Q:

What is the proper way to set a table for formal dining occasions?

A:

Quick Answer

The classic rule of thumb for utensils is to place them so that guests work from the outside in as the meal progresses. Glasses are placed to the upper right of the plate and the bread and butter plate on the left.

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What is the proper way to set a table for formal dining occasions?
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Full Answer

Unlike a traditional five-piece place setting, a formal place setting can have as many as many as 15 pieces. The central piece of a formal place setting is the dinner plate with the napkin placed on top.

The forks are placed to the left of the dinner plate. The salad, dinner and fish forks are placed in the order in which they are to be used, from outside in. The fish fork is only placed if fish is on the menu.

To the right of the plate are the spoons and knives. A soup spoon is placed in front of the dinner knife if there is a soup course. If there is a fish course, the fish knife is placed to the right of the dinner knife.

At the upper left of the plate belongs the bread-and-butter plate with the bread knife on top. To the upper right of the dinner plate is placed a water glass and a wine glass if wine is being served. If both red and white wine are being served, there red and white glasses respectively. As with the silverware, glasses should be placed in the order in which the beverages are served.

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