Now that you’ve mastered the basic everyday dining table setting, and the informal table setting, you’re ready to take on the formal dinner table setting. This would be a great skill to pick up if you’re planning on hosting an elegant dinner party with three-courses.
Charger plates are usually used in formal dinner table settings. A charger is a large presentation plate that not only enhances the overall visual aesthetic of a setting, it also has a functional aspect. Charger plates catch pieces of spilt food, and prevent spills that would otherwise stain the tablecloth. Chargers also help to retain the heat in tableware since they are placed under plates and bowls.
There are quite a few more elements that come into play when it comes to setting a formal dinner table setting.
What you’ll need:
- A tablecloth
- Table napkins
- Charger plates
- Dinner plates
- Salad plates
- Bread plates
- Soup bowl (if you’re serving soup)
- Salad forks
- Dinner forks
- Soup spoons
- Dessert spoons
- Butter knives
- Dinner knives
- Salad knives
- Water glasses
- Red wine glasses
- White wine glasses
- Cup and saucer for post-dinner coffee or tea
Setting the table:
- Cover the table with a tablecloth (ironed if required).
- Place a charger at each seat
- Position a salad plate and a soup bowl on the charger in the middle of each setting.
- To the left of the charger: Place the bread plate and position the butter knife on the plate with the handle facing right. Working from the inside out, place the salad fork and dinner fork
- To the right of the charger: Working again from the inside out, place the dinner knife, salad knife, and soup spoon. Leave about a thumb space between the cutlery, and align the bottoms with the bottom of the charger.
- Place the table napkin next to the charger
- Directly above the charger, place a dessert spoon with the handle pointing to the right. If you’re using a tablecard, place it above the dessert spoon.
- Directly above the knives, place the water glass.
- Wine glasses are set from the right to the left in the order used. To the right of the water glass and about three-fourths of an inch downward, place the white wine glass.
- Place the coffee cup and saucer at about the 5pm position on a clock face below the white wine glass.
- Place the red wine glass goes to the right of and just a little above the white wine glass. White wine is for the first course on the outside, whilst the red wine is next for your entrée.
- When the main course is served, remove the charger in place of the dinner plate. Or place a dinner plate on top of the charger. Both plates are to be removed when dessert is served.