Where does that salad fork go? White wine glass to the left or right of that water cup? What’s a charger (It’s not the one for your cell phone…). If etiquette were taught in schools you wouldn’t need this week’s article. But here we are, ready to give you the perfect place setting arrangement for every event. The Magnolia Event Rentals team is always dreaming up drool-worthy place settings and table designs, but we also know that our clients deserve the best, most elevated, and most refined designs around.  (And that means allowing etiquette to guide our creative process.)

This week we’re tackling table setting. We’ll explore the subtle sophistication in how you set a formal table, and the next time you visit our amazing warehouse, we’ll give you some other ideas for making any table your own!

So, let’s get started.

Setting a Formal Table.

This is the way we learned to set a formal table. Inspired by America’s original queen of etiquette, Emily Post.

Place a table cover (tablecloth or placemat) on your table

A charger goes at each seat (when dinner is served you’ll switch out this charger with a dinner plate! Voila!)

Put a soup bowl and a salad plate at the center of each place setting

Your bread plate is placed to the left of your charger at each place setting

Your butter knife goes on each bread plate and the handle faces the right side of the place setting

Your (typically cloth) napkin is placed on the right side of your charger

A salad fork and the accompanying dinner fork goes on the left side of the charger with the salad fork further from the charger.

You’ll find the dinner knife, salad knife, and your soup spoon on the right side of the charger.

The water glass goes above the knives you just set down.

Wine glasses are placed with the red wine glass on the inside and the white wine glass on the outside (since you’ll use the white wine glass first, of course!)

Last, but not least, your dessert utensils go above your charger with your spoon’s handle to the right and your fork’s handle to the left!

Simple right?

What About A More Casual Affair?

Now let’s go over how to set your table for a casual event.


Your  linen (often a simple placemat) goes on the table first

The salad plate goes on top of the dinner plate in the center of each place setting

Serving soup? Your soup bowl will find its home on top of your salad plate

Your napkin gets placed on the left of the setting itself and you can put your fork on that napkin

The dinner knife goes to the left of the soup spoon on the right side of your plate

Your wine glass goes to the right of your  water glass (which is placed above the knife)



Etiquette And Your Event

While we’ve outlined the two most common ways to set your table, the only way that truly matters is the way you decide to do it. As you can tell, we’re all for taking some creative license and your table is no different!


We can’t wait to help you design the table of your dreams and, when you fill out our contact form here, we’ll get started!