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How to Set a Table Properly

Learn how to set a table properly from manners expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Faye de Muyshondt from Socialskilz here to share with you how to set the table. First thing's first. Get all of your supplies out and if you'd like practice at home with me. You're going to need a knife, a spoon, and two forks for our table setting, a meal plate, a bread plate, a napkin, and a glass or two. It's really easy to forget where things go and when you're at a table setting where there's a lot of people it's hard to remember which is your bread plate, which are your glasses when things are really close together. But I'm going to give you a few really simply tips that you're probably never going to forget.

Number one. How many letters does left has? It has four. So does the work fork. So, a good way to remember that forks go on the left is that they both have four letters. So, go ahead and set up your forks. This is considered your entree fork and that's the one that goes closest to the plate. This is considered your appetizer fork and that goes just to the left of your entree fork. And the idea is that as you're eating you're using your utensils from the outside in. So you're starting with the utensils on the outside and working inward.

Now, your knife and your spoon both have five letters and so does the word right so it's a really simple way to remember that your knife and your spoon go on the right side of the plate. Typically, a spoon is only used in a place setting for a soup or sometimes for pasta it's put out. So if there is a soup spoon at your table setting, you can pretty much assume that you're going to be having soup.

The meal plate goes right in the center. Make sure that the edge of the knife, the blade side of the knife, is facing the plate. And this is just for safety reasons. You don't want to have the edge of the knife heading towards the outside. You could easily cut yourself. Your bread plate goes to the left of your forks. Your glasses go to the upper right hand side. This being your wine glass and this being your water glass. A simple trick to remember where things go is you can remember from left to right is BMW. So you've got your bread plate, your meal plate, your water, and your wine glasses. So again, that's BMW.

You can also use your hands if you get into the situation where you don't remember. If you put your fingers like this, this makes a B for your bread plate and this makes a D for your drinks. So you can easily remember under the table that your bread plate goes on your left and your drinks go on your right. Your napkin actually goes under your forks in a most formal type of setting. Sometimes you're going to see swans or flowers or your napkin placed inside of a cup, but in the most formal setting your napkin belongs underneath your forks. Obviously during dinner it belongs in your lap.

And one last note. As you're setting your table, I always like to use my rule of thumb and I say that everything should be approximately one thumbnail length away from the bottom of the table. This just keeps things really neat. You never want to have a messy place setting. And those are some really simple tips on how you can remember how to set the table properly.

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