1. Remember the acronym "FORKS"
This gem is courtesy of the great Emily Post.
Left to right: F for fork, O as the shape of the plate, K for knife, and S for spoons. It's not a perfect acronym, since you have to drop the "R," but it's an easy way to get things going in the right direction.
2. Bread and butter vs drinks
Where do these go in relation to the rest of the place setting?
Another quick memory strategy from Emily herself: touch the tips of your index finger to the tips of your thumb on both hands, making a "b" with your left hand and a "d" with your right hand. The bread and butter plate goes to the left, the drinks to the right! Voilà!
3. Knife blades always face the plate
You don't want someone accidentally bumping the sharp edge. And the sharp edge is going toward the plate when in use, so it should face toward the plate when not in use.
4. Where does the napkin go?
Place your napkins either to the left of the fork or on the plate. In an informal place setting, it is also permissible to fold a napkin under your forks.
5. Never set the table with utensils you won't use
No salad? No salad fork. No soup? No soup spoon.
6. Choose the right setting
An informal place setting should be used for three or fewer courses (Emily Post defines this as soup, salad/first course, entree, and dessert).
A formal place setting should be used for a meal with more than three courses.
7. What about glassware?
When hosting a formal dinner, you can have up to five glasses. Remember, they go to the right (above the knife and spoons). Your glasses should be placed in the order used, but when using more than three glasses, the smaller ones can be placed up front. If you have any glasses that are to be used with a particular coarse, they should be removed when that course is finished.
8. The "outside in" thing is true
You'll want to set your utensils in order of use, starting on the outside and working in.
The traditional example: the smaller salad fork goes to the far left, with the larger dinner fork on the right.
Or consider spoons: if the soup course is being served first, place the soup spoon on the far right, with the dessert/coffee spoon to its left.
9. Be creative!
Place settings are a great way to tie the evening together and there are so many fun options. Not sure where to get started? Check out one of these!
SHARE with your friends and family that love to entertain!