Ways to Properly Set A Table

If you have ever wondered how to properly set a table for different meals, you are not alone!  Formality at your event can really make a world of difference in a positive way.



There are six different ways to set a table:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Brunch or Banquet
  • Dinner
  • Formal
  • European

The most important tips to remember are that the fork(s) always go to the left of the plate.  Next, remember to place the knife(s) to the right of the plate and the spoon(s) to the right of the knife(s).  The exception is the European set up where there is an additional fork and knife placed at the top of the plate.

For breakfast, it is important to remember both a coffee/tea cup with saucer and water/juice glass to allow your guests a drink choice.  Next, you will want to include a main plate for food, as well as a bowl and another plate for bread/muffins.  Most times, the napkin is placed to the left of the fork, but it is up to you where you would like to place it.  For a fancier breakfast, you can always place the napkin on top of the plate or in the water/juice glass for extra flair!




Lunch is very similar to breakfast, except it is important to include a salad fork as well as a dinner fork.  You can add a wine glass as well.  Again, napkin placement is up to you, so get creative!




If you are having a brunch or buffet, you will follow the lunch set up, but you will want to add a coffee/tea cup and saucer, as well as a dessert fork and spoon above the plate.




Dinner is pretty much the same as lunch, except that some like to have an additional salad plate placed on top of the dinner plate or a soup bowl depending on what is being served.  It is nice to include a wine glass for guests who wish to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.




If you are having a formal dinner party, it is important to make sure your table is set nicely to accommodate each course.  You will want to include the following flatware from left to right: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, teaspoon and soup spoon.  It is also important to include a water glass, wine glass(s) and tea/coffee cup with saucer.  Make sure to include a salad plate and soup bowl depending on what you are serving.  If you are not serving soup, you may remove the soup spoon.  You will also want a bread plate and knife.  The napkin should be placed on top of the dinner plate and folded nicely.  Unlike the brunch/buffet set up, you will want to set the table separately for dessert.




The most complicated table arrangement is the European set up.  This is used in a very formal setting and really looks amazing!  It is set like the dinner set up except you need to make sure the glassware is set accordingly: water glass followed by red wine glass, then white wine and champagne.  Depending on your menu, you might need to add a fish fork and knife above the plate, as well as a salad knife to the right of the dinner knife.




It is important to only include the flatware, glassware, etc. that you will need.  There is no need to clutter the table and add extra clean up.  The table doesn’t always need to be set up exactly the same way as the diagram.  This is just an example for you.  Remember, let your creativity flow!

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