How To Set the Table for a Dinner Party

Planning to host a dinner party with your friends, neighbors, or colleagues? If so, you’ll need a nice tablescape to welcome your guests, set the mood, and of course, make the food look more appetizing. Whether it’s a table setting for a casual or formal event, we have you covered with our tips and tricks below.

Table Setting Basics

Setting your table for your everyday dinner? You only need a few things. These include a placemat, dinner plate, spoon, fork, knife, napkin, and water glass. Put your chosen placemat on the table. Make sure your dinner plate is in the middle of your placemat. Place the napkin on the plate’s left. Afterward, put your fork on the napkin.

Meanwhile, position the knife to the right of your plate. Keep it close to the plate with its blade pointing in. Then, it’s time to put your spoon to the knife’s right. Make sure to keep the dinner plate and the utensils’ bottoms level.

Next, put the water glass a bit above your dinner plate. For the napkin, you can either place it beneath the fork or on top of the dinner plate. Others, however, think that the latter will make the setting feel more formal.

How To Set a Formal Table

Every once in a while, you’ll want to invite your guests to a formal dinner party — the kind of vibe you get from fine-dining restaurants. Wondering how to host at home? Set a formal table first. You’ll need several pieces, like dinner plates, chargers, tablecloths, salad plates, bread plates, soup bowls, knives, salad forks, dinner forks, and more. It may sound overwhelming, but following the steps below can help you achieve a formal table setting:

  • Place a white or colored tablecloth on the table.
  • Put a charger or service plate for each seat. The dinner plate will only be available after the first course is finished.
  • Put the folded napkin on top of the plate.
  • To the left of the plate, put your forks. Starting from the closest to the charger going to the left, place the salad fork, dinner fork, and if needed, the fish fork.
  • To the right of your plate, keep the dinner knife closest to the charger. The fish knife should be beside it on the right.
  • To the right of the fish knife, put the soup spoon. If you’re serving shellfish, put the oyster fork to the right.
  • Place your glasses a couple of inches above the space between the dinner knife and charger and then to the right. These include a water goblet, white wine glass, red wine glass, or both, and champagne flute.
  • Position the bread plate on the top left several inches above the fork. Then, put a butter knife on top of your plate. It should be diagonal with the blade like a 10:00 PM clock face.

When setting a formal table, only place the items you need. For example, if you won’t be having oysters, red wine, or bread and butter, then the corresponding items shouldn’t be on the table.

How To Set a Casual Table

If you want to host a casual dinner party at home, you’ll need to know how to set a casual table. It’s almost the same as the basic table setting. However, the casual table setting includes a soup bowl and a dinner plate. Here are the steps:

  • Put your placemat on the table.
  • Place your dinner plate in the middle of your placemat.
  • Position your salad plate on top of your dinner plate.
  • If you have a soup course, put the soup bowl on top of your salad plate.
  • Place the napkin on the charger’s left.
  • To the plate’s left, put the fork on the napkin.
  • Then, on the plate’s right, keep the knife nearest to the plate and the spoon.
  • Put the water glass right above the knife.
  • Put the wine glass to the right and a bit above the water glass.

For the salt and pepper shakers, place them close to the center of your table. If you have a long and rectangular table, put them in each end’s middle.

Tips for Making Your Table Look Beautiful

Wondering how to make your table look gorgeous for you and your guests? First, relax and take note of the following:

  • Keep things in proportion: This means that the plates shouldn’t consume too much space, and the centerpiece must not be a speck on your table either. Make sure the elements are proportionate, including the dishware, decorations, and the table.
  • Decide on a color scheme: By picking a theme or color scheme, you’ll know what to include or exclude from your table. Make the colors complement each other. For example, pair neutral colors with bright ones. Allow one or two colors to shine while allowing others to disappear in the background slowly.
  • Do not overcrowd: If you want to put serving dishes on your table, then this is more important. You’ll want your guests to be comfortable while eating and chatting with other visitors.
  • Consider the season: You might not want to use spring flowers and pastels during fall. When it’s summertime, do not use dark colors or pine branches. By thinking of the season when setting your table, you’re making it more relatable and meaningful.
  • Consider renting a tablescape: If you have a party of over 12 guests, you probably need more plates and dishes. Consider adding a tablescape rental to your dining experience and enjoy a different look on your table. If you need assistance, please contact our Chefpost Experience Team, and we would be happy to help.

Setting the Mood With Decorations and Music

Setting the mood is crucial in ensuring a successful dinner party. Here are some tips for you to establish the right ambiance for the event:

  • Lighting: If you want an intimate type of dinner party, use candles or dim some of the overhead lights. If you’re hosting a larger and livelier party, go for brighter lights. For outdoor dinner parties, you can use fairy lights, patio string lights, and solar lanterns.
  • Flower arrangements: If you’re aiming for a more casual and brighter vibe, you can use daisies and sunflowers. For a more sophisticated look, choose lilies and roses.
  • Music: You can’t have the best dinner party without music. Set the tone of the event by creating a perfect playlist. Consider the genre that your guests may prefer. You’ll want the songs to match the theme of the party too. You won’t run out of choices regardless of if you choose modern or classic music.

Serving Food and Drinks at the Dinner Party

No dinner party is satisfying without food and drinks! Whether it’s a plated dinner or a buffet-type dinner, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough food for the guests. Serving must start to the right of the host. When dishing up food for your guests, use your left hand.

Want to skip the hassle of having to prepare all the food by yourself or with your family members? Hire a personal chef so you can focus on entertaining your guests, making yourself look gorgeous, and simply enjoying the night! At Chefpost, we have talented chefs who will give you and your guests the best culinary experience.

Regardless of the type of dinner party and cuisine that you want, your private chef from Chefpost will ensure a personalized and memorable experience for you.

Final Thoughts

To host a successful dinner party, you’ll need a nice and inspiring tablescape. Then, you can add more characters with some decorations and music. Of course, you shouldn’t forget the food and drinks. Save yourself from unnecessary stress, and get an exceptional personal chef from Chefpost. If you also need to rent a spectacular tablescape, please contact our Chefpost Experience Team, and we will help you coordinate your tablescape rental. We are your one-stop shop to host without the hassle. Check out our page to Book, Relax and Enjoy!