One of the most important parts of any event is the place setting. It may seem small and unimportant but that could not be any farther from the truth. This is where we sit down to eat, have conversations and share memories. Most memories involve food (at least ours do) in some way.
There are several ways to create the perfect place setting. Basically, follow the theme of your party. Your place settings act as another form of decoration at your event. They add interest to your tables. Guests will spend a lot of time at these tables, so why not make them beautiful.
To make sure that we got it right we consulted Emily Post on what the proper table setting rules are. Here they are:
Basic Table Setting
In this setting one needs: a plate in the center, a knife and spoon on the right, fork and napkin to the left. In the upper left corner is the bread and butter plate with butter knife. The upper right is where the glasses are placed.
Informal Table Setting
This illustration is setup for a meal the includes a soup course, salad or first course, entree and finally dessert. The dinner plate should be set where the napkin is. Two forks are placed to the left of the plate. The dinner knife is set immediately to the right of the dinner plate. Spoons go to the right of the knife, soup spoon on the outside and the dessert spoon on the inside. Any kind of glasses are placed in the upper right corner above knives and spoons. Other optional dishes and utensils are: a salad plate, bread and butter plate with butter knife and coffee cup and saucer.
Formal Table Setting
(a) Service Plate: This large plate, also called a charger, serves as an under-plate for the plate holding the first course, which will be brought to the table. When the first course is cleared, the service plate remains in place for any other courses, such as a soup course, until the plate holding the entrée is served, at which point the two plates are exchanged. The charger may serve as the under-plate for several courses which precede the entrée.
(b) Butter Plate: The small butter plate is placed above the forks at the left of the place setting.
(c) Dinner Fork: The largest of the forks, also called the place fork, is placed on the left of the plate. Other smaller forks for other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner fork, according to when they will be used.
(d) Fish Fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used.
(e) Salad Fork: If the salad is served after the entrée, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.
(f) Dinner Knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.
(g) Fish Knife: The specially shaped fish knife goes to the right of the dinner knife.
(h) Salad Knife (Note: there is no salad knife in the illustration): If used, according to the above menu, it would be placed to the left of the dinner knife, next to the dinner plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the knives would be arranged (left to right): dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.
(i) Soup Spoon or Fruit Spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a first course, then the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives.
(j) Oyster Fork: If shellfish are to be served, the oyster fork goes to the right of the spoons. Note: It is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate.
(k) Butter Knife: The small spreader is paced diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and blade down.
(l) Glasses: These are placed on the right, above the knives and spoons. They can number up to five and are placed in the order they will be used. When there are more than three glasses, they can be arranged with smaller glasses in front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right are placed a red (lc) or white (ld) wine glass. A sherry glass or champagne flute (le), to accompany a first course or for an opening toast, go to the right of the wine glasses. Glasses used for a particular course are removed at the end of the course.
(m) Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger (if one is used) or in the space for the plate. It can also go to the left of the forks, or under the forks if space is tight.
However formal or informal your event is, your tables should look organized and interesting and go with the theme. Keep your centerpieces fun and creative and keep with the color scheme of your event. You can keep it as simple or dress it up as much as you like. Table settings are a great way to add color and interest to your even space so take advantage and use a table as a blank canvas!