If you are an adult and you still do not realize the importance of arranging or setting a table up for an occasion. If you are lacking in the art of preparing a table then consider this to be an important life skill that everyone should have. The generation of our parent's considered this as a basic skill that everyone should know in life.
Whether you are hosting a party at dinner time or arranging an occasion, you need to have a basic idea of how you should set a table.
Imagine meticulously planning out the menu and cleaning the apartment at the same time. Imagine you have curated a playlist from Spotify that took a lot of effort.
If you don't know how to set a table you will be confused until it's really time to set the table up for an occasion. you might find yourself blankly staring at the tableware and start feeling a dread stir in your stomach. As this is happening you will start panicking and anxiety will kick in when you realize that you have no clue which dessert spoon or which plate is supposed to be placed where. Moreover, you have no clue how to make any of the table accessories look good. Time will pass by and you might turn to seek help from the internet for tricks and tips for quick fixing the table.
even the internet might be of no use because there is so much information and results available. So you will be lost thinking about the fact of where to start from.
Table of Contents
- Why is setting the table an important thing to know?
- What are the various aspects of setting a table?
- What are the various methods of setting a table?
- Next what?
Why is setting the table an important thing to know?
Are you the pragmatic-minded individual in your circle? then this question is something you might ask yourself. Some might think table etiquette and conventional manners are outdated and that there is no practical use for this in the current time. It is not that simple, you can't just file the utensils all together on the table and expect everyone to pick them according to the requirement.
Let us discuss the practical use of a table setting.
Firstly, those who think that etiquette, in general, does not have a practical use, let us tell you that it is hugely incorrect. There are multiple rules that actually were curated specially to give solutions for real-life problems. These rules are collectively or mutually agreed upon by the majority of the people because it gives a notion about an individual and their eating habits. For example, there is a particular order in which the cutleries are arranged on the table. their arrangement will decide the order in which way they will be typically used. This also maximizes the accessibility and ease of use.
it was never that things that are done in a certain way just to make it look good, actually there are proven methods which tend to improve a dining experience for your guests and special ones. a butter knife is not put on the table just because some person has decided that it has to be this way.
Now, let us learn about the Aesthetic purpose of setting a table.
Secondly, imagine piling up all the utensils and expecting your guest to pick them up one after the other as per their requirement. The table will surely look like a scattered and haphazard mess. your guest might think that you did not put any thought or care Behind the arrangement. When you set up a table, it essentially means that you are crafting a great dining experience for your guests. This gesture will mean that you care to make the evening very special and worth remembering for them. you have to do both, make the food delicious and at the same time aesthetically pleasing for your guest's eyes. You can create a tablescape that looks festive and that matches the background music and lighting to set up a great tone.
Putting effort into the table setting will never go in vain. it will send a message to the guests that you really care. This gesture will make your guests believe that you think about them being comfortable and also that you want them to enjoy themselves. I am sure that this is a nice thing to do or to say to the guests that you have invited to your home.
What are the various aspects of setting a table?
1. Serving plates tablecloths and placemats
You need to set up an initial layering of texture and color by placing a tablecloth on the top of your table. Many people might skip this part but this is very essential to make the table pop. The placemats have the utility of protecting your table as well.
2. Flatware and utensils
Any flatware set must include a table fork, table knife, soup spoon, dessert knife, dessert spoon, teaspoon, and a dessert fork. you can use a key rule that you need to place only e those utensils which you think that you or your guests will utilize. For example, If there is no soup on your menu then you can simply strike the soup spoons off your table.
3. Glassware and plates
Serving pieces can be different as well like cups, saucers, bowls, plates, and platters. Whereas, glassware can include water goblets and wine glasses. you should remember to keep an elegant and uniform look. your glassware and plates should complement each other. It should not be that everything on your table is a mismatch and a pile-up of unwanted things. As said earlier you will not want your table to be crowded so that the guests struggle to find their perfect piece of spoon or glass additionally, it adds to the risk that your expensive glassware or crockeries might fall and cause a mishap in the middle of a pleasant evening.
What are the various methods of setting a table?
