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Thanksgiving Table Setting

Lifestyle + Entertaining

November 20, 2014


With Thanksgiving coming up next week, now is the perfect time to review a formal Thanksgiving Table Setting. (This setting can be used for any situation, not just Thanksgiving, so don’t be afraid to break it out for that Saturday night dinner party as well!)

(a) Service Plate: Also known as a Charger, this large plate serves as a base for the plate holding the first course, which will be brought to the table. As the first course is cleared, the service plate remains. When the entrée is served, the service plate is removed.

(b) Butter Plate: This small plate is placed above the forks to the left of the place setting for rolls and, well, butter

(c) Dinner Fork: The largest of the forks, it is placed to the left of the plate. Other, smaller forks for the other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner for, according to when they will be used during the meal.

(d) Fish Fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork will be placed farthest to the left of the dinner fork since it will be the first fork to be used.

(e) Salad Fork: If salad is being served after the entrée, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the salad plate. If the salad is to be served first, followed by the fish, then the forks are arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

(f) Dinner Knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.

(g) Fish Knife: This is a specially shaped fish knife that is placed to the right of the dinner knife.

(h) Salad Knife: While there is no salad knife in the illustration, if used, it would be placed to the left of the dinner knife, next to the dinner plate. If the salad will be served first, followed by the fish, then the knives would be arranged (left to right): dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.

(i) Soup or Fruit Spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a fruit course, the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives

(j) Oyster Fork: If shellfish will be served, the oyster fork goes to the right of the spoons. It is the only fork to ever be  placed on the right side of the plate.

(k) Butter Knife: A small spreader placed diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right, blade down.

(l) Glasses: There can be up to five glasses placed so that smaller ones are in the front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right will be the champagne flute (lb). In front of these will be the red (lc) or white (ld) wine glasses and a sherry glass (le).

(m) Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger, if used, or in the space for the plate.

General Tips:

  • Knife blades are always placed with cutting edge toward the plate
  • No more than three of any item should be on the table, with the exception of the oyster fork in addition to the other three forks. If more than three courses will be served before dessert, the utensil for the fourth course is brought with the food. Dessert spoons and forks are usually brought in on the dessert plate just before dessert is served.


Thanksgiving Table Setting | Wedding Planners Birmingham Alabama

Christina Sloan Events is a Wedding Planning and Floral Design Studio, offering Full Service Wedding and Event Planning, Design, Management, and Day and Month of Coordination | Serving Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery Alabama, and the surrounding Southeast region | Destination Services Available Worldwide

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