If you have been given the task of laying the dinner table for a formal event, chances are that you may not know exactly where to place each utensil – especially when there seem to be so many different knives, forks, and spoons to deal with. However, it’s essential to ensure that each item is correctly placed before anyone sits down to eat – even something as seemingly insignificant as the salad fork.
Order of Use
A salad fork must always be laid on the table in the order that it’s going to be used. For example, if a salad is going to be served as the first course of a meal, it must be laid on the left side of the dinner fork. However, if the salad is going to be served after the main course and been eaten, the salad fork will need to be placed on the right side of the dinner fork. In some cases, a salad knife will also be required.
Setting a Formal Table
When setting a formal dinner table, the layout needs to be strictly symmetrical. The centerpiece must be placed in the exact middle of the table, along with an even amount of candlesticks (if being used). Place settings must also be spaced evenly around the table, with the flatware or silverware lined up and spaced equally apart from each other.
Everything being used on your formal table should be sparkling, clean, and crisp. While white linens are still considered to be the most formal option, there’s nothing wrong with opting for a little color or patterns when choosing a tablecloth, placemats, and/or a table runner.
When laying a tablecloth, be sure to check that it doesn’t hang too low – this can become uncomfortable for guests. On average, the drop of a tablecloth should be between 12 and 18 inches. Glasses should be placed on the right side of the table, above where the knives and spoons have been laid – these must also be placed in the order that they are going to be used.
Once you’ve learned how to lay a formal dining table, you’ll be able to wow your dinner guests with your skills and have them feel as though they’re enjoying a meal at a 5-star restaurant instead of in your dining room.