I find it interesting that not many people know how to set a table. My parents entertained a lot and by helping my mother I learned the proper placement of silverware and plates. I also realized I was a lousy teacher for my own children because they either are unaware of the correct way to set a table of they don’t really care. I am not talking about where to place the fish fork or knife, (I am not an etiquette expert) but just a normal everyday place setting.
So, looking at the picture above the salad plate goes to the left, whether it is up higher like this or directly beside, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have the smaller bread plates with this set of china, my mother’s “Sunnyvale” by Castleton (I love this pattern) but if I did the salad plate would be on the dinner plate and the bread and butter plate would go to the left. I don’t have butter knives with my sterling set but if I did it would go on the bread and butter plate. The forks go on the left – work from outside in – the first small fork would be used first for the salad. The larger fork in the middle would be for dinner, the small inside fork would be for dinner. On the right is the knife and then the spoon. If you are serving soup and have a soup spoon that would be laid above the plate horizontally. Water and wine goblets would go on the right as well. The napkin can be placed on the left with or without a napkin ring or laid on the plate.
Lastly, a fun way to present your napkin (in this case, only paper would work) is the following. My mother and whoever showed her used this a lot and taught us how to do it. I like it because it is different and reminds me of a bird with its wings in flight.
First: Fold the napkin in half, diagonally. Second: Fold in half again. Third: fold one side about 1/2″ from the fold.
1. 2. 3.
Fourth: Turn it over and do the same to the other side. Fifth and last step: If I look at the inside folded napkin I see a center fold. Slide this fold into the space between the second and third tine of the fork and the two “wings” in the space between the 1st and 2nd tine and the 3rd and 4th tine. Try it!