A great party not only consists of good food, but also the ambiance that a great dinner party table creates. Setting the table ultimately depends on your party's needs. Buffet-style will be very different from a formal dinner setting. What you also need to keep in mind, when deciding, is the theme of the party and whether it's going to be formal or casual. Here are some basic ideas on how to create settings for various party tables.
Things You'll Need
Focus on the theme of your party. This is important because much of the glassware, Chinaware and silverware will greatly depend on the formality of the party. Pick glasses for the drinks that you will be serving. You may want to invest in a pint or flare glass for beer, while flutes are more appropriate for wine.
Create the tables first by using a simple table cloth. A light or pastel color is always a good choice rather than something that may appear tacky unless it's a holiday. White is the staple color for the buffet table. Also use table napkins that match the table cloth or the party motif. Decorate the table using flowers and other festive table pieces.
Stack the plates, for a buffet-style party, near the food for easy guest access while they're in line. Separate the forks from the spoons and knives. Serving drinks at the table, instead of having the guests grab a glass, will make everything more efficient and easier for the guests because they won't be juggling things on otherwise full hands.
Set the table for a sit-down dinner, which will require place-mats and a plate at its center. Forks will be to the left, spoons will be to the right. The first fork that will be used should be placed farthest from the plate and, as courses come, each guest will use each utensil, moving from the farthest utensil inward until they reach the one closest to the plate. Glasses will be placed at the upper right side of the plate above the knives. Dessert utensils are set horizontally above the plate.
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