Proper way to set a table

If you have read my blog for awhile, you will know I am an “etiquette expert”.

If you have read my blog for awhile, you will know that I am not.

Because of my expertise/non-expertise in etiquette, I thought it was a great time to educate you (and myself) in how to properly set a holiday table and a few great etiquette tips to get us through the meal.

Curious? Are you an expert?

Let’s start with pulling the basic table setting. Brought to you via Emily Post……

Emily Post Basic Place Setting

Ok, I can handle this. It is not how we eat…but I can handle it.

Now….take it up a notch.

Brought to you via

Ok….I’m not too overwhelmed yet…..starting to sweat a little but I’m still thinking it is doable.

Although I did have to read the illustration to find out the difference between #4 and #9. I think I would have layered them….incorrectly. Also….you guys knew this, I’m sure…but I have never, ever, ever made sure my plate was exactly 2″ from the edge of the table. Noted!

Ok……..I think that is probably as fancy as I would get but I know you guys….you get fancier. Ready?
This is brought to you by a great blog to find proper etiquette…
She would probably run screaming from one of my dinner parties. Who am I fooling…I don’t have dinner parties but I do have friends over to eat.

Here you go….I know you are going to think I am redneck but this one just wears me out looking at it.

Ok. So, you are not overwhelmed with all of this, I know it. It’s not necessarily the amount of dishes, utensils, glasses, silverware that overwhelms me….it’s the amount of stuff to remember when using all of this stuff that overwhelms me.

For instance, it’s rules like this from the “Classy Womans” site, that make me cringe, knowing I am the world worst dinner guest.

Also upon finishing your meal, place your silverware at a 4:00 to 10:00 angle with the knife blade facing you. This position will let your server know that your plate is ready to be cleared.

I missed that one for my whole entire life. I’m a 9:00 girl. Left the hostess hanging……

All items that are in need of being passed around the table from person to person should be done in a clockwise fashion (to your left).

What do you do when you are sitting in a dinner party of 8. The guy on your right wants the salt and pepper…..don’t you think he will wonder what in the ha’yeck you are doing, turning your back on him and starting to pass the salt and pepper the opposite way?

Also, do not butter your roll or slice of bread all at once; break off pieces and butter each one at a time as you eat them. *You’ll notice this is the same theme to eating your entree, cutting before each opposed to slicing everything up ahead of time.

I knew this one but it has always bugged me. I think…and no one asked me what I think…but I think that it makes you look “caveman’ish” to keep tearing your bread apart. So there! I keep the rule and tear away but it always reminds me of the “man hands” episode on Seinfield. You have got to  watch it. It not only reminds me of the episode but I find it my duty to tell everyone at the dinner party of the episode as we all tear apart our bread. Every.Single.Time. Note to self…stop doing that. Just break your bread Rebecca and keep your mouth shut.

Take small bites and avoid mentioning that you are “stuffed” or “really full” at the table as it is not classy to overeat.

This one hits a little too close to home because I have left so many classy hostesses cleverly hiding their shocked expressions when I state at the end of the meal….”I am so stuffed I could throw up.” Yep….I have done that…….what is wrong with me people? My husband has asked me to stop saying that by the way. I am a bad whiner about being stuffed. OMG. I am a dinner guest from He-double-toothpicks!

As always, if you have been invited into someones home for a meal, it is a good idea to mail out a thank you card no more than 48 hours after attending the event.


Of course, before leaving, be sure to thank the host for the invitation and meal and thank the other guests at your table for their dining conversation.
My friends would look at me like I had rocks in my head if I thanked them for “their dining conversation.”

I just pictured turning to my dad at the end of Thanksgiving dinner and saying…”Daddy, thank you for your dining conversation.” Ha ha…hoo…hoo…..He would not know what to say.

All in all. I can handle the place settings if I choose to have a formal Thanksgiving feast but as always when brushing up on etiquette, I see how off I have been!
I have a feeling that I have left many a hostess with a concealed grimace and this picture in their head as I leave their house proclaiming my compliments of being so stuffed I could throw up.
I think I need to nip that phrase from my vocabulary. Romeo will thank me.

You can find the “Redneck Christmas” photo here.

So are you guys all pros?

How were you with the reminder of etiquette.
Know them all?

How about the place settings?

Going to do a formal Thanksgiving? Buffet? Or the above photo?

Let me know.

I love hearing from you all!



PS. If you are joining from one of the awesome linky parties, follow me on Facebook! You won’t want to miss all of the awesome tips! I can’t wait to meet you! Love, Me

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0 thoughts on “Proper way to set a table

  • November 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Hey Becca!
    I mean… Greeting Rebecca,

    yes I was raised learning a lot of etiquette. (Thanks for showing me how to spell that. ) Im going to my dad’s Abbey, St. Bede’s in Peru, IL for Thanksgiving dinner. The monks do a fabulous feast. Ill have to do a post all about it after and about my dad (80 yrs old now) and why he is a Benedictine monk now.

    – KAT –

  • November 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I’ve been eating at the coffee table for so long I didn’t even remember the first table setting!!!

    Thanks for the refresher!

  • November 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Dang, I’d be lost at any dinner that provided so many things!!! I can barely remember where the utensils go when I set the table!! 🙂

    The Victorians had tons of tools for the table…I guess life was slower and they had time to think of strawberry spoons??

    Let’s just say that I’ve had more than one buffet dinner due to my lack of skills!

    But, being a sparkling dinner guest is a must!! 🙂

  • November 10, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    way way way too formal and complicated for Sweet Nothings…HOWEVER…it was very nice of you to pull all this up for us. :))

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Well, you’ve taught me something! I don’t say “I’m so full I could throw up”. No. I say “I’m so full I could puke”. Guess that’s out now, huh?
    Thanks, kiddo! Great post, as always!

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:45 am

    I can’t stop laughing!! I keep picturing the salt and pepper being passed away from the person on your right!! Hilarious!! And thanking people for the dining conversation…lol!! I love it!! Thanks for sharing!!


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