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Place setting is a challenge for event planners as the clients have become more demanding than ever. Clients want new and trendy set-ups, interesting themes and want to leave no stone unturned to make their event successful. Furthermore, there are so many events and each one may require a different place setting. The good news is, whatever the event is you can use a place setting template to guide you.

Casual place setting template

If you’re tasked to set up a casual table for a laid-back get-together or dinner party, you can make things easier by using a table settings template. As a rule of thumb, you only bring out your glassware, flatware, and tableware for such a party.

If you are not serving salad, the only thing you need for the setting is a dinner fork. If you only plan to serve white wine, then you won’t need red wine glasses. If you don’t plan to serve soup, you can skip the soup spoon and soup bowl.

For chargers, you would generally reserve these for more formal table settings. Of course, you may still opt to use them in a casual setting. Just make sure to fashion these in a more relaxed style to suit the mood. Here are some instructions for making this place setting template:

  • Start by laying the placemat on your table.
  • Place the dinner plate at the center of the placemat.
  • Put the salad plate on top of your dinner plate.
  • If the meal starts with a bowl of soup, put a soup bowl on top of your salad plate.
  • Place a napkin on the left side of the dinner plate.
  • On the left side of the plate, put the fork on top of the napkin.
  • On the right side of the plate, put the knife right next to the plate. Then place the spoon next to it.
  • Right on top of the knife, put the water glass.
  • To the right side and a bit above the water glass, put the wine glass. You can also put a glass for other beverages.

You can position salt and pepper shakers in either two ways – if you provide individual shakers for each of your guests, put the shakers at the top of the placemats; if not, put them near the middle of the table. If you’re using a long table, put on each end at the very center.

Downloadable Templates:

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Basic place setting template

Knowing how to set up a table properly for a weekend breakfast or your everyday dinner is essential too. For casual occasions, you only need a basic place setting example which includes a placemat, a dinner plate, cutlery, a napkin, and a water glass. The instructions for this place setting template are:

  • Start by laying the placemat on your table.
  • Place the dinner plate at the center of your placemat.
  • Place the napkin on the left side of the plate.
  • Put the fork on top of the napkin.
  • On the right side of the plate, put the knife right next to the plate with its blade pointing inward.
  • Place the spoon on the right side of the knife.
  • Place the water glass above the plate, right between the utensils and the plate.

If you want, you can place the napkin on the plate although some believe this creates a more formal feel. Now, you’re more or less familiar with the basics of a table settings template. This information allows you to show a great place setting example to your guests.

Formal place setting template

Elegant party dinners usually have a number of courses. Hosting such dinners involves a little more work, thus, when compared with a casual place setting template, a formal place setting template is more sophisticated. One big difference is the use of presentation plates or ” chargers.”

A formal table settings template doesn’t have placemats although you can still use them. You can place round placemats under a charger to give the setting a more formal appearance. As expected, the formal table setting consists of many pieces like dinner plates, salad plates, soup spoons, soup bowls, bread plates, butter knives, salad forks, napkins, knives, water glasses, dinner forks, dessert spoons, white wine glasses, and red wine glasses.

At first glance, setting a formal table sounds overwhelming but if you already know the proper way of setting up a casual table, it’s an easy leap to learn how to set up a table with chargers. Here are the instructions for making a formal place setting template:

  • Start by laying a tablecloth on your table.
  • Place a charger at each of the seats.
  • At the center of each charger, put a soup bowl.
  • Put the bread plate at the top-left side of the charger.
  • Place a napkin on the left side of the charger.
  • On top of the napkin, put the salad fork further from the charger, and the dinner fork right next to it. You may also place your forks on top of the napkins. If you have a roomier setting, place the forks on the tablecloth directly between the charger and the napkin.
  • On the right side of the charger, put the knife then the soup spoon.
  • All of the vertical flatware should have even space between them. The bottoms of the utensils should align with the charger’s bottom.
  • Put a butter knife with its blade facing in on top of your bread plate bottom with the handle pointing right.
  • Right above the charger, put a dessert spoon with its handle pointing right.
  • Right above the knife, put a water glass.
  • On the right side of the water glass and slightly downward, put the white wine glass.
  • Place the red wine glass on the right side of—and a bit above—the white wine glass. This arrangement makes sense as people typically drink more water than wine while having dinner.
  • If you plan to give your guests their own salt and pepper shakers, put these above the dessert spoon. If not, you can put the shakers at the center of the table. If you’re using a rectangular table, put the shakers at the center of each table end.
  • If you plan to use place cards, set them right on top of the dessert spoon.
  • After the completion of the first course – soup – and you have cleared the bowls, the salad plate takes the position of the soup bowl.
  • Traditionally, a charger would hold the spot for your dinner plate. Then you would remove it after the salad course. But if you don’t want to clear any of the dishes or bowls throughout the meal, simply place dinner plates on top of the chargers.

Other things to consider aside from the place settings

The first time creating a table settings template could be a little intimidating, especially if you have no experience at all. Moreover, there are several variations of table settings and just trying to remember all of them could feel overwhelming. But once you learn the basics, you’ll realize that setting tables isn’t really that hard.

The basic instructions are the same and with the help of a place setting template, the job becomes easier. Here are other things to consider when organizing a party after arranging the place settings:

  • A Tablescape
    The centerpiece of a lavish dinner party will be the dinner table itself. Make the occasion more memorable by providing fresh flowers and candles, then add some music to the ambiance. For formal gatherings, go for bigger floral arrangements. Conversely, small gatherings will work better with smaller and subtler arrangements. Using lower lights and unscented candles makes for a perfect ambiance.
  • Menu Cards
    This is a good idea as it informs your guests what you’re going to serve. It also adds to the occasion’s overall vibe.
  • Place Cards
    If you expect quite a number of guests, it’s a good idea to use place cards. Using place cards when the guests are few makes it seem like you’re a bit controlling.
  • Seating Arrangements
    You can achieve this in more than one way and it all depends on your guest list, as well as, the personalities of your guests. The more traditional method is to sit guests by relationship and gender. It could be girl-boy-girl-boy arrangement or couples sitting together. Today, it’s more common to arrange guests by common interests or personality style.
  • Seating Your Guests of Honor
    There are certain etiquette rules that you need to follow when you have a guest of honor. This could be your boss, a celebrity, an elderly relative, and so on. As per tradition, when your guest of honor is female, she would sit to your right. When your guest of honor is male, he would sit to your left.
  • Large Dinner Parties
    When you’re hosting a larger dinner party that requires several tables, make sure you have a list for the seating arrangements so guests know where to sit. You may as well have a guide too at the entrance of the room.


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