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Setting the Table –

The cardinal rule of table setting is this: Place the silverware on the table in the order it will be used, from the outside in. The fork for the first course is the farthest to the left, and the knife that goes with it is farthest to the right. The blade of the knife faces the plate. Any spoons needed before dessert are placed to the right of the plate, among the knives. Dessert silverware rests horizontally above the plate or is brought to the table after the meal. Stemware is placed above the knives; salad plates rest to the left of the forks, with the butter plate just above. The napkin, generally folded, is placed in the center of the plate or charger, or to the left of the plate, underneath the forks, or to the left of the forks.

Although this might seem arbitrary, it is based on the fact that most people are right-handed. Knives and glasses are placed on that side and forks are put on the left, where they can be used to steady the meat while the stronger hand does the cutting. Glasses for water and white wine are placed closer to guests than those for red wine because they are provided first.


When dressing your table, whether it is be formal or informal, make it interesting looking.  We like using different collections of things – this adds much interest.   Missed matched silverware and plates can start-up a fun dinner conversation. Maybe you have dinner plates that once where your mom’s or grandma’s, use them – why not? Mix them up with other plates you own.

The beginnings of a place setting.

The picture above is the beginning of a place setting.  Missed match silverware and glasses along with different styled plates are being coordinated with the existing color scheme of the room.  In the center of the square plate is a clear plexiglass card holder. The photo below shows the finished result. We did settle on miss-matched plates and glasses, however we decided it would be nice if the guests each had a flower of their own. We artfully folded the napkin and sat it on the bread plate and each guests was also given a tiny little present.  We also decided that the guest can decide for themselves where they wanted to sit, thus forgoing the named cards.

The finished result is a mixture of fun and surprise. To keep this party casual in a very formal room setting, a coffee bar is set up on the sideboard where each guest can help themselves

The room being so very large has two round dining tables.  In the photo above the second table is set up for the birthday boy. Chilled wines and glasses along with desert folks, desert plates and the birthday cake are arranged among the birthday presents.

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