Table Settings for Small Dinner Parties

It’s fun to have friends over to enjoy a good meal.  If you’re planning a dinner party for 6-8 people a little bit of planning and you can set a very nice table without busting the bank.

Rule No. 1

How many times have you sat down in a restaurant and didn’t know which bread plate was yours?  Well here is a little trick to remember…eat left, drink right.  Your drink glass is on your right and your bread plate is on your left.  An easy way to remember it is drink and right both have five letters.  Kind of like port and starboard on a ship.  Once you have that down, the rest is easy.

Table Cloths

The great thing about using a table cloth and cloth napkins is that you can wash them and reuse them.  Not as wasteful as paper.  You can get really nice permanent press table cloths for under $15 at Wal-Mart or Garden Ridge.  Pick a color that you can use for different occasions.  If you get a solid color like a beige or maybe navy or red you can use napkins with a pattern.  If you choose red you can also use it for Christmas.  Be sure to measure you table to get the right size.  It will need to extend over the edge about 8 inches.

Pick a Theme

You can either pick a theme or decide what you’re serving first.  For example…you’re having spaghetti so your theme can be Italian.  You can use a red table cloth with red checkered napkins or a beige cloth with a wine theme napkin.  Or maybe your party is a little more relaxed.  You can have a beach theme or a picnic.  The beige cloth would work here too.  Just take a blanket or beach towel to put over the table cloth as if you were outside on the ground or beach.  Have fun with it!

The Center Piece

It’s nice to put something in the center of the table.  You can use a small flower arrangement or candles or just about anything you already have.  If you use flowers be sure to make the arrangement low enough to see over,  you don’t want to interfere with conversation across the table.  Let your theme be your guide.  During the summer, have a Picnic theme and use kid’s beach toys like buckets and shovels.  Just lay them down the center of the table.  Add a couple of small beach balls and you have your center piece.  No need for sand!

Setting the Table

This part is really easy.  You should always set two forks to the left of the plate with a knife and spoon to the right.  If you’re having a salad the salad fork will be the smaller one and on the outside.  Put the knife edge facing the plate on the right with the spoon on the outside.  Your water glass goes above the knife and your bread plate goes above the forks.  If you’re not serving bread, you can use the plate for the salad.  Short of room, just put the salad plate or bowl on the dinner plate.  You can collect them after that course is done.

Now you’re ready to party!  What kind of ideas do you have for a dinner party theme?

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