’Tis the season to impress dinner guests.
And while the winter holidays are the perfect time to throw a formal dinner party, for those of us who’ve never set a formal table, the task can seem pretty daunting.
A formal setting can intimidate guests, too: “Which glass is mine?” “Is that your bread knife or mine?”
Shine On asked Toronto-based etiquette writer and advisor Karen Cleveland for some help in navigating formal table settings.
Shine On: What makes a table setting a “formal” one?
Cleveland: A “formal” table setting is really subjective, but a good gauge is that it is set for multiple courses.
In mid-to-late nineteenth century, we started dining a la Russe, meaning that each type of food was served in its own course, and the table wasn’t reset between all of them. All the forks showed up on the table at once, and it was up to the hostess or butler to know which order the meal was coming out in so that the cutlery could be arranged accordingly. That began our (relatively modern)Read More »from How to set (and decipher) a formal dining table