The table setting is one of the most crucial elements when eating outside. Its style sends a message to your guests and gives them an expectation about the kind of service they hope to receive. You can expect the service to be casual if there is an empty table without any place setting. Adding a placemat or silverware can go a long way toward elevating the dining experience. The rule of thumb is that the more items there are, the more formal the service is.
Moreover, these set the tone for wedding receptions, banquets, and events. The people behind the scenes in these settings utilize several setting styles to indicate whether the event is formal or casual.
Continue reading to learn more about the different kinds of table settings!
Informal Table Setting
This is one of the most common settings. You can spot this type of setup during simple weddings, family occasions, fast food, and dinner parties.
In this type of set-up, a napkin lies on the service plate alongside the menu card. On the left side, the dinner fork is located on the immediate left of the plate, and the salad fork is on the outer edge. On the other hand, the soup spoon, salad knife, and dinner knife start from the outer edge of the table on the right side of the service plate.
You put your wine glasses, dessert teaspoon, and water glass on the top north of the service plate.
The Types of Table Setting
Formal Table Setting
This set-up is preferred for fine dining restaurants, corporate parties, weddings, etc. It is the most symmetrical of all the other table settings and requires the most utensils.
The middle of the table is the centerpiece. Meanwhile, a charger and service plate serve the salad, soup, etc. The table mats lie near the edge and are arranged in a straight line.
The salad fork, fish fork, and dinner fork are all placed on the left side of the charger. Meanwhile, it would help if you put the soups, salad knife, and dinner knife starting from the outer edge of the table.
The rest of the other utensils are on the top of the charger. These include the butter knife and plate, dessert spoon and fork, glasses, etc.
The basic table setting is the one you can go to if you are eating in more informal settings – more informal than the usual ones where you can utilize a casual set-up. Occasions like pizza night and a solo meal usually fall under this category!
You’ll need a simple, woven placemat for a basic table setting. Your plate will be in the middle of the placemat, while a folded napkin is supposed to go on the left side of the plate. On the right of the plate, you need to top the napkin with a dinner fork while your dinner knife is on the right of the plate. You can finish off with a water glass above the knife.
There may inevitably be occasions when there are too many guests to sit at one table. Instead, a great way to make do is with a buffet style. When setting up the buffet table, you must consider the traffic flow.
You have to set the food and drinks on separate tables so that you can refrain from traffic jams.
The hottest plates should be first, and the end plates should be the coldest ones. You can also level the dishes – cake stands and serving dishes atop. It is also better to organize the dishes so that your guests know if the food suits their preferences and dietary restrictions.
Formal five-course feasts are rare occasions. They contain soup, salad, fish, main course, and dessert. In a five-course table set-up, you usually defer to the instructions on the formal table settings. The difference between formal table settings and five-course table settings is the inclusion of white wine glasses in front of champagne flutes. Meanwhile, red wine glasses are behind red wine glasses. The knives for the fish fork are placed between the diner and the salad fork. On the other hand, the fish knives are in the middle of the dinner knife and the soup spoon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the basic rules for setting a table?
The usual rule for setting a place is to place the fork to the left of the meal plate. On the right side, you put your knife and spoon on the right. Meanwhile, your water glass should be above your knife. The napkins can go under the pork or on the table if the setting is informal.
Why are forks placed on the left?
You usually place the fork on the left because of historical reasons. Historically, the knife was used to put the food in the user’s mouth. The fork is traditionally held by the right hand, with the fork on the left.
What are the three components of a place setting?
In a place setting, the three components are the dinnerware, flatware, and glassware. Dinnerware pertains to the wares used to serve the food, such as cups, bowls, saucers, platters, and bowls. Meanwhile, flatware consists of the utensils you use to serve food – steak knives, dinner forks, and tablespoons. On the other hand, glassware pertains to the wares that hold the beverages.
Why do we need to be familiar with different types of table settings?
We need to be familiar with the different types of table settings because table settings enhance the experience value of food and family interaction during mealtime.
Moreover, being familiar with different table settings can help prevent embarrassment in special or formal events where the tableware differs from what you usually use.
What are the five (5) types of table settings?
- The informal table set-up
- The formal table set-up.
- The basic table set-up.
- Buffet table set-up.
- Five-course table set-up.
What side does the fork go on?
Forks always go on the left side of the plate, and knives and spoons are always placed on the right side. They are placed above the plate if you provide a dessert spoon and fork.
Knowing the different types of settings is a crucial skill to learn. It prevents you from embarrassing yourself and guides you on behaving at the dinner table when you are out with your family and friends. By acting appropriately, you have more chances of enjoying yourself during meals outside.
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