Proper Place Setting for Dinner

How to Find a Proper Place Setting for a Classy Dinner

Formal dinners can be a pain to organize, more so when you are hosting a sit-down dinner and you are not sure about the etiquette for place setting. With this article, at least one of your problems will be taken care of.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
In an age where takeouts and drive-in restaurants are not just a matter of convenience but a preferred choice, there are very few occasions where you will have to take care that proper table setting etiquette is followed. With people increasingly opting for buffets, instead of sit-down dinners while throwing a party, due to either the varied spread of cuisines that they can offer, or because of the huge guest list that they have, the need for proper setting is restricted to formal dinners with just a few guests or family dinners where you want the setting to be more conventional and courtly. But if you do need to arrange a formal party with dinner served in courses, then you will need to learn the proper way to set a table.

Proper setting refers to the way in which cutlery or tableware is set on the table. According to etiquette, there is a certain order in which the cutlery should be arranged on the table. The arrangement or the way the silverware is arranged for a single diner is called a place setting.This varies quite a bit over the course of history and also differs depending on one's cultural background.

For a formal dinner, there should always be a decorative centerpiece at the center of the table. Try to make this centerpiece as interesting as possible because in case you are serving dinner to people who are not familiar with each other this could always serve as a conversation starter. Also make sure that your guests are seated in such a way that they mingle as much as possible and make conversation with people they are not familiar with. This will ensure that no one feels left out. Once you have decided on a proper seating arrangement, you will need to shift your focus to the place setting. In this article, we will consider that the silverware and cutlery in the following list will make up one place setting.
  • Water goblet
  • Red wine goblet
  • White wine goblet
  • Bread and butter plate
  • Butter spreader
  • Soup spoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Dinner knife
  • Salad fork
  • Dinner fork
  • Dessert fork
  • Soup bowl
  • Dinner plate
  • Dinner napkin
Now that you are aware of the ware that makes up one place setting for a table, let us learn how to set the table.
  • Every place on the table is set in two rows. The bread and butter plate is set at the top left with the butter spreader placed horizontally at the top of the plate. The plate is set at approximately 11 o'clock if the dinner plate was the face of the clock.
  • Next comes the goblets which are placed in the same row as the bread and butter plate but at 1 o'clock, again with the dinner plate being the face of the clock. Place the goblets in the order of decreasing size from left to right. This means that the water goblet will come first, the red wine goblet next, and the white wine goblet last.
  • If the dinner plate is the center of the place setting, then parallel to it on the left side is the place for the napkin. To the right of the napkin, you will need to place the three forks, starting with the salad fork, then the dinner fork, and finally the dessert fork.
  • The soup bowl is placed on the dinner plate.
  • Parallel to this setting, to the right of the dinner plate, you can place the remaining silverware, starting from left to right, with the dinner knife, teaspoon, and soup spoon.
Etiquette demands that you follow these rules in case you are the host for a formal sit-down dinner party. Before you set out the table, ensure that all your kitchen cutlery sets are properly polished and that your dinnerware is accounted for. Most guests at a party do not expect a formal courtly dinner, and I am sure that an effort of the like on your part will definitely impress them.