The Basics

Wedgwood Tabletop Designs by Vera Wang Courtesy of Vera Wang

First off, there are two different ways to properly set a table:  formal and informal. Whether dining out at a restaurant,  dining in another’s home, or hosting guests, there are things you should expect as well as know as it pertains to table settings. For starters,  just in case you have never been properly informed,  the forks, knives, and spoons are placed on the side in which you are required to hold them when cutting and eating. For proper etiquette this means the forks go on the left and the knife and spoons on the right.

Informal Place Setting

Informal Place Setting

Informal is the easiest of the two because it involves the least amount of tableware. There is less tableware involved because there are less courses that are served. Informal is considered the basic table setting, and one that you probably already set each night for supper at home. The setting has the two forks placed to the left: the salad fork on the outside and the dinner fork closest to the plate. The knife is placed on the right closest to the plate, followed by the dinner and soup spoons.

Fiesta Dinnerware (flamingo)

Silver Superstore offers casual dining tableware at great low prices. For silverware check out our selection of  Oneida products. Oneida offers some great, low price casual flatware dinner sets such as Icarus, Calm, Camlynn, or Tuscany which has a unique design all at reasonable prices. Silver Superstore also offers a full line of casual dinnerware from Noritake, among other manufacturers.

Formal Place Setting

Formal Place Setting

A formal place setting can be a little more daunting to set up, as it requires more pieces of tableware for all the courses. A meal will require a formal place setting and consist of salad, bread, soup, drinks, and a main course with dessert and coffee following. Similar to the informal place setting the forks are placed on the left of the dinner plate, knives and spoons go on the right. Knives should be placed with their cutting-edge towards the dinner plate, except the butter knife which should be laid flat.

Vera Lace China

Silver Superstore offers great formal dining tableware at low prices. For silverware check out patterns from Gorham. Gorham offers a nice selection of  lower priced sterling silver flatware dinner sets such as Buttercup, ChantillyFairfax, or La Scala. There are also many stainless patterns at low prices that are still very formal.  Lenox and Vera Wang are a couple other manufacturers that offer formal dinnerware and china.


Grande City Cake Servers

Dessert silverware can be placed at the table setting if you wish, or brought out just before dessert arrives. The dessert fork and/or spoon should be centered above and parallel to the dinner plate. Your dessert spoon or fork can be moved to the left side of your place setting as soon as your dinner plate is removed. Silver Superstore’s Fortessa manufacturer offers a selection of dessert flatware at great prices such as Bistro, ApolloCaviar or Grand City.

Proper Usage and Finishing Etiquette

Never forget start from the outside and work your way in towards the dinner plate. After a course is complete you or the server will remove the silverware that is no longer be required. The proper way to let your server know that you have completed a meal is to place your silverware at a 4:00 to 10:00 angle with the knife blade facing you.

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