Setting the dinner table: posh people in fancy frocks and suits make it look so easy, and yet there are many people out there who become alarmingly confused when it’s time to put out the cutlery (I was once one of those alarmingly confused people!). Whether you’re having a fancy meal or a casual dinner with friends, setting the table is important. You need to remember where to put the plates, knives, forks, spoons, and glasses to be successful and make the table look good – which actually isn’t too hard and can easily be remembered for all occasions with two simple techniques!

Setting a Formal Dinner Table

Setting a formal dinner table for a more fancy dinner can look difficult, but we’ve got it covered!

1. All guests should have a matching placemat, and these should also match the tablecloth. Arrange the placemats first, one in front of each of your guests places.

2. Napkins are an important part of a formal dinner, as they allow guests to politely wipe away any food from the face and protect posh frocks while they’re at it. Place a napkin for each guest to the left side of the placemat.

3. Place a plate in the middle of each placemat, ideally just covering the right side of the napkin.

4. Utensils go from the outside in, so your dinner fork needs to be closest to your plate with the salad fork a little further away. The prongs should be facing away from the diner. Place the knife on the other side of the plate in the same way, with the blade of the knife facing the plate away from the diner.

5. A teaspoon should be placed at the left side of the knife, which will be used for hot drinks after dinner. Place a soup spoon next to the teaspoon if serving soup as a starter.

6. Wine glasses should be at the top right corner of the placemat.

You’re done! Now for the next setting:

Setting a Casual Dinner Table

There isn’t as much pressure when setting a casual dinner table as there is when setting a formal dinner table, so just relax and follow these instructions:

1. Give everybody a placemat (these can be a more casual style than at a formal meal), and set a napkin to the left.

2. Pop a plate in the middle of the placemat. Although this is a casual get together, it will still look better if all plates match.

3. Place the dinner fork to the left of the plate, and the knife to the right of the plate. If you’re serving soup, add a soup spoon to the right of the knife. You don’t have as many knives and forks as you traditionally do with a formal meal.

4. Place a wine glass and a water glass just above the knife and soup spoon.

You’re done! Not so hard after all, is it? In both cases, the only other thing you need to remember is to give your guests enough room to eat without knocking and bumping one another. Enjoy and good luck!

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