This blog follows Part I of How to throw a fabulous formal Dinner Party that I posted yesterday. Today I will discuss Seating Arrangements.
You will place people at the table according to social rules. The basic rules for the table are:
- The Hosts sit at the head and foot of the table.
- The guest of honor will sit to the right of the lady of the house.
- There are two schools of thought as to the seating of the hostess. One is that she sits at the foot of the table but this may mess up the man woman man setting order.
- The other way is for the guest of honor to sit at the foot and the hostess to sit to his right. The wife of the guest of honor will sit to the right of the host. This is subject to change according to your wishes.
- Serve the guest of honor first. If you are the only server finish that side of the table. Then serve the wife of the guest honor and her side of the table. The man of the house is next and the lady of the house (host) is last.
Pull the chairs away so you can walk around the table freely.
Roll the runner down the table and make sure that the ends hang even. The edge of the runner should be 1/2 inch from the table’s edge. Place a cover plate in front of a chair. The edge of the plate should be 1 inch from the edge of the table.
The basic rules for laying the cutlery are:
The handles will be one inch from the edge of the table.
The two outer most pieces are used first. See our illustrations (Part I) for the correct piece of flatware for a course
A soupspoon may go between knives if there is an appetizer before the soup. The butter knife on the bread plate has the blade face into the center of the plate. Only the soup course has one piece of flatware all others have two.
A salad should be torn into bite size pieces but a knife may be used to push the food onto the fork. If you have individual salt and pepper shakers they go above the main course fork or above the dessert flatware. If people have to share the shakers they go between the covers.
The bread plate can either go to the left of the forks or above the forks to the of the salt and pepper shakers. The wine glass for the main course is above the knife for that course. The water glass goes inside the red wine glass and a little above it. The white wine glass goes on the outside of the red wine glass and a little closer to the flatware. If there are other wine glasses used they can lined up behind the first two glasses.
WHEN NECESSARY (this is restaurant style!): The flatware for dessert goes directly above the plate. The fork goes closest to the plate with the tines pointing to the right. The spoon goes above the fork with the bowl pointing to the right. The flower arrangements should not be above eye level. Try to set the candelabras so that everybody can make eye contact.
And there go, now you can host like a profesh and a stylish one at that!
If you would like to attend one of my Etiquette Workshops please contact me directly
Photo credit: FotoNuova Photography Studio