Ready. Set. Go.

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

You can ask 10 different Coordinators how they would set up a dinner table and I promise you will sit with 6 different ways of doing it. There isn’t a right and wrong way of doing it if you stick to the basic rules.



Your basic table setting is what you would set at home for a single serving dinner

Placemat / underplate

Main plate

Linen Napkin folded and placed left of the plate

Fork on the left side of plate placed onto the napkin

Knife on the right side of the plate

Water glass directly above the knife

Your more casual table setting is what you would set with a 2-course meal

Placemat / underplate

Main plate + Starter and or Soup plate

Linen Napkin folded and placed left of the plate

2-course forks placed on the left of the plate onto the napkin

2-course knives on the right-hand side of plate

Water glass directly above the main knife

White and or Red wine glass set slightly to the right of the water glass about 5cm downward depending on what you will be serving during your meal


Your more formal table setting used when serving a 3 course

You will need a Tablecloth

Placemat / underplate

Main plate + Starter plate

Linen Napkin folded and placed left of the plate or on the main plate

*you can then add a place card onto the napkin if you want to be fancy

Dinner & Starter fork placed on the left of the plate onto the napkin

Side plate placed top left above forks with a butter knife onto the plate with the blade facing downwards

Dinner & Starter knife on the right-hand side of the plate

Dessert spoon above the plate with the handle pointing to the right

Water glass directly above the main knife. Since people traditionally drink more water than wine during dinner, the water is kept closest.

To the right of the water glass and about 5cm downward, place the white wine glass.

The red wine glass goes to the right of—and slightly above—the white wine glass.

*remember that each utensil should be aligned with the bottom of the Placemat / Underplate


When setting up for an Event / Wedding you will need to speak to your client and or chef and first get a better understanding of the menu being served at the event. This will be crucial to any décor/flowers/candles/place setting before the event.

You can get a fully plated 3-course meal that will make setting up very easy as all the food comes to the tables fully plated.

Then you might get a buffet to table setup (like an intimate Sunday lunch setup) that will affect your décor, flower and candle setup as you will need to leave adequate space for the service staff to serve the additional bowls of food onto the guest table. You will hate for the food to arrive at the tables and then have the service staff hang over your guests trying to make space and ending up knocking things over.


#rightupmyalley #LAO #setthescene #toptable #wedding #reception

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