Anybody and everyone can throw a party. It doesn't really require a special skill. However, it is laying the table that sets the mood and shows the hosts' efforts and etiquette of hosting a party.
While dining at the finest hotel, you must have seen a table that is properly laid out for you. It creates the impression of elegance and fineness and assures you that your money and time are well utilized, by choosing the particular place to dine at. Making your guest feel special, cared for and looked after, is the whole aim of learning the etiquette for proper table setting.
Everyday Table Setting
The simplest technique for properly setting a table is 'FORKS'. This is an acronym is 'F' for forks to the left, 'O' (shape of the) plate in the center, 'K' for knives to the right, and 'S' for spoons, which will be placed after the knives. FORKS was just to give you a technique to remember the etiquette in the simplest way. Next, on the top left corner, place the bread and butter, and on the top right corner place the drinks. The blades of the knife, have to face the plate and the napkin will be placed, next to the fork on the left.
Informal Table Setting
In an informal dinner or lunch, there are four courses. So let's see, how to set a proper table for a four course, informal meal. The plate, which is the most important part of a dinner table, has to placed first, right in front of the person. Next to it, on the left hand sides are two forks, one smaller and one taller. The taller one, will be placed first, closer to the plate and the smaller one will be placed after that. The smaller fork is used to eat appetizers and the taller one is used to have the main course. Hence, they are arranged in the order of the need. Fold the napkin in a napkin ring and place it either in the center of the dinner plate or to the left of the forks. On the immediate right hand side, place a dinner knife, with the blade facing the plate. Then place the spoon, again to the right, with the dessert spoon to the immediate right of the knife and the soup spoon next to it. Again, the spoons will be placed in the order of the need. Glasses for drinking water, juice or an alcoholic beverage, will be placed on the top most right corner, above the knives and spoons. If you are serving salad, place the salad plate next to the forks. Again, as mentioned earlier, place the bread and butter platter above the forks. Place the dessert spoon and fork on the right top corner, if you are serving the dessert, immediately.
Formal Table Setting
The menu usually decides the table setting. A large plate, known as the charger, will serve as the under plate for the rest of the plates. This plate will be exchanged, when the entrée is served. By now you know the placement of forks, knives and the spoons. The fish fork will be placed farthest to the right. The number of forks and knives will depend on the number of courses. The fish knife will be to the right of the dinner knife, with the soup spoon next to it and the oyster fork next to it. The glasses will be placed above the knives and spoons in the order of water goblet first, next to (towards the outer side of layout) a champagne flute, then a wine glass, and a sherry glass. To end the layout, place a napkin, set in a napkin ring on top of the charger.
Setting your dinner table as per the etiquette is the basic step towards making your dinner disciplined. A well laid table looks inviting and encouraging to enjoy a hearty meal.