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Dinner parties: How to set the table

by Peggy Farber 09/12/2022

Close-up Photo of Formal Table Setting

If you’re planning to entertain guests for dinner, the question of table setting has likely already crossed your mind. Proper table setting might seem superfluous, but there are practical benefits to including more than just a dinner plate and salad plate.

If you’re interested in learning more about both casual and formal table setting for dinner, here are some guidelines to consider:

Informal table setting - Casual dining

Dinner parties typically have a more formal vibe than breakfasts and lunches. Sometimes, however, you might wish to set up a dinner table. Just be sure the set table is informal to maintain the casual atmosphere.

One way to accomplish this is to allow your guests to serve themselves. You can place the food at the front of the table, or at the center for everyone to eat around. Don’t worry about detailed silverware placement for a casual party - instead, make sure everybody has exactly what they need to enjoy the food.

Formal table setting - Multi-course dining 

The prospect of a formal dinner table setting might seem intimidating, especially for those without an expansive collection of tableware or utensils. However, even with a small stash of necessities, you can create an elegant ambiance.

If you plan a dinner with multiple courses, have a plate or utensil available for each one. For example, every place setting should have a soup spoon, salad fork, dinner fork and dessert spoon. Have two glasses at every table setting, one for water and the other for a festive beverage of choice.

Buffet layout ideas

If you’re hovering between formal and informal, you might find that a buffet style dinner party can be the best of both worlds. Buffet tables allow your guests to serve themselves at their own leisure, while also giving you the opportunity to show a formal, stylish flair.

The classic buffet layout typically consists of entrées and side dishes surrounding a decorative centerpiece. Drinks should be at one end of the table, or in a completely dedicated space. Make sure to include all the trimmings for formal table settings like bread and butter plates, soup spoons and sharp cutlery for meat.

Are you ready to plan your next dinner party? Keep these tips in mind when entertaining to strike the perfect balance for your evening.

About the Author

Peggy Farber

Hi, I'm Peggy Farber and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.