• Kristen Stolte

Informal vs. Formal Table Settings

When it comes to setting tables there are two distinct ways: formal and informal. Each is unique and used for specific events at certain locations. We’ll start with informal.

Informal table settings often use fewer utensils and serving dishes. However, the setting can be adjusted depending on what meal is being served. This style is typically used in high street restaurants and private settings within a home. Here is a basic layout of how the table is usually set:

-the dinner plate is first to be set

-two forks are placed to the left of plate

-the larger fork is for the main course, the smaller fork is for the first course or salad (work from the outside in)

-the napkin can be folded or placed in a napkin ring (placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate) it can also be folded and put into a glass

-the large knife is placed to right of the plate, sharp edge facing inward (this knife is used for all courses) *remember that a dirty knife is never placed on the table, place mat, or tablecloth

-the spoons go to the right of the knife

-glasses are always placed at the top right of the dinner plate above the knives and spoons

Formal table settings are used for meals with multiple courses in private homes or restaurants. Make sure you pay attention to small details because the final look must be flawless. This includes having polished silverware and tablecloths that are crease free. Here is the basic layout for a formal table:

-first set the service plate (charger): acts as under-plate for the plate holding the first course and will stay until main course is served

-the butter plate is placed on the left of the place setting next to the small fork

-the large fork is placed to left of the plate (smaller forks for other courses are placed next to it according when they will be used)

-the fish fork (if there is a fish course) is placed to left of the dinner fork

-the small fork (if the salad is served after the main course) is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate

-the large knife is placed to the right of the plate

-the fish knife (specially shaped) is placed to right of the dinner knife

-the small knife is placed to left of the dinner knife next to the dinner plate

-the soup spoon (if soup is served as first course) is placed to the right of the knives

-the oyster fork (if shellfish is served) goes to the right of the spoons *this is the only fork ever to be placed on the right of the plate

-the butter knife is placed diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and the sharp edge facing down

-glasses are placed above the knives and spoons (this can go up to five glasses)

-if there are more than three glasses, they can be placed from the smaller at the front to larger at the rear (the water glass is placed directly above the knives, and to the right are the white and then the red wine glasses) *each time a glass has been used for a certain course they are removed

-the napkin is placed on top of the service plate (can also be placed to left of the forks, or under the forks if the space is tight)

#myjoyfulevent #informaltablesetting #formaltablesetting


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