Have you ever taken a seat at a lovely table only to question which wine glass belongs to you? Might there also have been so many pieces of silverware that you didn’t know where to begin? You are not alone!
This very common experience is what prompted my own family’s tradition of setting a nice table for friends and family. Maybe that’s why, of all my etiquette and image programs, dining etiquette is my favorite
Thanks to Kaycee McKenzie’s invitation to be a guest blogger on http://www.joyfultable.com, I get to have extra fun sharing my tips on navigating the place setting for the informal meal. If we understand how to navigate casual dining, we can confidently navigate any formal gala.
The Courses Tell Us What to Expect. In the photo below, I placed enough silverware for a two course meal, which starts with a bowl or cup of soup, followed by an entrée. If I were serving more courses, I’d simply add more silverware. Some restaurants or hosts will set out a basic place setting and then bring additional silverware to the table as courses are being served. Either way is acceptable.
Work From the Outside In. From the far left and the far right, easily work your way to your plate. You can see that on the far right side of my place setting, I have a spoon set to the outside of the knife. This indicates soup will be served first. If I had a salad fork to the left of my dinner fork, it would be a toss-up as to what will be served first.
Bread Plate Stays to the Left. The bread plate always stays to the left side of the place setting. Avoid moving it to the center of your place setting because at some point your table conversation will be interrupted when you are asked by a wait staff to kindly put your bread plate back to allow your plated course to be served.
Glasses Stay to the Right. If you take your right hand and form an “OK” sign, look how the “OK” sign now looks like a lower case letter “d.” “Little “d” stands for “drink” and drink glasses are always found on the right side of a place setting.
The Napkin Has its Place Too. Napkins can be found in the center or at the left side of a place setting. They can also found nestled inside a glass. The most important etiquette tip to remember about a napkin is to use it and then leave it resting in your lap until it’s time to leave the table.
I hope I’ve given you a new table topic to enjoy sharing with others. Please contact me with questions and opportunities for us to help make dining etiquette a favorite topic for everyone!
Lastly, I am an amateur photographer. Thank you for bearing with me on my not-so-perfect photos.
Tiffany Nielsen, CEO of Premier Etiquette, is a public speaker, business etiquette and children’s manners consultant, and image stylist!