You have chosen and bought, or had as a gift, the dinnerware service of your dreams, so you are now ready for your first dinner party.
We will now learn how to set a table for eight people, as that is the amount of place settings in most dinnerware sets…also not too many to cook for at your very first attempt at entertaining guests.
First, make sure your table will seat eight comfortably.
Your table may have an extra leaf or section that can be pulled out or added and this is ideal. If you need to put two tables together, make sure that they are exactly the same height, you do not want accidents with spills due to uneven levels!
Try to ensure that the chairs are spaced evenly so that no one will have table legs to contend with, especially if you have used two tables.
It is advisable to put a heatproof cloth underneath your chosen tablecloth if you are using one.
If you are not using a tablecloth, and have a beautiful polished finish to your table put a strip down the centre, or place mats to set hot dishes on.
Place the place mat or charger, if you have them, in each place on the table and place the dinner plate on it.
Place the knives to the right of the plate with the blade facings in towards the plate.
The largest dinner knife will be closest to the plate and always to the right.
The starter or entrée knife is placed next to it, unless soup is also being served after the entrée, in which case it will be on the outside of the soup spoon.
Tip for remembering which side knives and forks should be placed: fork, four letters as in left: knife, five letters as in right.
The forks are placed in the same way to the left of the place setting.
The soupspoon, if having a soup course, is placed next to the outside knife on the right.
If a course is being served before the soup, the spoon will be the second implement in on the right.
Tip: always start from the outer item of cutlery and works inwards.
Dessert cutlery is placed above the plate, the handle of the spoon facing to the right, the handle to the dessert fork facing left.
If other courses are being served, for instance a fish course after the soup, the fish knife and fork will be placed next to the main dinner knife and fork, so second in from the plate.
Decide how you want to present your napkins.
They can be sculpted into shapes and set on the plate, or if you have matching table rings in your dinnerware set, roll them and place them in the rings then place on the plate.
However, if the starter is already on the plate position it next to the forks.
Place the bread plate to the left of the forks with the butter knife laid across it.
The glasses are placed above the knives, the water glass closest with the rest of the selection, flutes for champagne, white wine glass, red wine glass and finally the dessert wine or liqueur glass at the far right.
Tip. Any table decoration used, if there is room, should be low level so that guests can all see each other easily without having to peer around flowers or greenery.
Finally, try to seat your guests male and female consecutively if your numbers are even, with partners opposite rather than next to each other.
Place yourself in the seat nearest to the kitchen, for easy access between courses.
Follow these quite simple steps on how to set a table and then forget about it, simply sit and enjoy your first dinner party with friends.