New research has revealed that only three out of 10 Brits are confident in their ability to correctly set the perfect dining table!
Following the research, we teamed up with the UK’s leading etiquette coach and expert, William Hanson, to help Brits design the perfect dining setting for the upcoming festivities. Here, he advises on how to create a flawless dining table:
Preparing for your guests
“When your guests arrive at the dining table, seeing the table neatly set out and sparkling clean will reassure them that the food to follow is going to be decent. Before you even touch the cutlery and plates, position the chairs around the table to get them evenly spaced. If you are not using a table cloth, place mats are needed and these should be placed half an inch from the edge of the table.”
Laying the cutlery
“Next, the cutlery. As diners, we use the cutlery from the outside of the setting and work inwards and so you should set the cutlery accordingly, making sure that your diners can follow this rule when they come to eat.
“All knives and spoons are placed to the right-hand side of the plate. Forks are set to the left. Check that they are smear-free: dishwashers can leave smudges and watermarks so use a slightly damp, clean tea towel to buff these away. For the traditional Christmas meal of roast turkey followed by Christmas pudding, you will need four pieces of cutlery. A big fork, a smaller knife, a big knife and a pudding spoon.”
Placing the glasses
“Glasses are placed at the end to avoid knocking them over and also to stop dust collecting in them – so if you are setting the table the day before the meal, it’s best to hold off setting the glasses until the day itself.
“Glasses are placed in the upper right-hand section of the setting; the wine glass should be directly above the knife; the water glass just to the left of that. Make sure you hold glasses from the stem and not the bowl to avoid leaving unappetising finger-marks.”
The finishing touches
“No Christmas table is complete without crackers. These should be placed on top of the napkin, on the bread plate, to the left-hand side of the setting.”
Test your table setting knowledge with our quiz now: