How to set the table according to Etiquette and Bon Ton.

Everyone loves cooking, the kitchen atmosphere and a good mise en place.
We have already had a deep look at the subject, sharing ideas and suggestions on how to set the table and make your dining room special.

We are pleased to share a scheme that explains in detail, but in simple steps, how to set the table for every occasion.

Table setting according Etiquette and Bon Ton following the advice of Fillyourhomewithlove.

Before getting into details, we would like to remind you that table setting must follow an accurate preparation of the menu and the decorations, the guests invitation and the preparation of the room.

Setting the table according to Etiquette and Bon Ton.

Table manners start from the preparation of the Menu.

The invitation is fundamental.
According to etiquette, if you are about to invite guests for a special or formal occasion, it is necessary to invite them through a written invitation, rigorously in an envelope and personalized.

Otherwise, if you have to invite your guest to a more informal event, it would be sufficient to tell them verbally or on the phone.

Another fundamental thing, apart from setting the table according to Etiquette and Bon Ton, is the creation of the menu.

You shouldn’t miss any detail. You must keep in mind allergies, intolerances, and tastes of every single guest.

In case there are vegetarians or vegans among the commensals, you should prepare a menu for them, in order not to make them feel embarrassed.

In short, no surprises for your guests, especially if it’s a formal dinner.

Setting the table to give everyone the right space.

Let’s have a look now at the actual table setting. Each guest must have enough room to move comfortably.

Guests must not touch each other and they should be able to move hand and arms freely without disturbing their commensal.

Give each guest the right space using a table decoration.

How to place the cutlery according to Etiquette.

Depending on the meal you have to serve, it is necessary to set the table in the right way.

Keep always in mind that cutlery must be used from the outside towards the inside, according to the dishes’ order.

If you are serving, for instance, a soup, the spoon must be present, placed externally on the right, because it will be the first one to be used.

The same criteria applies to all the other dishes. Prepare knives and forks according to how many courses you will serve to your guests.

As you can see in the prospect below, if you have guests for breakfast you will simply have to put one knife, one teaspoon, a fork and a napkin on the left.

Use this as a reference to set your table according to Etiquette.

It can be also noticed the difference between a normal lunch or dinner and a formal occasion. In that case, you will need two forks (placed on the left) two spoons and a knife on the right.

There is a slight difference in the mise en place usually adopted in Europe, where we find two forks (always on the left), two knives and two spoons. To complete the set, cake fork and dessert knife, glasses to sip wine or water, and the small plate for bread and butter, coming with a smaller butter knife.

Etiquette during the meal: how to behave at the table.

After washing your hands you can sit, but, before starting to eat you must wait for the host to finish serving every guest and to take the first bite.

Regarding the behaviour and the posture to keep at the table, always remember to maintain a straight but not rigid position, not leaning on the table. Put the napkin on your lap. You must not put your elbows on the table! It is strictly forbidden by Etiquette, and however is strongly discouraged. Do not serve yourself with your fork, do not lick the knives and try to eat small pieces, rather than large bites.

Ideas for table decorations.

Once you have provided for the previously mentioned setting, you can indulge in decorating the table according to your taste.
Always keep in mind the proportions and the size of the table. Decorations must not be disproportionated compared to the mise en place.

If you like flowers, you can try different compositions or plant matching.

In the picture above you can see how white roses, olive branches and laurel leaves throughout the table can create a beautiful effect.

It is clear that in this kind of mise en place it’s not possible to put the serving platter at the centre of the table. In alternative, you may use a crystal stand to put the platters.

We hope this article was interesting and the information within will help you create your mise en place!

Finally, if you want to deepen this topic, visit our article about how to set a formal table.