Table setting guidelines

Setting a table is not as difficult as it seems.  The basic rule is utensils are placed in the order of use, that is, from the outside in and forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right.  Knife blades are always placed with the cutting edge toward the plate.  The only fork ever placed on the right of a plate is the oyster fork.

Dessert spoons and forks are brought in just before dessert is served, however, they can also be placed with the table setting and they are placed horizontally above the dinner plate; the spoon on top with its handle facing to the right and the fork below with its handle facing left.

Not a solid rule but generally the napkin, either folded or in a napkin ring goes to the left of the fork or on the plate.  If folded in a square or rectangle, place the open corner nearest the plate.

The bread plate and butter knife are optional, depending on the type of meal being served.

A service plate which is a large plate, also called a charger can be used as an under plate for holding your dinner plate and other course plates.

Basic Place Setting

Starting at the top on the left is the optional bread plate and butter knife and to the right is the wine or water glass.  Next working from left to right is the napkin below the bread plate and butter knife followed by the dinner fork, dinner plate, dinner knife and finally either the soup or dessert spoon.

For more formal place settings, additional knives and forks are added as well as additional glasses.

Always ensure that your dinner table is neatly set and rather have fewer items on the table as opposed to an overfull table with flower arrangements that are intrusive, also hindering other crockery being placed on the table.

If using flower arrangements, keep them below eye level and if using candles, preferably have the flame above eye level or alternatively use tea lights.