Setting the Table for a Special Dinner

Setting the table for a special dinner isn’t as difficult as it may initially seem.

We do not want to intimidate guests by being too formal, yet some rules do apply. The following diagram shows a full-blown table setting for a fancy dinner party. Adjust it as necessary to fit your menu.

Remember to make your guests as comfortable as you can. Don’t put out utensils that won’t ever be used. If your menu doesn’t include anything that would be eaten with a teaspoon, don’t put teaspoons on the table. If you’re planning to serve coffee and dessert afterward, bring out the teaspoons then.


  1. Napkin
  2. Salad fork
  3. Dinner fork
  4. Dessert fork
  5. Bread-and-butter plate,
    with spreader
  6. Dinner plate
  7. Dinner knife
  1. Teaspoon
  2. Teaspoon
  3. Soup spoon
  4. Cocktail fork
  5. Water glass
  6. Red-wine glass
  7. White-wine glass
  8. Coffee cup and saucer*

* For an informal meal, include the coffee cup and saucer with the table setting. Otherwise, bring them to the table with the dessert.


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There are many different

There are many different options when it comes to setting a dinner table, but most importantly it depends on the situation or the occasion. A step-by-step guide to the basics for setting a proper table.

This is a great way to teach

This is a great way to teach children of all ages how to set a proper table. My children used a diagram to learn to set a proper table. By learning to set them, they knew the proper way to use them. They thanked me when they went on to college or found themselves in formal dinner settings that would have otherwise been uncomfortable.