If you are having a catered wedding or event, where the responsibility for setting the tables is yours (most rental companies and caterers, will not setup your tables without an extra cost), this guide will be a big help to you.
The guide below will aid you in the correct placement of your silverware on your tables. It will also help you to decide how many utensils you need and how many to order from your rental company. The information below will make it easy to set a table correctly.
Below are a few different ways to set a table.
You have many ways to place them. You can fold them into different shapes and lay on top of the base plate, you can fold them and put under the base plate hanging down the side of the table, you can fold them like a pocket, in the event you are having a menu, to insert into the pocket or you are putting your silverware in the pocket. You may also put your napkin folded and placed under the forks on the left side of the plate or to the left of the forks folded.
How many and type of plates depends on what type of meal (sit down or buffet) will determine how many on each place setting. I will give you the way that most tables are set. You may also use a charger, which is a decorative plate placed underneath your dinner plate.
In the event you are having a sit down dinner, you will want to have a Charger, Salad Plate on top and if you are using a butter plate, it would be placed to above and to the left of the dinner plate, above the Forks. If you are having a buffet and the Dinner Plate is at your guests seat, you will place the Dinner Plate on the Charger, then the Salad Plate on top of the Dinner Plate and if using a Butter Plate that is placed to the left above the Forks. If you are having the Dinner Plates and Salad Plates at the Buffet, you would put the napkin where the plates would go.
The reasoning for placement of the silverware is what pieces you will use first, second, third and so on.
In the event you are using a pocket for your silverware, the fork should be on the far left, knife in the middle and spoon on the right side in the pocket. If you are having a butter knife and plate, you would lay the butter knife on the plate horizontally.
If you are doing a full table setup, it depends if you are using 5, 6, 7, 8 pieces of silverware. These are the most used settings, although you can have as many as 10 pieces on your table.
4 Pieces – Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Teaspoon – This is probably the most seen place setting of all. On the Left side of the plate would be Salad Fork on the outside and Dinner Fork next to the plate. Right side of the plate would be the Knife, Teaspoon
5 Pieces – Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Teaspoon, Dessert Spoon or Fork – Left side of the plate would be Salad Fork on the outside and Dinner Fork next to the plate. Right side of the plate would be the Knife, Teaspoon and above the plate will either be the dessert fork tongs face right and dessert spoon faces left. Another 5 piece setting could be Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Teaspoon, and Soup Spoon. In this setting, all pieces would be placed as above, except that the Soup Spoon would go on the outside of the right side.
6 Pieces – Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Soup Spoon, Butter Knife – Left side of the plate would be Salad Fork on the outside and Dinner Fork next to the plate. Right side of the plate would be the Knife, Teaspoon and on the bread plate is the Butter Knife
7 Pieces – Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Teaspoon, Soup Spoon (optional) Bread Knife (Optional), Dessert Spoon and Dessert Fork – Left side of the plate would be Salad Fork on the outside and Dinner Fork next to the plate. Right side of the plate would be the Knife, Teaspoon and Soup Spoon. Above the plate will be the dessert fork closest to the plate with the tongs facing right and dessert spoon faces left.
8 Pieces – Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Knife, Teaspoon, Soup Spoon, Dessert Spoon and Dessert Fork and Butter Knife – As you have read above all silverware would be placed as in the (7) place setting directions, except that the butter knife would be placed with point horizontal to the plate.
Here again, it depends on which glasses you are using. Some tables will only use a Water Glass and Wine Glass, others will use Water Glass, Wine Glass, and Champagne Glass or Water, White Wine, Red Wine and Champagne glass. The most used at a Wedding or Special Event would be Champagne, Water and Wine. There are two different manners of placement. One is straight across above the knife and some are in a triangular type shape.
Water Glass, Red Wine Glass and Champagne Glass and/or optional White Wine Glass – If you are placing in a straight line, in this setting the Water Glass is always above and slightly to the left of the knife. Then the Wine Glass would be to the right and placed slightly lower (towards the spoon) and the Champagne Glass would be on the end and placed slightly lower than the Wine Glass. They could also be placed in a triangle with the Water Glass being the Left Triangle Point, the Champagne Glass being the Top Tip and the Wine Glass being the bottom right point. In the event there is no Champagne, but there is a White Wine Glass, the White Wine Glass, would take the place of the Champagne Glass.
Water Glass, Red Wine Glass, White Wine Glass and Champagne Glass – in this setting the Water Glass is always above and slightly to the left of the knife. Then the Champagne Glass would be place to the right and higher than the Water Glass. The Red Wine Glass would be horizontal from the Water Glass and then the White Wine Glass would be slightly to the left and down from the Red Wine Glass.
Coffee Cup and Saucer
These should be placed to the right of the plate and above and to the right of the Teaspoon or Soup Spoon
There are many more ways to set a table. These examples are just some of the placements I have seen, both as a waitress in a fine dining establishment and now as a Wedding Planner.