Table setting – theory and practice in 6 steps

Proper serving is always a sign of attention to guests, a way to create a festive atmosphere, and also an indicator of the hostess’s artistic taste..

  • In this article, we will consider the rules of informal serving, that is, those that are appropriate for receiving guests at home in everyday life and on holidays..
  • Serving at home depends on the occasion, time of day, theme and menu, but in all cases, the purpose of serving is the same – to arrange the dishes and utensils so that it is convenient and pleasant for those who eat..

Based on this goal, the table setting rules were invented. In everyday life, you need to observe all these canons only on the most solemn occasions, but once you have mastered their essence, you can set the table with your own hands for any occasion – from a romantic dinner to a family celebration of the New Year.

Before you start, take a look at two sample table setting layouts. As you can see, setting a home festive table for guests is much easier than for an official reception.!

Table setting schemes

So how do you set the table? We have compiled step-by-step instructions in a specific sequence, describing each of the stages. In short, the most convenient procedure is as follows:

  • Tablecloth – Plates – Cutlery – Glasses – Napkins – Decor (vase of flowers, candles, theme decorations).

Keep in mind that a few days before the event, you need to resolve all organizational issues and prepare:

  • Determine the number of people, make a menu, tidy up the tablecloth, check the quantity and quality of napkins, dishes, appliances, think over the decor.

Wipe all dishes and utensils clean on the day of the party, and then start setting the table..

Step 1. First, lay the tablecloth

The main thing here is to make sure that the overhang of the tablecloth is no more and no less than 20-30 cm.The overhang will look ugly in shorter time, and longer – uncomfortable for those sitting at the table.

As for the color, you can choose either a win-win and traditional white tablecloth, or lay any option you like, supplement it with paths and bed covers as shown in the photo.

White tablecloth with bed covers

And here are examples of festive serving at home and without a tablecloth at all.

Serving options without a tablecloth

Step 2. Lay out the plates

This part of the “serving” theory will be the broadest. After all, the composition and combination of plates depends on the planned menu, the number of guests and the scale of the holiday..

According to the classical rules of table setting, several plates can be relied on for one person:

  • Substitute large plate (serving) – for a daytime and everyday table, it is not required, also some serving styles (for example, rustic) allow its absence. The photo below shows examples of serving with and without a substitute plate..

Serving with and without a platter

Also Needed: Medium (Diner), Small (Patty or Dessert), and Deep Soup Bowl.

  • According to the canon, the type of deep plate depends on the type of soup. For a thick one, choose a wide one (photo on the left), for a light broth or cream soup – a bowl with or without handles (photo on the right). But this is exactly the rule that can be completely neglected..

Types of soup bowls

Scheme of a festive serving at home

As for the arrangement of the plates, snack or deep plates are placed on the substitution plates, dessert and / or salad plates are placed on the left as shown in the picture on the right. This place can also contain a tea pair, a pie plate or, for example, a bowl for eggs on the occasion of Easter. The photo below shows the options for the festive table setting and the composition of the plates..

Examples of festive serving at home

  • Plates should be placed at a distance of 1.5-2 cm from the edge of the table and at the same distance from each other;
  • To prevent the snack plate from sliding on the stand, you need to put a paper or textile napkin between them as shown in the photo below.

Serving plates

Everyday table setting

Step 3. Putting the cutlery

Now we proceed to the layout of the devices. They are placed on the sides according to the number of dish changes (concave side to the table):

  • Knives and spoons are placed to the right of the plates;
  • Left – forks;
  • You can put a teaspoon on top.

Festive serving at home does not require a large number of special knives, forks and spoons. Most often, one knife, one fork and a couple of spoons (for soup and dessert) are enough.

Cutlery setting

But if necessary and desired, you can additionally serve the table with special forks, knives and spoons as shown in the following photo-selection.

Festive table setting

You can learn more about the rules for arranging devices in the next video tutorial..

Step 4. We put glasses, wine glasses, glasses

Next, behind the plates, a little to the right, we put the glasses from largest to smallest. Glasses for water, red / white wine, champagne and / or a glass for juice, spirits and shot glasses are displayed depending on the available drinks and preferences of the guests.

  • An example of arranging glasses for an informal serving An example of arranging glasses for an informal serving
  • An example of arranging glasses for an informal servingAn example of arranging glasses for an informal serving
  • Arrangement of glass on the New Year's tableArrangement of glass on the New Year’s table

Step 5. Serving napkins

For especially special occasions, napkins can be folded beautifully and artistically on a plate. For all other cases, there are no strict rules for serving napkins. They can be put in a glass for water, placed under a snack plate, tucked into rings, tied with a ribbon and decorated with decor..

Serving napkins

Serving napkins

If you are setting the table not for a holiday, but, for example, for dinner, then you can put napkins on the side of the plate under the forks as shown in the photo below.

An example of a daily serving

See also the material: 5 ideas and master classes for making crafts from napkins.

Step 6. The final touch – table decor

Table setting and decor

Hurray, almost done! It remains only to decorate the festive table with flowers in a vase and themed decorations. On New Year’s Eve, it can be cones, rosemary and spruce branches, on March 8 – flower buds, and on Easter – hares and pussy willow branches. The topic of table decor should be given more attention in a separate article, but for now we suggest taking a look at the photo of beautifully decorated tables in different themes and styles..

Decor and table setting options

Decor and table setting options

Daily serving options

Daily serving options

Easter table setting

Easter table setting

Rustic table setting

Rustic table setting

Table setting for a festive dinner

Table setting for a festive dinner

table setting rosemary

table setting rosemary

And a little about the arrangement of dishes

In addition to serving cutlery and utensils, you need to arrange the dishes themselves with food. Here is a small reminder on how to do it beautifully and correctly..

Arrangement rules

So that is all. We wish you successful practice and happy, sincere holidays.!