Setting a table and planning seating for a formal or informal dinner contributes to the success of the occasion. The dining experience in enhanced by the presentation of the food and the company in which one eats. If serving a buffet, make sure the tables are placed for easy access by all the guests. When planning seating, start by preparing place cards with the guests’ names. Draw a diagram of the seating area and work from there. By tradition, married couples are not seated together. Seat one of the hosts for easy access to the kitchen or serving area with low maintenance guests on either side. If there are multiple hosts, spread them about the table(s). When arranging seating, consider putting people with common interests together. Make sure that all guests have been introduced, especially if they are seated close together.
Table settings depend on the menu and whether the occasion is formal or informal. The arrangement of silverware, plates and crystal is pretty standard. Forks are placed at the left (the ones to be used first are placed on the outside), knives and spoons are on the right. The sharp side of the knife is turned toward the plate. The dinner plate is placed at the bottom and the salad or soup plate rests on top of it. They are removed as the diner finishes. Bread and butter plates are optional and are placed on the diagonal left of the dinner place. They can also be used for garbage. The water glass is placed on the right at the tip of the dinner knife. Wine glasses are placed in a diagonal with the first wine served near the guest’s right hand. The napkin is folded in a rectangle and placed on the plate or to the far left of the forks.
Tomorrow, Dining Etiquette. Rita Bay