It is commonly said that we eat with our eyes first and then taste with our tongues. A well-set table can begin our sensory enjoyment of food even before it comes to the table.

The setting will no doubt depend on the occasion. It could be an informal dinner with friends and family or a formal dinner to mark an occasion.

Small family gathering style

Christmas Dinner TableOne of the most important dinners that families have together is the Christmas dinner. A Christmas dinner may be formal or informal depending on the number of courses served. A dinner with a few courses would do better with a casual setting.

There is no point in confusing your guests with unnecessary utensils that will not be used during the course of the dinner. The extra utensils will also make the table look cluttered.

Irrespective of whether the dinner is formal or informal, the table should be laid out neatly and attractively. Centerpieces add focal points to the table. These need not be expensive store bought affairs.

Simple yet attractive centerpieces fashioned at home can be equally flattering. Clustered candles, glass bowls with fruits, flower arrangements or any of their combinations are a good idea.

A theme is always a good idea

If you have the time and the inclination, the table may be set in accordance to a chosen theme. The centerpiece, dinnerware and cutlery will naturally follow the theme. Formal dinners do not leave much room for interpretations.

Formal dinner tables will need to be set in sober colors (white, red, green for Christmas) in accordance with the occasion. One can play around in an informal seating and the choice of colors and themes are endless.

Formal event and the class it deserves

For a formal dinner, you will need to choose a suitable tablecloth along with placemats. The arrangement of the utensils needs to follow prescribed rules. Center the placemats in front of the seat. Place the dinner plate at the center of the mat. The mat should be placed an inch from the edge and the dinner plate should be exactly 2” from the edge of the table. The heated soup bowls will be placed on the dinner plates.

The forks go to the left of the dinner plate and the spoons and knife on the right. The bread plate will be placed just above the forks. The dinner fork and the knife are placed right next to the dinner plate. The blade of the knife should face the dinner plate. The dessert/tea spoon is placed to the right of the knife and is neighbored by the soup spoon on its right. Place the salad fork to the left of the dinner fork.

The butter knife goes across the bread plate. The water glass goes directly above the dinner knife. The wine glasses are staggered above the water glass. The dessert place is placed above the dinner plate with the corresponding spoon and fork below it.

The napkin should be placed in the center of the dinner plate. In case you decide to use place cards, these will be placed either at the center of the dinner plate or directly above it.

An attractively set dinner table looks appetizing and ensures that the guests will enjoy the dinner.

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