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Formal Thanksigiving Table Setting

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

We're supposed to be teeming with gratitude at Thanksgiving dinner, but when you're the host – especially when you're a first time host – you feel more full of nerves; not only do you want every bite of your holiday feast to taste delicious, you want the table to look perfect too.

In the holiday's spirit of gratitude, we've put together this gift for you: it's a cheat sheet to setting a formal dinner table. Read along below to learn how to set a dinning table so flawless even grandma will be impressed.

  1. Set plates
  2. Positioning the plates first will help you set the spacing for the entire table. Plates should be about two feet apart, measuring from the center of plate

  3. Lay cups and glasses to the right of the dinner plates
  4. Align butter and salad plates on the left of the dinner plates
  5. Place Napkins to the left of the forks
  6. While the left side is traditional, feel free to experiment with cloth napkin placement and folds, if you're feeling creative.

  7. Remember that silverware is arranged in the order it will be used
  8. Utensils are arranged with those used first on the outside, working in; thus, first course silverware, such as a salad fork, will be farthest from the plate and main course silverware will be on the inside, closest to the plate.

  9. Lay forks to the left of the dinner plates
  10. The only exception to this rule is small cocktail forks, which goes on the outermost right side of the plate.

  11. Place first knives and then spoons to the right of the dinner plates
  12. Flip knives so that the cutting edge faces the plate and line up the silverware so that the bottoms of the handles align with the bottoms of the dinner plates.

  13. Put a butter plate and knife to the left of the each dinner plate
  14. Lay dessert silverware above the dinner plate
  15. Turn the dessert fork handle facing the left and the dessertspoon or knife handle to the right with the cutting edge facing the plate.

  16. Place water glasses above the dinner knives on the right
  17. Pick a wine glass placement
  18. Either place the white wine to the right, and red wine top center, forming a triangle, or placed above the knives in a straight row, slanting down from the upper left, going from biggest to smallest glass.

  19. Arrange Coffee cups and saucers are to the right of the setting
  20. Lay the coffee spoon on the right side of the saucer
Join The Conversation
Paromita Paromita 5 years
Angela-Elias Angela-Elias 5 years
@CourtneyOutLoud: I'm the same way! I usually prefer a more relaxed table setting, but I think I'm going to try my hand at a fancy tablescape for the holidays. @Ellenora: Glad you like!! :)
Ellenora Ellenora 5 years
I'll definitely have to bookmark this page. It will be of great use when I need to formally set my table with our china.
CourtneyOutLoud CourtneyOutLoud 5 years
I love setting a table and NEVER follow the above rules most times. Partially b/c I am lazy. Partially b/c most of my dinners are casual. And partially b/c I set a table in accordance to how I want my guests to eat/feel/enjoy. However, it is really nice to have such a visual note of how things should be when (or if) I decide to get off my lazy butt and do it "right"....
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