A formal dinner party is the perfect time to let
your entertaining talents shine, especially when it
comes to setting the table. Here's a comprehensive run
down and some great ideas for setting a table that will
truly make you the master of any and all ceremonies.
Start by using a protective covering for your table.
For napkins, use something special like a tone-on-tone
weave. Remember to send vintage cloth to a professional
afterwards; they’ll clean it and return it perfectly
A trick I learned in my waitering day is to wear white
cotton gloves when handling glasses and silverware to
avoid fingerprints. Trust me, you will thank me for
this glove idea when you lay everything out on your
formal dinner table.
Place down a charger plate and china. Then a salad
fork and a dinner fork are placed to the left of the
dinner plate, lining up the tines of the fork to the
top of the place setting. To the right of the plate
go the dinner and salad knives and knife rest. A soupspoon
goes to the right if the knives.
As for glassware, slender, crystal champagne flutes
are gorgeous and match almost any dinner service. Other
things that can be placed include attractive demitasse
cups and finger bowls.
Pieces will come and go during a formal dinner, according
to the dishes being served. When clearing soup dishes,
also remove the under liner. Next comes the salad plate,
which will also be withdrawn when finished. Replace
the bread and butter plate halfway through dinner with
a vegetable plate. Your dessert and mise-en-place can
stay off the table until after the main course has been
Place cards should be positioned at each setting, along
with individual, tiny salt and pepper shakers. A trick
for avoiding drips when pouring wine is to fold and
wrap a napkin around the top of the bottle to end up
with a wine collar, which helps catch any drips.
There are a many options for flower arrangements. A
simple vase with a single flower placed at each place
setting works great not only for decoration but also
for a take-home gift. Another enhancement is a medium-sized
bouquet of assorted flowers and greens placed in a silver
pot. And, of course, a really big floral statement can
be placed in the centre of the table. And that's your
primer on formal dining!