It’s not every day that we have the need to set an impressive formal table for our family and guests but it’s Christmas and the one time of year that calls for pulling out all the stops and enjoying a delicious holiday feast at a perfectly set table.

Knowing where everything goes simplifies serving and makes dining easier for guests who will have everything they need. The rules of setting a table exist to make everyone confident in knowing what utensil to use at the appropriate time.

Here’s a cheat sheet that will remind you how to set a formal dining table to impress your guests and help make the dining experience at your house a memorable event this Christmas. 

Curate this guide based on what you’re serving your dinner guests. Avoid cluttering up the table with unnecessary pieces. I keep a copy handy in my silver cutlery drawer so that whoever is setting the table for formal occasions can quickly refer to it!

What goes where?

Utensils are always placed in the order of use from outside in towards the dinner plate— what is to be used first is placed farthest from the plate.  Always start from the “outside” and work “in”.

The most common table etiquette faux pas is using the wrong bread and butter plate. Your bread and butter plate is always on your left beside your forks.

Glassware or drinking vessels sit at the tip of the knife on the right hand side. The water glass or goblet is always the closest to the knife as it remains on the table throughout the entire meal. Additional glasses stand to the right of the water glass in order of use if multiple wines are to be served.

Know your wine glasses.

Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy dining in style with your family & friends this holiday season!