Days are warm and evenings are cool—it’s time to gather friends for a hearty dinner. Once the meal is prepped, it’s time to set the stage for a fun evening. What are the rules for properly setting a table or does anything go?
For background, we went to the etiquette authority, Emily Post for the clear cut answers. What is the correct way to set a dining table? According to Emily Post:
Basic Table Setting: The fork and napkin on the left of the plate with the bread plate and butter knife above. Knife and spoon is on the right of the plate with water/wine goblet above.
Informal Table Setting: The salad fork and dinner fork on the left of the plate with the bread plate and butter knife above. Napkin is centered on plate. Knife, spoon and soup spoon is on the right of the plate with water/wine goblets above. Coffee/tea cup is placed on upper right of the plate.
Formal Table Setting: The salad fork, dinner fork and dessert fork are on the left of the plate with the bread plate and knife above. Napkin is centered on plate. Dinner knife, fish knife, spoon and pick is on the right of the plate with water, wine and spirits glasses above.
Like they say, the rules are meant to be broken. Here are some creative interpretations that are a delight to the eye. Some follow the traditional table setting rules, while others do not.
Elegant + Abundant: Stacked plates with gold rims, clusters of pressed glassware and two forks and knives without spoons. A feast for eyes.
Natural + Indigo: Blue and white plates with coordinating table linens. Bamboo stemware, ginger jar centerpieces and bamboo folding chairs add natural harmony to the design.
Vintage + Natural: Birch bark centerpiece with pressed green depression glass goblets and plates make this table so seductive for fall. The table designer employed formal table setting rules on this design to make it a showpiece.
Simplicity + Shine: Clean-lined white plates dotted with a single pansy flower, gold stemware and candlesticks create a quiet-calm at this table.
Abundant + Colorful: Fall is all about abundance. Fill your table with flowers, fruit, stemware and pottery at your next festive function. The informal design blends many colors and textures to perfection.
Serene + Orderly: Modern stacked plates are complemented by silverware bundles.
Rich + Decadent: Ruffled gold rimmed plates, silverware and peonies on a rustic tabletop create this decadent fall table setting.
Rules or no rules, be sure to host your guests this season with a table that represents the best of your personality.