. The knife goes on the right of the plate with the edge facing the plate.
  7. The teaspoon is set to the right of the knife.
  8. Optional - The soup spoon goes to the right of the teaspoon.
  9. The soup bowl goes on the dinner plate.
  10. The drinking glass is set at the tip of the knife.
  11. Optional - The salad plate goes just above the tip of the fork.
  12. Cups or mugs are placed above and to the right of the spoons.

Start with a clean table, then optionally use a table cover, tablecloth, and/or placemats (depends on the occasion and how you would like to decorate).

Choose settings that complement the occasion and the surrounding decor. You can choose items that blend or stand out depending on your personal taste. Only use what's necessary for the meal - for example, you don't need five different forks for a three-course meal.

Select a complementary centrepiece, but ensure it stays below eye level so your guests can converse easily across the table. Fresh flowers, plants, candles and even fruit make great centrepieces.

Not sure how to choose your tableware, flatware, or centrepieces for your next event? Check out our Pinterest Board for ideas!


Adapted from Purdue University 4-H

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