HOW TO SET A FORMAL DINNER TABLE:
"Special occasions require a formal table setting and once you understand a few basics, you can create your own place settings with confidence and ease."
Step 1. Decide what courses you are going to serve. A five or seven course meal is typical for a formal dinner, although you can create your own variation.
Step 2. Select your plates, glassware and cutlery prior to setting your table, and any nice napkins and table linen.
Step 3. Setting your table.
The first plate put onto the table is called a charger, with another smaller plate being added on top if you are serving soup. The next plate is the bread and butter plate, placed on the left and a little up from the charger. Your napkin can sit below this plate or be placed on top of the charger. *The Charger is usually removed after the soup and following course has finished, allowing for main courses to be served.
Step 4. Setting your cutlery.
Place your cutlery so that it matches each of your courses. On the left are the forks and on the right, the knives and soupspoon. When setting work from the inside out. Then while dining, utensils are used from outside (small knives, forks, spoons) to the inside (larger cutlery) As each course is cleared so to are the utensils. The dessert spoon and small fork (optional) sit above the main plate horizontally.
Step 5. Setting your glassware.
Your glassware will vary depending on what you are serving with dinner. There is however at least a water glass and a wine glass, the water glass sit’s directly above the knife and the wine glass is to the upper slight right of that. In most place settings there will be another wine glass (white/red) placed between the water and first glass. In some circumstances you might also have a champagne glass. Place it just below the wine glass.
Towards the end of the dinner when serving dessert and coffee, typically all glasses are removed except the water glass. Coffee is served on the right below the water glass with a small teaspoon. *When dessert is completed all dishes should be removed leaving a bare table.
Choose low or very tall centerpieces, you don't want to obstruct guest’s views of each other, or their conversations.
Don't be afraid to mix and match, this also helps if you don't have enough matching tableware.
Most of all have fun, it may be a formal dinner yet it is always more enjoyable when everyone is comfortable.