How to Set the Table for an Elegant Holiday Dinner
When hosting a holiday dinner, there’s more to think about than just the food. Whether you’re having a formal sit-down dinner or a casual get-together, putting together a charming tabletop will make any meal more enjoyable. From the menu to the décor to the dishware, there are so many details to consider and plan. Our helpful guide will give you the tips and advice you need to set a beautiful table when hosting an elegant holiday dinner:
Choosing your table linens first is so important because they serve as the canvas for the rest of your tablescape and décor choices. A classic linen tablecloth will add warmth and style to any setting, and many hosts consider it an absolute must when hosting a sit-down dinner. Tablecloths are both practical and stylish, bringing in a beautiful design element through color and texture that can enhance any display.
For a more casual or rustic look, consider using a simple but elegant table runner. This creates a focal point in the center of the table and draws the eye to the centerpiece. If you’re creating a stunning centerpiece that makes a statement, a linen table runner is an excellent option. Layering a table runner on top of a tablecloth is another way to bring style and texture to your tablescape.
Cloth napkins add an elegant touch while also reducing paper waste. You can choose linen napkins that match your tablecloth or table runner, or you can opt for a complementary style. Napkins may be placed to the side of the plate, or they can be placed on top of it. You can also use a napkin ring to add style.
Let your linens be your creative guide as you set the table for the holiday. If you aren’t sure what the overall look and design of your table should be, your tablecloth selection can help get your creative juices flowing. Take the time to choose a beautiful tablecloth or runner that inspires you and helps you achieve the holiday look that you want.
Place Setting Basics
Whether you’re doing a formal dinner or are taking a more laid back approach, you might be overwhelmed by the task of setting out each place. Don’t worry because it’s not as difficult as you might think. You need a few basics for each setting, including flatware, plates and bowls, and drinkware.
Consider your desired color palette as you decide on the plates and bowls to use. If you’re opting for simple solid-colored china, add visual interest by using a charger underneath the dinner plate. A charger isn’t a must for a casual table setting, but it can be useful for guests as they dine and for stylistic purposes, too. Patterned china can be a lovely way to add a festive touch.
A formal table setting requires a few extra pieces of flatware and dishes. You can add the necessary forks and spoons to accommodate your menu, such as a fish fork, dessert spoon, and salad knife. Always lay out the cutlery in the order that it will be used. Not only does it look neater, but it’s also more intuitive for guests as they dine.
A few helpful tips when setting the table:
- Knives go on the right side of the plate
- Always face the knife blade towards the plate
- Forks go on the left side of the plate
- Place the napkin on top of the plate or just off to the side
- Provide both a water glass and a wine glass
- Add both a salad fork and a dinner fork, with the dinner fork closest to the plate
- Soup spoon should be placed to the right of the knife
Table Setting Etiquette Tips
Once you’ve got everything you need to set each place at the table, you’re ready to start layering and setting up each spot. Be sure to keep these etiquette tips in mind:
- Only include necessary flatware. For example, if soup will not be served, don’t set out a soup spoon. Keep it simple and practical.
- Give each guest about 18 inches of space between settings so that elbows aren’t bumping as they eat and drink. For a formal meal, 24 inches is proper.
- Add a personalized name card to each setting so that guests feel welcomed to the table.
- For a fancy touch for a formal holiday meal, print out and place a menu on each plate so that guests know what they’ll be enjoying.
If you don’t own large sets of flatware and dishes to accommodate the number of guests you’ll be hosting, don’t worry. You can mix in different designs in a creative and fun way. Just stick with designs that complement one another. The final result will end up looking playful and whimsical, which is perfect for a light-hearted holiday gathering.
Creating a Centerpiece
A centerpiece is not essential, but it is a lovely way to add festive charm. It can be a little tricky to arrange the centerpiece in a way that best suits your table, so don’t be afraid to play around with it. Flowers and greenery make a great choice because they add color, texture, and vibrancy. Candles are another elegant choice that enhances the atmosphere and creates a relaxing vibe.
One thing to keep in mind is the size. Going too high in the center with florals or candlesticks can obstruct the view and the flow of the conversation across the table. Have fun with it, but make sure that the scale of the centerpiece is suitable for the overall scale and size of your table.
While the food and the company that you share it with are most important, a beautiful table setting can play an important role when hosting a holiday meal. A charming, festive tablescape enhances the atmosphere and creates a cozy and inviting vibe. With just a few basic elements including a linen tablecloth or runner, flatware, and pretty china, you can put together a classic and stylish table setting for a memorable meal with friends and loved ones.