Setting your table is about more than following rules—but everyone needs to start somewhere! If you're putting together a table setting, time-tested rules are in place to not just keep the table well organized when people come together. They also keep traditions going strong, which is, of course, so important on special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. We know it’s daunting to set a well-dressed table for a special occasion for the first time, so we put together a handy guide to get you there.
For Formal Occasions
When hosting a holiday dinner, special celebration, or a once-in-a-lifetime event, this setting elevates the table for moments you want to remember forever.
Step 1. Build your table from the bottom up, starting with the base layer of traditional dinnerware designed to let you fill up on full course meals. Stack dinner plates and salad or accent plates atop each other so that the smaller dishes get used first.
Step 2. Next, add your flatware: on the left, set out a salad fork (the smaller, appetizer-sized fork) and place fork (the larger, feast-sized fork). On the right, add a place knife and place spoon, with a teaspoon and dessert fork at the ready right above it all.
Step 3. Don’t forget to add the essential dinner napkins to every table setting. (As a side note: you can even add an extra layer of linens to your tablescape so you’ll have somewhere suitable to set side dishes and main courses.)
Step 5. You can’t entertain a tableful of guests without something for them to toast with. Make sure everyone’s place is set with a variety of drinkware to create a cohesive look that’s refreshingly functional. Use white and or red wine glasses depending on your drink selections and keep a water glass on hand for guests to cleanse their palate.
For Casual Table Settings
This setting is perfect for gatherings with friends, relaxed family dinners, or simply for every day. It could be brunch, having neighbors over to try your new favorite recipe, or just intimate moments you want to feel elevated.
Step 1. Here’s a little trick to keeping your table tidy: before you bring out the place settings make sure everyone has a dish for snacking on starters and app