Top rules for setting a table for dinner parties


Entertaining friends and family at your place is a joyous occasion for all. There’s nothing better than welcoming people into your home and treating them to a fun-filled evening accompanied by delicious food. One may think the table set up is not that important, but you’ll be surprised how it can add that extra special touch to your evening.

The setup will differ slightly depending on what kind of dinner party it is. However, there are some basic rules regarding which utensils and tableware to use and where they should be positioned – regardless of the occasion.

Rule #1:

First and foremost, you must decide whether your setting will be formal or informal. Then choose a theme for your event. Along with your theme, you may want to have a specific color scheme to match. Adding a splash of color can do wonders to create the desired atmosphere. You can let your creative juices flow here as you create the ambiance you want for your banquet with your decor.

Rule #2:

The first fundamental rule regarding utensils is that they should always be placed in the order in which they will be used, that is. Logically, this would be from the outside in. Knives and spoons are placed to the right and forks should go to the left of the plate. Be sure to place the knife with the blade pointing in, towards the plate. If the main course is meat, the dinner knife can be replaced by a steak knife. If you’re serving three courses, a smaller fork for your starter should be placed to the left of the dinner fork. Make sure that you only set the table with the utensils that you will need. If there is no soup that will be served, don’t put a soup spoon. Should you be needing a soup spoon, then place it to the right of the knife.

Rule #3:

If you’re hosting a more informal dinner party, the napkin should be folded and set under the fork or to the left of the fork. However, if your dinner party is more of a formal event, the napkin should be placed on top of the plate. You may even want to use a fancy napkin holder or ribbon, to add an extra flare to your table setting. You can get creative with this, depending on the theme for the evening.

Rule #4:

A side plate or bread plate is not essential if it’s an informal dinner, but if it’s formal, these are a must. It should be placed on the top left of the dinner plate. The butter knife should be placed diagonally on the side plate. All glasses should be placed on the top right of the plate, above the knives and spoons.

Rule #5:

When your setting is formal, there are two options for placing the dessert spoon. Either horizontally above the dinner plate or beside the plate. If you place it above the plate, the handle of the spoon must be facing to the right. If you place it beside the plate, the dessert spoon should be between the knife and the soup spoon. If it’s informal, you can bring out the dessert spoon or fork together with dessert, after the dinner plates and cutlery have been cleared from the table. Finally, tea or coffee is to be served at the end of the meal.

An ordinary evening can be transformed into a lavish banquet or a cozy gathering enjoyed by all according to how you set up your table. You can’t go wrong by following these simple rules, so let your creativity flow and enjoy. Bon appétit!