Whether you are setting aluminum dining sets for a casual family meal or a formal dinner event, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Table settings can range from simple and easy to complex and elaborate. Putting together the right setting will help set the tone for any meal. Understanding the various types of table settings and what each entails is the first step in putting together a beautiful and well-planned meal.
Types of Table Settings
There are so many variations of table settings. But when you really look into all of them, you will see that they are just variations of the two main types of table settings: formal and informal.
Formal Table Setting
A formal table setting is mostly set for a small meal with many courses and various wines. For a formal meal, every place setting will need the appropriate number of cutlery pieces and plates. You might have wait staff changing out courses, so the initial setting will only need the appropriate dinnerware for the first course. When planning such an event, ensure that all of the additional tableware for successive courses is availabale and accounted for before the meal.
Informal Table Setting
For an informal table setting, you will need significantly less dinnerware. A very casual meal may only require a single plate, fork and knife. A larger informal meal will probably require a dinner plate, butter plate and salad plate. Separate dinner and salad forks are optional.
Function of Table Settings
Your next concern when putting together your table setting is defining the needs of the meal. You may need serving dishes on the table. Consider the correct number of bowls and plates for the meal, along with all the necessary silverware. Lastly, you need to consider beverages. At the base minimum, every guest should have a glass or water goblet. Remember that the ultimate goal for any table setting is that it is functional for the meal.
- For an informal meal, you may want to put the water or drink pitcher on the buffet or table.
- If you are serving wine, include the appropriate wine glasses for your selection.
- If you are serving coffee, include the appropriate cups and saucers for this as well.
Features of Table Settings
After planning the appropriate dinnerware for every guest, you can now give attention to the more decorative aspects of a table setting. In this case, you need to consider two aspects: table covering and table centerpieces.
- Table Covering. For a more formal event, use a tablecloth. This can be in any design or color. Choose something in keeping with the theme of the meal; the most formal choice is simple white. For a very casual meal, you may choose to simple use place mats. Or, if you want to display decorative aspects of your table like the one in Anchor All Weather Wicker Round Dining Set by Alfresco Home, leave it bare.
- Table Centerpieces. Your centerpieces should be very low. You may use flowers, but avoid tall vases as they will obstruct the view across the table. Low-laying candles or dishes or floating candles and flowers are great selections.
Size of Table Settings
The size of your party will play a big role in the type of table setting you will need to arrange. As a general rule, every person should have about 25 to 30 inches of space for their place setting. The place setting is generally set up about an inch from the edge of the table. You may give more room to your guests if it is available, but avoid crowding.
Obviously, children will require less space for their place settings. If you have a smaller table like the Aged Teak Wood Finish Aluminum Patio Dining Set by Well Traveled Living, forgo the elaborate centerpieces and simply pace a few small candles along the table. If you are setting serving dishes on the table, you may not have room for centerpieces at all. Let the food be the center of the guests’ attention.
Table Setting Considerations
Arrange the finishing touches. A simple way to add creativity to a table setting is with napkins. Cloth napkins can be folded into various shapes. If you are not up to folding the napkins, put your creativity to use with the napkin rings. You can use traditional napkin rings, or dress things up by using beaded bracelets, twine or other unique designs.You might also want to include place cards in your table setting. These can be simple pieces of folded paper, or more elaborate cards with festive holders. There are place card holders available for practically any theme. For an informal meal, you can probably forgo the place cards, and for a very casual place setting, you can use paper napkins.