How To Lay Your Table Perfectly

November 30, 2011


Whether dining out or hosting, we all want to avoid the 'Pretty Woman Situation' (you know, when Julia Roberts can't work out which fork to use when!) at the dinner table.

© 1990 Warner Bros

So, here is my simple guide to laying your table correctly for a four course meal consisting of Starter, Soup, Main Course & Dessert. 

  1. The basic rule of dining etiquette is to work your way in with the silverware (so the cutlery for your first course will be outside the cutlery for your main course).
  2. Uniformly place your crockery and cutlery for each place setting, allowing enough room between guests. 
  3. Knife blades face inwards (unless you are using more modern cutlery sets, in which case your knives can be upstanding, with the blades facing downwards to prevent your guests sustaining accidental knicks!)
  4. Make sure everything is clean and polish your cutlery if using real silver.

Follow the diagram below to check you have laid everything correctly:


A - Starter Plate
B - Dinner Plate  
C - Bread Plate With Butter Knife  
D - Water Glass
E - Red Wine Glass 
F - Starter Fork
G - Dinner Fork
H - Dinner Knife
I - Soup Spoon
J - Start Knife
K - Cake Fork
L - Dessert Spoon  

Finally, don't forget to include napkins! For interesting ways to present your napkins, take a look at my posts on Napkin Ideas and Napkin Blings coming soon. And also look out for my post on Stunning Centrepieces for fabulous inspiration on decorating your dining table for any occasion.

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