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How to Set an Informal Dinner Table

How to Set an Informal Dinner Table

How to Set an Informal Dinner Table

Tips for Setting an Informal Table:

  • Only use the silver that will be needed.
  • Remember to make all shared tools, like salt and pepper, accessible to everyone.
  • Rules are less formal than they used to be, of course, but some traditions are based on good sense.

How to Set an Informal Table:

  1. Put your flat or silverware an inch or so from table's edge at settings equidistant to each other.
  2. Center napkin on the dinner plate or fold it to the left of the forks.
  3. Traditionally, silver which will be needed first is set farthest right and left to the plate.
  4. Place 2 forks to the left, first course on the outside, main course on the inside.
  5. Remember not to put out more than 3 forks, working your way from the outside set first course, then the fork for the course that follows next and so-on-and so-forth.
  6. Put two knives to the plate's right. The outside knife is used first.
  7. Soup spoons, if needed, are set on the table to the right of the knives.
  8. Only provide butter knives if you're putting out butter or bread plates to the 11:00 position.
  9. First course plate is simply replaced with main course plate (unless you're serving another course in between, in which case the plate for that course is set before first course).
  10. Your dessert spoon and fork are laid head to toe at dinner plate's top.
  11. Put the water glass at 2:00 position to dinner plate and any wineglasses to its right. The outside glass will be your champagne flute if champagne is to be served.


  • Accidents are usually the result of cramped quarters.
  • Huge centerpieces can block lines of communication.



Just one thought:

Dell C. from Del Mar, CA USA

Very good. Consider telling your guests: Karen has the mashed potatoes, she will pass them to her right, next she will pass the gravy, and then the turkey -both white meat and dark meat. These will all be nice & hot. Then comes everything else. Please serve yourself and pass to your right. Lots of foods and lots of fun. Don't be shy, ask for anything you want. Enjoy.

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