Every time I’m asked to help design an engagement dinner party, I find myself second guessing each placement. And yet, thanks to my mom my sister and I’ve been setting a proper table for as long as we can remember - since we were like, two. I believe a table is one of those things that we all should know - uncomplicated and effortless. It’s just plain logical and pretty. So, I’ve asked Paprika Southern to help me break it down for you, with pretty pictures you can look at of course!
First, you eat a meal starting with the utensils moving from the outside and working your way in. So, here’s the gist of it…
Plates: The largest chargers go first after the entree plate. Something fun & pretty is perfect. Top with an appetizer plate. The bread & butter plate rests at the top left in the 10:00 position with the butter knife on top of it at a little angle.
Stemware: A glass is to the right at the 1:00 place. Choose red, white (both!) or a beer glass to go close to the plate. Pick any number of glasses up to five. The smaller glasses always go up front. Water and champagne and glass sits right above the wine glass, barely to the left.
Flatware: I always lay the silverware last - evenly spaced. Put the dinner knife to the right of the dinner plate. The cutting edge of knives are toward the plate. Spoons like for soup or fruit go next to the knife. The largest fork goes to the left of the plate moving out with the salad fork and finally that specially shaped fish fork. Any remaining stemware like a dessert fork or coffee spoon are placed above the plate at 12:00.
Napkins: Traditionally the napkin goes atop dinner plate. However depending on the aesthetic of the event I like to mix it up to match the party. The napkin is the perfect place to add a festive touch of whimsy like a sprig of rosemary, a mini-gourd, a feather or dried autumn leaf.
Centerpieces: I love a party full of personal touches. And it’s no surprise that I believe a properly set table is incomplete without a centerpiece. Anything will do, the possibilities are endless from a clever arrangement of food, fruit, pine cones, leaves, flowers, evergreen boughs, or a whimsically pretty mix of it all.
Depending on your event whether a wedding, simple bridal fete or lavish engagement soiree, these basic rules will work. You know rules are made to broken! These guidelines can be paired up or down to suit the personality of the affair.
And to offer you a little inspiration, the above are a few of my favorite pics from the table Amanda Currier our resident hostess with the most at Colonial House of Flowers stylishly set with Bevin (who turns out to be a natural, of course!) at Cohen’s Retreat in Savannah, Georgia.
American Grown Pine Cone Lilies hand collected by Margie Tygart and Peggy Beam
California Grown Organic Lavender: FloraOrganicaDesigns
Glasses from Pottery Barn
Clear Glass Vases from Syndicate Sales
Florals by Amanda Currier, Christy Hulsey, Melissa Bottoms of Colonial House of Flowers
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Styling & Photography: Siobhan Egan + Bevin Valentine Jalbert of Paprika Southern
Venue: Cohen’s Retreat
Wine from Cameron Hughs Wine
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