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How to Set a Table for a Formal Event

Sitting down for a meal with a group should be a special event. Even if it is just served on paper plates, you can still sit down to a clutter-free table with no cell phones and enjoy conversation with your friends and loved ones.

One of my biggest pet peeves of this day and age is cell phones at the table. Aside from the annoyance of these glowing buzzing boxes on a beautiful tablescape, they are draining the emotional connection and bond between humans.

That is why the first rule of my table is no cell phones. You can put them in a basket on the counter until the meal is over.

The second rule is you need manners at my table. Eating with your mouth closed, respecting the rest of the people around the table and helping to clean up after it’s over can all be filed under good manners.

The third and last rule is you need to express gratitude for the meal and those who provided it.

Expressing gratitude for your life and what you have before a meal can make your food taste even better.

Try it!

For special occasions like holidays or birthdays I always like to set the table properly even with included name tags. It always makes people smile and makes it feel different than an everyday dinner.

4 Different Ways You Can Set The Table

This helpful chart of table settings from the team at HowLongToCook.org shows 4 different ways you can set the table.

No matter who you are, you should know the basic way to set a table. This is the first thing I taught my kids to do so they could help out at dinner. In a basic table setting the fork always goes on the left on the napkin. The knife goes first on the right with the blade facing towards the plate and the spoon goes on the outside. This is an everyday setting you can use for dinner.

This chart goes into great detail for a more casual setting, which is what I prefer to use for my big events, and also more formal settings like 5 course meals.

how to set a table for dinner infographic

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Jessica Smith

Jessica is the author in charge of our website. Moreover, she takes care of all the back office and business administrative duties. Jessica is the mom of two adorable kids.

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