10 mistakes most people make when setting a table

Sandra Slawinski 5th August 2020 0 comments

Let’s brush up on our table setting etiquette with 10 common mistakes people make. Just a few little tweaks can turn you into the host or hostess with the mostest.

Whether you having friends over for drinks, family for dinner or hosting a teatime or birthday party, the rules apply to all.

Number 5 is a definite must for me!

1. Mixing up flatware placings: forks go left, knives and spoons go right. You start closest to the plate with the main course cutlery and work your way through the dishes outward.

2. Mistaken the bread plate: your bread plate is to your left, next or above the fork.

3. Confuse guests with water and wine glasses. Glasses are placed in a triangle to the right above the knife. Traditionally the triangle shows the white wine glass is left, the red wine glass right and the water glass is behind the red wine glass. However if you are using a goblet as water glass I recommend you place it in easy reach: white wine glass left, the water goblet right and red wine glass behind the water goblet.

4. Tall centrepieces blocking the view:  while seated the view of the guest across of you should not be obstructed by the centrepiece.

5. Overpowering fragrant flowers or scented candles: enjoying food requires all the senses, having overpowering fragrances will stop you enjoying the food.

6. Forgetting serving spoons: if you are passing serving bowls at the table, ensure you have serving utensils laid out.



7. Using linens that are too small or too big or just wrong: when the tablecloth is too long and draping on the floor, guests can get tangled up and possibly when leaving the table drag it all with them. Too small might spoil your table. Use washable linens.

8. Have the wrong lighting: ambient light from candles and uplights around the room are preferred then overhead light, especially avoid large bright chandelier above the table.

9. Forgetting the ambiance at the table by failing tying in with the dress code or the occasion.  Setting a casual table and serving family style can be awkward when people are all dressed up or expected only to stay for drinks.

10. Not welcoming your guests as they arrive. No doubt you are busy getting hors d’oeuvres out but you must drop it all, lower the burner and greet your guests at the door ( if not front door, the living room/kitchen door). After all they came to see you.

Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals.