How to Create a Proper Table Setting

How to Create a Proper Table Setting

As Easter approaches, the event planner in all of us is just dying to exercise our creative skills to make the holiday feel (if only a bit) like we aren’t amidst a global pandemic. During my years in catering, I learned quite a bit about setting a table for dinners, weddings, galas, etc. The chef I worked alongside was especially particular about table settings and was adamant that each one was perfect and uniform. Now, I can tell you that getting 150 table settings to look identical is NOT easy (especially if you’re flipping a space). However, the process can be simple when done at home. Keep in mind that there are a ton of ways to set a table properly. It all depends what you’re serving and which items you have on hand. Whether you are preparing dinner for a family of 8, or just you and your dog, I am breaking down how to create a proper table setting and ways to spruce it up for the holiday.

  • Stacking Those Plates: The first item to place on the table (and work around) is the charger. The charger is usually a plate slightly larger than a dinner plate, used to line the dinner plate as extra decor. The great part is that you can use a myriad of items to make a charger (because who really has chargers lying around the house?!). You can place decorative paper

or lay out a table napkin at the bottom of the plate to give it a pop. Place the dinner plate atop the charger, followed by the salad plate. If you’re not serving salad, that’s okay! Skip the salad plate. A dinner plate is about 9.5-10.5’ in diameter, where a salad plate is around 7-8.5’ inches.

  • Knives, Forks, Spoons, Oh My! Beginning on the right side of the plate, place the dinner knife (teeth facing inward) with the soup spoon next to it. No soup? No problem, go ahead and skip! On the left side of the plate, place the dinner (larger) fork next to the plate and then the salad (smaller fork) on the outside next to the dinner fork. If you’re planning a formal dessert to follow, place a dessert spoon at the top of the plate, with the handle facing right. If it’s a dessert fork, have the handle facing left. Don’t have matching utensils? That’s just fine - mix n’ match for a vintage Easter look!

  • Bread & Butter, Baby: If you plan to serve bread and butter at the table, have the bread plate placed at the top left-hand corner of the dinner plate with the butter knife placed horizontally across the place. If you plan to place the butter on the plate before guests are seated, you may adjust the place of the butter knife.

  • The Big Napkin Debate: Although it is proper etiquette to place the napkin to the left of the forks, this rule can easily be tossed. There are SO many unique ways to place a napkin (and fold as well!). I suggest having fun with this. In fact, check out my article on 5 Fun Ways to Fold a Dinner Napkin for some inspiration.

  • Breaking Out The Glassware: You know what is so funny about nice glassware? Those who have it rarely bring it out. If you’re anything like me, this is the case because our parties at home tend to be much larger. However, while in quarantine, I say bring out the nice stuff! It’s a special occasion, you are limited with your guest list, and don’t pretty things just make you happier? The placement of the water, champagne and wine glass form an upside-down triangle. The champagne glass anchors the main point of the triangle with the water glass sitting at the point toward the setting and the wine glass away from the setting.

Voila - there you have it! A beautiful table setting to enjoy while in the friendly confines of your home. We would love to see how you all do with setting your tables this weekend. If you’re particularly proud of your table setting (as you should be!) and decide to post, be sure to tag #SheSaidSetTheTable so I can check out your finished products!