Multiple occasions & festivals call for multiple table settings. Depending on what and how you want to decorate your table and how grandeur you want the decoration to be, there might be 2 to 6 ways of setting a table. In this article, we have explained 3 types from the list which will cover almost every other common scenario as well.
As per the increasing elaborateness, the following are the three main types of setting a table:
- Casual or everyday dining table setting
- Informal or semi-formal dining table setting
- Formal dining table setting
Now let's elaborate on each of them thoroughly
Setting a table for everyday or casual dining
People often have the misconception that table setting is done only on particular occasions or festivals, while the truth is table setting can be done on an everyday basis. The everyday or casual table dining set is not only very soothing to look at but also super easy to set. It's pretty straightforward, something that you might have set several times but is not aware of it. To start with, all you need is a placemat, dinner plates, flatware, a wine glass or normal drinking glass and some napkin. For no-frills, simple everyday meals, this is all you will require (most of the items being available at home).
Now let us have some conversation about FORKS. Well, the forks rule is one of the crucial parts of table etiquettes. Forks are used as an easy visualization tool which helps to remember the order utensils need to be placed or arranged based on comfort and ease.
Here's a magic trick for you. Think about the word 'FORK' & the order of the letters in the words which correspond with other elements on the table. To start the word F, it stands for nothing other than a fork. And it should be placed on the left side of the plate as we hold it with our left hand. Next, the O in the word represents plate, and the K and S mean knife and spoon respectively. Now, this order remains the same for every other dining table setting even when the number of knives & forks is more.
Next, place your dinner table in the exact center of the flat mat & place a napkin an inches away from the plate (left side). Now, you need to follow the fork rule and place all the other elements accordingly that is fork placed on the napkin, then the plate, the dinner knife on the right side of the plate and the spoon next to the knife. You need to place the dinner knife pointing towards the plate. And finally, the drinking glass needs to be placed above, right on the plate.
As simple everyday meals do not involve multiple courses, this is all you will need to set the table.
Setting a table for semi-formal or informal dining
This particular table set-up is something that often comes to mind when we think of setting a dining table. This is just an expanded version of what we explained before. While the key elements remain the same, this particular setting involves a few more additional elements.
For a small birthday party, a get-together party or semi-formal celebrations and holidays, this table setting is ideal for you. In a nutshell, you can decorate the table this way for all non-formal parties or get together are home
To start with, similar to the previous method, then place your plate at the center and place the other elements that are the fork, knife, spoon, glass and napkin in the right order. Now if you have prepared salad then the salad dish should be placed at the center of the table. The soup bowl should be placed on top of the salad plate.
As in a previous way, the napkin has to be placed left on the dinner plate; one can also place it on top of the dinner plate to make the appearance more aesthetic. When serving salad, the fork used to serve salad should be placed left on the main dinner plate. The idea behind doing so is the actual silverware which needs to be used the most should remain close to the main plate.
Speaking about glassware, no matter what you serve, all glassware items need to be placed right side. The wine glass should be placed above the water glass as water is a crucial part of dinner.
One after the other you need to take away the plates and utensils as each course of meal gets completed by the guests. At the end, only the dinner plate along with the main silverware should be left on the table.
Setting a table for formal dining
Setting a formal dining table is quite a task. This is the most complicated task of all. But we have made it easy for you. Formal dinners involve multiple courses, therefore the number of utensils and cutleries will be also more than usual. If the dinner includes bread & butter, then the bread dish needs to be placed diagonally upper left, & the butter knife needs to be placed horizontally on top. While other things remain the same, dessert is an important part of formal dinner. The dessert spoon (the small one) needs to be placed above the dinner plate horizontally.
As you can see it's not as tough as it might look. In case you are serving more than two or three courses; you can make some alterations accordingly. However, the core idea remains the same.
A cordial dinner arrangement at home will be enjoyed by all your guests no matter what table setting you to do. But going some extra miles to make things look more beautiful never hurts, rather it will be highly appreciated by your guests.
After reading this article, by now you know every basic of setting a dinner table. Next, all you are left is with cooking some delicious food.