The Diaper Diaries

but hopefully not full of crap

Works For Me Wednesday- How to Set a Table May 20, 2008

Filed under: Works for me Wednesdays — thediaperdiaries @ 9:43 pm

  When we got married (7 years ago!!), we didn’t register for china. I know it is what you are supposed to do and the registry lady sure seemed to want us to, but in all honesty, I just didn’t see us as china people. I can remember a very small handful of times we got out china growing up and my mom basically told me I could have her china since she wasn’t using it. I actually really like her china, so we just registered for some upscale every day plates and called it a day.

So if I were to be honest with you (and frankly, when aren’t I?) I also don’t enjoy a formal place setting because I am always way confused about how to set one. I know knives go inside the spoon, but I can’t recall which side they go on. Glasses to the right or left? This is too much stress for my little brain when I am already trying to cook a meal and look cute!

It’s even worse when you are out at a fancy event. There are so many forks, glasses, plates. It’s like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. How many times have you been seated at a wedding and accidentally started drinking out of your neighbors glass. No…just me then…alrighty then.

Anwho, I was delighted when I picked up Real Simple (the best magazine ever) and discovered some handy tips for navigating a formal place setting.

  • When you are at a wedding and confused about which glass to sip, picture your fingers making an OK sign. Your left hand makes a “b” for bread and your right makes a “d” for drink. I will pause while you try it yourself. I would suggest however you don’t REALLY do this when at a formal dinner unless you follow it up by making the “L” sign on your forehead.
  • When setting the table, remember this little tip: Fork- 4 letters- LEFT; Knife- 5 letters- RIGHT.
  • All flatware should be placed about a half an inch apart and line up with the bottom of the dinner plate.
  • Apparently the knife blade should point toward the plate. Emily Post says it is impolite to allow a knife blade face other guests. Geez, it’s not like you are pointing it AT them.
  • Serve a lot of wine so that nobody really cares where the silverware goes or if you eat their bread accidentally (That’s not a Real Simple tip, that’s a freebie from me).

For more tips, head over to Rocks in my Dryer.


24 Responses to “Works For Me Wednesday- How to Set a Table”

  1. Instead of serving lots of red wine, I cook with margaritas. Come see! 😀

    For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen, the home of Vintage Thingies Thursdays.

  2. I’ve been using that 4 letter and 5 letter trick for years! I’m loving the OK sign though. I’ll be doing that discretely under the table I’m sure sometime.

  3. Jen Says:

    Great tips!! Thanks!

  4. Nicole Says:

    The “b” and “d” thing has saved me on many occasions…usually at a wedding when I’ve already had too much wine 🙂

    We didn’t register for china, either, when we married almost 9 years ago. I still have no regrets.

  5. Andrea Says:

    Thank you so much – I am always getting it turned around!!

  6. Tara Says:

    Thanks for your tips lol I have never heard it taught that way. My mother brought us up to be very proper and have all the nice dishes out ect.. for all meals.. but my word they way you explained today would have made things a bit more simple in learning 🙂 lol

  7. Debs Says:

    I was a bridesmaid at my aunt’s wedding when I was about 7. I accidentaly drank out of ny neighbours glass (the vicar’s sparkling wine!) and I hated the taste! And I’d finished my orange juice already, and my meanie sister wouldn’t let me have any of hers.
    Gee, d’ya think it scarred me for life or anything?! After all, I’m 26 now, and I still haven’t found an alcoholic drink that I like the taste of, and I can still remember how icky it tasted.

  8. Spoon also has five letters- Right. I saw these tips somewhere else, and they actually are helping me remember- not that I set the table for any nice dinners or anything.

  9. My favorite is the freebie tip from you! This also helps if dinner didn’t turn out quite the way you planned. A few glasses of wine helps the guest’s compliments flow….

  10. Alana Says:

    Great tips – I have to call my mother every time I set a fancy table!

  11. Jendeis Says:

    Love the OK sign tip – never knew that. I think your last tip, however, is the best contribution! The only reason to have dinner parties is so that we can enjoy one another. 🙂

  12. warillever Says:

    Thank you!

    Those are simple tips that even *I* might remember.

  13. Nichole Says:

    I love the 4-letter, 5-letter tip. I’d never heard that before! Thanks!!

  14. anne Says:

    The back of my Betty Crocker book has all the table setting advice I will ever need, including pictures! SO handy.

    We actually bought ourselves our china. We went to one of those “here’s a free vaca if you come to our sales pitch” thing and bought our pots & pans along with china, crystal, flatware. Sure, we’re pretty sell-able, but I am so glad we did! I use those all the time, especially after I was able to get three more place settings on ebay. I’d love to have an even 8, but I’m happy with 7…

  15. Amy Says:

    These are great Jill! I totally tried the OK sign and got the “b” and “d” worked out. The fork and knife I remember from being a kid and having to set (and clear!) the table every night. I love Real Simple too. But in my quest to clear the clutter, magazine subscriptions were the first to go. =( Thanks for the tips!

  16. I love these! I especially like the “L” on the forehead! Thanks!

  17. jubilee Says:

    We didn’t register for china either (at a fancy schmancy dept. store) and the sales lady was completely offended. She kept hovering and was almost afraid to let us have the scanner thingy. Then we headed to Target to register and had a great time!

    Love Real Simple. Great tips. Thanks

  18. Heather Says:

    I actually learned how to set a table formally in home ec in middle school. For some strange reason I have always remembered everything I learned in that class in the 7th grade. Go figure!

    When we got married we also didn’t register for china for the same reason. And now here I sit with my husband’s grandmother’s old china – an entire set and it’s beautiful and holds so much more meaning than something I would have registered for when we got married. There’s no telling what I would have picked out – for everyday dishes I got “Almost Round” from Crate and Barrel – they were funky, but never fit in my cabinets. Oh well …

    It is good to know, though, thanks for sharing 🙂


  19. Heather Says:

    Thanks for that last freebie tip! Get ’em sloshed and no one will notice or even care!! Great tips!

  20. Nash Says:

    We didn’t register for china either, it was (is) a waste in our house. 🙂 Thanks for the great tips. I love the 4/5 letter trick!

  21. Storm Says:

    I have always been fascinated with setting the table because I like to do it all fancy, etc., for the holidays, etc. I love tablescapes.

    I love your freebie tip… too funny.

  22. Abby Says:

    Okay, I totally made a “b” with my left & “d” with my right. Before I read, “I will pause while you try it yourself”. Yeah, I laughed out loud at myself.

    Thanks for sharing the great tips. My daughters are at a good age to learn how to set a proper table. Our oldest is a visual, hands on learner type–this will be perfect for her (who am I kidding, me).


  23. Real Simple, you have come to the rescue once again.

    I heart Real Simple 🙂

  24. I learned the tip – think BMW: Bread, meal, water from right to left.

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