Table Arrangement 101: Setting a Formal Table at Home

You have been to countless of restaurants in your area and you are still amazed every time you see a beautifully set dining table. Then you wondered if you could do one at your very own home for the members of the family to feel and appreciate or for some guests who will be coming over, however you are not sure about where to start or what to do in order to come up with something that closely resembles to the ones you observed in many restaurants you’ve dine at. Or simply all the restaurants you’ve been did not provide you a clear pattern for you to follow as you see unique arrangement in every encounter.

Well, it’s basically easy to set a formal table and all you need to remember is to avoid a setup that leads to unwanted scenario or experience. Let’s take a look at what we can do to make certain of that.

Watch for the blocking

You ultimately want a table setup where everyone can see each other without a problem. However, with too much table decor, especially the ones that block the eyesight from seeing the person across the table, things might actually feel ugly than it looks. For instance, you want the flowers low, so it does not make a challenge to see one another on the table.

Less is definitely more

You don’t want an arrangement where everything actually appears crowded on the table. They say simplicity is beauty; this is also true for setting up a formal table. The key is to define the menu first, so you know which utensils you need and those you don’t. You could also try creative placements of things to save space, which is especially important when you only have a limited table to get the setup done.

Put the extras where needed

If you are working for a banquet type of arrangement, be mindful of the extras as they can possibly be placed where they should not be. For instance, the coffee cup and saucer may make its way to the left, but they are actually more appropriately placed to the right of the wine glass. Other extras you may need and should be conscious about the placement includes soup spoon, champagne flute and sherry glasses.

Control who sits where

Is it going to be a dinner party you are working a formal table setup for? You probably want everyone pre-arranged, so when one sits where doesn’t get in the way and mess up the consistency of your dining setup. In this regard, making use of place cards may actually be necessary. Aside from it adds a formal touch; it also allows you to creatively dictate the order of the heads on the table.

Napkin treatments

You probably have noticed that the napkins were intriguingly positioned with creativity in areas on the table where you have not thought it can be placed. Props to those table setters, but the napkins should always go to the left of the plate, not draped over the back of the chair or in the water glass, which you probably have seen countless times. You can do a napkin art however you wish, but put it to the left or, for presentation and space optimization purposes, in the center of the plate.

Plan the menu first

The way for you to have the arrangement properly done is to actually learn first what there is you are working a setup for. Your menu basically dictates where you place what and what you put over which. For instance, a soup may be served first, in which case it might feel handy and a space saver if the soup bowls go on top of the empty dinner plates.

First things first

It’s obvious that the setup starts with a tablecloth (white is recommended), runner or placemats everything after that needs to go in chronological order and in the right positioning. If you are not sure which follows what, take this order: dinner plate (center), soup bowl (center, on top of dinner plate), napkin (left), butter plate and knife (forward left), water, white wine and red wine glasses (in order, forward right), fish, dinner and salad forks (in order, left, in between napkin and dinner plate), steak and dinner knives (in order, right), soup spoon (right, after knives) and dessert fork/spoon (forward center).

There you have it. If you feel it’s a lot easier to get yourself dressed and go somewhere where you and your family or guests can sit back, relax and enjoy a fine dinner, try Charlie’s Bistro and Bar in Doral, but only if you live by the area or cool with hitting the road to the get to this lakeside fine dining restaurant.


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