When most people think of a formal dinner party, an image of men dressed in stuffy tuxedos, stiff butlers with sour looks on their faces, and miserable guests who would rather be anywhere else often come to mind. But that’s not the reality.
Formal dinner parties don’t have to be intimidating or awkward. In fact, they can be quite fun if you know what you’re doing.
Special occasions, like holidays and elegant dinner parties, require a more formal table than the traditional five-piece place setting. Luckily, the modern art of table setting is quite simple once you understand a few basics.
Once you realize table setting is based on logic, things become less intimidating. For example, you begin eating a meal by using the flatware at the outside left and right, and then work toward the plate as the meal proceeds. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate; bread-and-butter plate sit above the plate and to the left.
Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger, a large plate, which will be removed after everyone spreads his napkin on his lap. The water glass stands above the dinner knife, white wine to its right, and red wine top center.
Soup is served in a heated soup dish, atop a dinner plate, and eaten with the soup spoon, at outer right. When every guest has finished and laid his spoon, bowl up, across the upper right hand corner of the plate, the plate, bowl, and spoon will be removed. The bread-and-butter plate and butter knife remain.
A midsize plate arrives bearing the fish course. Use the short, broad fork at outer left and the fish knife at outer right. When they have finished this, or any other, course, guests should place their silverware diagonally across the plate — handles at 4:20 and knife blade facing in.
Course two has been cleared, leaving the table set for the main course. The large dinner plate may be brought in either bearing a portion of food or empty, if food is to be served at the table. In either case, the plate should be preheated unless the main course is served cold. Eat with the dinner fork and knife.
We hope you enjoy this table setting primer and good luck to setting your next formal dinner party.
Cheers and Bon Appetit!
Crave Culinary Arts is a Private Chef and Catering Boutique and Gourmet Home Meal Delivery Service — servicing Roslyn, Cle Elum, Ronald, Ellensburg, Kittitas County and other Washington counties
Our private chef service and event catering provides on-site cooking for events ranging from intimate hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings and small dinner parties to thematic social events, noteworthy celebrations and more.