Table Setting Theory and Practice in 6 Steps

A proper serving is always a sign of attention to guests, a way to create a festive atmosphere, as well as an indicator of the artistic taste of the hostess.

  • In this material 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 appliances so that it is convenient and pleasant to eat.

Based on this goal, table setting rules were invented. In everyday life, you must observe all these canons only in the most solemn occasions, but once you have learned their essence, you can set the table yourself for any occasion from a romantic dinner to a family New Year’s celebration.

Before you begin, take a look at two sample table layout schemes. As you can see, it is much easier to set up a home holiday table for guests than at an official reception!

So how to set the table? We made a step-by-step instruction in a certain sequence, describing each of the steps. In short, the most convenient procedure is as follows:

  • Tablecloth;
  • Plates;
  • Cutlery;
  • Glasses;
  • Napkins;
  • Decor (a vase of flowers, candles, themed decorations).

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

  • Decide on the number of persons, draw up a menu, tidy up the tablecloth, check the quantity and quality of napkins, dishes, appliances, think over the decor.

On the day of the reception, wipe all dishes and utensils clean, and then proceed to set the table.

1. First, we make a 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 uglier shorter and longer inconvenient 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 sidekicks.

2. Plates layout

This part of the “serving” theory will be the most extensive. After all, the composition and combination of plates depending on the planned menu, the number of guests and the scale of the holiday.
According to the classic table setting rules, several plates can rely on one person:

  • Substitution large plate (serving) for the day and everyday table it is not required, also some serving styles (for example, rustic) allow its absence.

May also be needed: medium (snack), small (pie or dessert) and a deep plate for soup.

  • According to the canon, the appearance of the deep plate depends on the type of soup. For thick choose a wide, for a light broth or cream soup a bowl with or without handles. But this is just that rule, which can be completely neglected.

As for the arrangement of 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 may also contain a tea pair, a pie plate or, for example, a bowl for eggs on the occasion of Easter.

  • 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;
  • So that the snack plate does not slip on the counter, between them you need to put a paper or textile napkin as shown in the photo below.

3. Put the cutlery

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

  • To the right of the plates are knives and spoons;
  • On the left are forks;
  • You can put a teaspoon on top.

Festive table setting 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.

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

4. Put glasses, wine glasses, glasses

Next, put the glasses from larger to smaller behind the plates a little to the right.

Depending on the available drinks and preferences of the guests, glasses for water, red/white wine, champagne and/or a glass for juice, strong drinks and a glass are displayed.

5. Serve the 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, put under a snack plate, put into rings, tie with a ribbon and decorate.

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

6. The finishing touch table decor

Hooray, almost done! It remains only to decorate the festive table with flowers in a vase and thematic decorations. On New Year’s day, it can be cones, rosemary and fir branches, on March 8 flower buds, and on Easter hares and pussy-willow branches. The topic of table decor should be paid more attention in a separate article, but for now, we offer a look at the photos of beautifully decorated tables in different themes and styles.