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Tips and Guides

Set The Dinner Table In Less Than 30 Minutes

We've got a detailed table-setting guide that can help you

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Photography: @iamhearte on Instagram and Michael Angelo Chua (Main Photos) | Jon Tolentino (Illustration)

With the dozens of parties included in your calendar, how many are you hosting at home? This time of the year can get stressful, but don't let to-do lists get the best of you. Setting the table for Christmas get-togethers can be a piece of cake. Let our guide below serve as your template:


Clockwise from top left:

Bread Dish and Butter Knife — Plate and utensil meant for a roll and butter served before the courses.

Dessert Spoon and Fork — Utensils used for dessert, placed horizontally above the service plate.

Place Card — Also known as name card; allows the host to assign seats among guests.

Water Glass or Goblet — A glass used to hold water. It is placed on the upper right hand of the service plate, above the meat knife.

Wine Glass (White) — A glass which is often more slender than the red wine glass.

Wine Glass (Red) — A glass with a rounder, wider bowl to increase oxidation of red wine.

Champagne Flute — A slender-stemmed glass with a narrow bowl for champagne

Soup Spoon — A round spoon used for soup.

Salad Knife — Used to cut through leafy greens.

Fish Knife — Knife used to cut through fish. It may or may not be provided during the meal course.

Dinner Knife — Used for eating the main course of a meal.

Table Napkin — Rectangular cloth used for wiping the mouth and fingers while eating. It's often placed on the left side, above the service plate or bread plate.

Salad Plate — A small plate for salad.

Service Plate — A big plate placed at the center of the table setting meant to catch spills, drips, and food dropped during earlier courses. It acts as a base plate underneath the salad and appetizer plates, and is removed during the main course.

Dinner Fork — Used for the main course of a meal.

Fish Fork — Used to eat fish. It is placed on the left side of the meat fork. It can come with a wide left tine and an optional notch to groove through fish bones when a fish knife is not provided.

Salad Fork — A relatively smaller, four-tined fork used for eating salad.

Mastered it yet? For a dose of visual inspiration, watch the video below:

Video by Gio Oliva

This article ("Anatomy of a Formal Christmas Setting") originally appeared in the December 2016-January 2017 issue of Real Living Magazine.

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