How-To Set Your Table Like A Professional This Holiday Season
Every friend group has a Monica Geller. You know the one – the hostess with the most-est among you and your girl friends. I know this because I am that friend of my friend group. I always joke that Monica Geller (mixed with Joanna Gaines!) is my spirit animal. My heart for hosting has been beating since I was a little girl, and my love for holidays run deep.
But joking aside, I really do love hosting. Not only do I love it, but I also find it really important. We’re even called to hospitality in the bible. I feel like it is one of the gifts that God gave me. So, to me, opening my home to love on others and encourage them is kingdom work. God gave me this home. Why not use it to reach others, right?
“Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
My heart for hosting was actually the heart behind launching my blog and business. This mission of mine is really to help all of my friends (you!) be intentional on creating spaces to gather and celebrating life’s precious moments. Whether that be something big like an upcoming wedding, a party, or even something as simple as having loved ones in your home, it’s about making memories that last a lifetime. And if there’s any time of the year where you’re most likely to gather and make memories with your loved ones, it’s the holidays.
Overcoming Holiday Hosting Pressure
In all seriousness, when it comes to hosting your loved ones for the holidays, there’s a lot of pressure for perfection put on people. It’s honestly not talked about enough how we’re trained by social media to ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ However, it’s not about perfection. It’s not about being the Pinterest perfect hostess with the perfect tablescape and hot cocoa bar. In the end, it’s about gathering together, loving on one another, and making memories.
Making an impression on your guests is a lot more simple than you think. (It just takes a little more love!) I’m a firm believer that it’s the little things that you can do to step up your holiday hosting game that make all the difference. That’s why my philosophy is and always will be to live simply, love generously, and host with heart.
There’s a reason why I put a little more attention and love into the food and the table each time I host people in my home. There’s just something about the level of conversation that happens and the memories made over a meal or cup of coffee that I love so much. Throughout my entire life, some of my favorite memories were made sitting around a table.
How-To Set Your Table Like A Pro
Setting your table is probably one of the most simple steps you can take to leave a lasting impression on your guests. It sets the tone for the meal and it’s the first thing they’ll notice when they walk in your dining room. Not to mention, you can do it with what you already have in your home! So, whether this is your first year hosting the holidays or you’re sticking to just a dinner party with the girls, you’ll be a tablescape pro by the end of this blog post!
Basic / Casual Setting
When it comes to a casual, basic place setting, it’s all about the basics. All you need is a dinner plate (center), a dinner fork (left), a dinner knife (right, with the blade facing the plate), a spoon (right), a beverage glass (top right), and a napkin. With this type of setting, don’t feel like you have to put out extra utensils if they aren’t needed. Save yourself the dishes and spend more time socializing after dinner with your guests.
Take your basic tablesetting to a slightly more elegant level while keeping it light and informal with the addition of just a few utensils.
- Salad Fork – far left
- Soup Spoon – far right
- Wine Glass – top right, next to water/beverage glass
Taking your tablesetting to the most elegant level is actually a lot more simple than you’d think. If you think it’s intimidating to set a formal table, remember that it just takes the addition of utensils and a few more dishes. Make sure to pin the image below for a quick reference to save you time later!
- Salad Plate – on top of the dinner plate
- White Wine Glass – top right, next to each beverage/water glass
- Red Wine Glass – top right, next to the white wine glass
- Bread Plate + Bread Knife – top left
- Dessert Fork – top center, facing right
- Dessert Spoon – top center, facing left
- Charger Plate – beneath dinner plate
- Place Card – top center
- Cup and Saucer – far right
One thing I love to include in any tablesetting, regardless of how formal or informal, is a charger plate beneath the dinner plate. While charger plates are typically reserved for more elegant and formal settings, I love how their addition brings each setting to life and gives them a simple yet beautiful touch that completes the table. Another thing I love to do is to play with the napkin fold. Whether you lay it elegantly off the table, dress it up with a napkin ring, or experiment with a fancy fold, get creative!
Remember: It’s Your Table
Before you get stressed out on the technicality of setting the perfect table, it’s important to remember that there are literally more ways to set a table than you can count. Because, while everyone may try to follow the basic guidelines, everyone does it a tad differently. You don’t have to stick strictly to basic, informal, or formal settings. Like the picture above, I often set mine as some version in between the three! Ultimately, set your table to meet the needs of the meal you’re sharing.
Whether you’re setting your table casual or formal this holiday season or maybe even somewhere in between, it’s your table. What’s important are the people you’re sitting around it with.
Well, friends, I hope this post will help give you some guidance on how to set your table for the holidays this year. Which of these three styles do you gravitate to when setting your table? I often set mine as some version in between the three! Tell me how you like to set your table in a comment below!
Friend and I were just talking about nobody knows how to set a proper table anymore, let alone know what everything is used for. Your diagrams are perfect.
Thank you, Candy! I’m so glad that you loved the post and found it useful! Setting the table is definitely not an art that is used much anymore and I wish it was!
Oh I so needed this, I’m clueless when it comes to table settings! Great photos and I love those sketches too!
Thanks, Raina! I hope this helped you out when planning your holiday meals with family. 🙂
Sharon Glascoe says
Thank you for this post, excited to use it during the holidays. The GIF’s are great too!
No problem, Sharon! I hope this helped you out for the holiday meals with family and friends. 🙂
Jenni LeBaron says
This is wonderful! I wish more people set a formal table for special occasions.
Thank you, Jenni! I totally agree with you! 🙂
Shannon | Shannie Chic says
I love this! Setting a proper table has gone by the wayside and it is so sad!
Thank you, Shannon – I totally agree! I think we need to bring back setting the table!
Thank you for this!! I needed to brush up on my formal place settings!
No problem, Rachel! I hope this helps! 🙂
I love this! I never really knew how to set the table the proper way, this is really helpful!
Thank you, Jessica! I’m so glad that this was so helpful for you. 🙂
platforms and pacifiers - hanna says
Saving this!! I’m always a “here is a stack of plates and the food make your own plate and sit down” kinda gal! But I would love to one day have a great dinner party with a lovely table scape!
Hanna, I use to be the same way! (Frankly, I still do that sometimes!) But when I took the time one day to actually set the table, I fell in love with how darling it looked and felt. I have never been the same way again! 🙂
That setup is gorgeous!!! Such a very helpful and timely post!
Belle | One Awesome Momma
Thank you, Belle! I am so glad that you enjoyed it and found it helpful! 🙂
Carissa Link says
I realized after reading this that I am definitely far beyond classy when it comes to tableware! Haha, I had NO clue arrangements were so detailed, but that setup does look beautiful!
Carissa, that’s totally okay! I feel like the art of setting a table has definitely not been used as much now. Being in the wedding industry is how I’ve picked up on it all. 🙂 Definitely set it however works best for you and your family!
I am the hostess with the mostess of my friends, and we definitely spend a lot of our time together at a table, eating. The drawn-out guide definitely helps with setting the table, especially in different settings.
AmberLynn, I think we may just be the same person. 😉 I’m so glad you found this helpful!
Wow such a helpful post! Totally pinning this for future(party!) reference!
Thank you, Kate! I’m so glad you loved it and found it helpful – make sure to save it for later! 🙂
Kathy m says
The Art of setting a beautiful Table is DEFINITELY a lost Art! I want to add my name to the club My FRIENDs and Family always call me “ MarthA Stewart” as l always set a beAutiful Table no matter what the occasion! It alwa makes Me feel good doing It and I love When Others comment on it! My daughter learned from Me and also sets a beautiful Table! Love the helpful diagRams for those who aren’t sure! Enjoyed your Great post!