Special events such as weddings, dinner parties or Christmas celebrations may require a formal table setting so it is handy to know a few of the basics. Don’t let the copious amounts of cutlery confuse you, setting a formal table is easier than you think!

When serving multiple courses, cutlery for the first course should be placed on the outside left and right. Cutlery for the remaining courses should work in towards the plate. The dessert spoon and cake fork should be placed above the plate with glassware being set above and to the right of the dinner plate.

Once the essentials are in place you can dress your table to suit the occasion. Why not brighten up the table with flowers, or add a few candles to set the scene.

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  • Place a dinner plate in the centre of the setting and lay forks to the left of the plate and knives and spoons to the right. Place your cutlery in the order that it will be used starting from the outside.

    Tip: Knife blades should be facing towards the plate and fork prongs facing upwards.
  • Lay dessert fork and spoon above the place setting with the fork pointing to the left and the spoon above the fork with its handle pointing to the right.
  • Place side plates to the left of the setting
  • If serving soup, place the soup bowl on top of the dinner plate.
  • If you are folding your napkin in a simple way then place it on the side plate. If you are folding it in a more complex way then put it in the centre of the setting or on the side plate.
  • Place a water glass and wine glass to the right of the place setting just above the table knife. If serving both red and white wine include a glass for each.


For elegant glassware that is perfect for fine dining or for everyday use, visit our sister brand Ravenhead. Here you will find an array of beautifully sparkling wine glasses, champagne flutes and hiball and mixers, alongside gorgeous glass servingware.


Kilner glass jars are simply perfect for displaying floral arrangements and will add a quirky vibe to your dining table. They could also be decorated and used as a pretty tea light holder. Visit the Kilner website for more tabletop inspiration.


For a sophisticated style, set your table with the Studio range. Created by Gerald Benney, a leading post-war artist and designer, the Studio range is one of Viners' original designs.