Guide To Table Place Setting And Dining Etiquette To Impress

in Weddings + Events


Party events and holiday celebrations are such fabulous time to spend with people we care about, to share the fun and capture memories with photography. It can also be a time to offend people unintentionally if things were not done right. The same goes when doing business with others. When you have been invited to a formal dinner, it is vital to exhibit grace and poise to make a lasting, positive impression. People adopt strong messages about you and your business from the manner you present yourself or your image. Your manners can speak volumes about you as a professional. Dining etiquette play an important rule here to keep the negotiation alive.

Before we go to the basic dining etiquette that we need to know, let’s take a look at the different table place settings and learn about this inforgraphic on Formal Silverware Functions. When one is entertaining guests for dinner, the first question that crossed our mind is how to arrange the dinner table.


A buffet setup is the best way to serve a huge number of people in a party event or informal gatherings. The plates are stacked at the end of a large dining table and followed by the order of the menu courses.


Formal meals or dinner parties were connected with “business”. As such, they have table manners all their own. This is also a great opportunity to introduce friends and associates. As we consume each course, the matching used or unused flatware will be taken away with the dish, preparing us for the next course to arrive.



  • Starting with the knife, fork or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in using one utensil for each course.
  • Once you have used a piece of silverware, do not place it back on the table. Lay it on your plate instead. Place your knife and fork, with the tines down, as if they are pointing at the numbers 10 and 3 on a clock. This will show the waiter/waitress that you are still eating.
  • When you are finished eating, place your knife and fork, with tines up, together on the plate. Try to position them so they will not fall off when the server is taking the plates from the table.


  • The greatest dilemma many have is what to do when one does not want to swallow something already in your mouth, like a pit or a piece of bone, etc. Move it with your tongue onto your fork at your mouth and then bring the fork down to your plate and deposit it on the rim. No one should notice you doing this because the motion of food to mouth is made commonly by anyone eating.
  • When eating bread, break one piece off at a time and butter it if you’d like. Do not take a bit out of the bread.
  • Never eat greasy foods with your fingers (with the exception of French Fries or Potato Chips)
  • Soup should be spooned away from yourself to avoid spilling.
  • Go easy on sauces and spices. Sauces can be messy and you should not season your food before you taste it.
  • Do not pick your teeth at the table! Try drinking water to dislodge the food or if you need to, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to take care of it.
  • If hors d’oeuvres are served with a toothpick, do not place your used toothpick back on the tray. Throw it in the garbage or if necessary, hold onto it until you can properly dispose of it.

Basic Dining Etiquette

Nancy R. Mitchell owns, manages and is principal instructor for The Etiquette Advocate, a firm providing etiquette and protocol training and consulting to corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, embassies, universities, the travel and hospitality industry and individuals. She is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for You can view more of her dining etiquette videos via

1. The Invitation

2. Getting Seated

3. Table Taboos

4. The Place Setting

5. The Napkin

6. Using Utensils

7. The Glass Ware

8. The Bread And Condiments

9. The Soup Course

10. The Salad Course

11. The Main Course

12. Using A Finger Bowl

13. The Dessert And Coffee

14. Eating Difficult Foods

15. Tips For The Toast

Further Readings and Resources

1. The A to Z of Restaurant Etiquette via
2. 5 Chinese Eating Habits Explained via
3. Infographic About Dining Etiquette via
4. International Dining Etiquette Guide in PDF Form

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