Have you ever been to a plated event, sit down at the table and just stare? Well if you are like me, even though I am in the industry, I still get overwhelmed by the amount of utensils that is required for a proper place setting. And time after time I find myself referencing The "Unskinable" Molly Brown, from Titanic, "Just start from the outside and work your way in". Cheesy, I know, but the truth none the less. As it turns out Ms. Brown isn't really that far off.
As I was perusing through my daily dose of wedding and lifestyle blogs I stumbled upon this great article from Brides Magazine entitled "A Quick Guide to Properly Setting Your Reception Table". I was so happy to finally have a clear visual and explanation of what exactly all of those forks, spoons and plates mean. And I was even more excited that this could apply to more than just wedding receptions. Really any catered function, event or banquet will have this traditional set up, and when it comes to table etiquette it is great knowledge to have.
Below is the layout from Brides Magazine. This highlights a traditional three course meal arrangement. This is the most typical type of format and usually includes a salad course, entree and dessert.
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Everything should be arranged in the order you use it, from the outside in as you work toward the plate as the meal proceeds. (Just like Ms. Brown said, haha)
- Flanking the plates and starting on the far left, it's the salad fork and dinner fork; on the far right, it's the soup spoon and dinner knife, with the cutting edge facing inward.
- The dessert fork and coffee spoon lie above the plates, horizontally (the fork tines should face right and the bowl of the spoon should face left); if you're using place cards, they should be positioned above these utensils.
- The bread-and-butter plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife resting across the plate, blade facing down.
- Stemware should be placed above the soup spoon and dinner knife, with the water goblet to the left of the wine glass.
- If you're planning to serve coffee with dessert, the cup and saucer are placed directly above and to the right of the knife and spoon.
- Lastly, the napkin can be placed on top of the plate or to the left of the forks.