Setting a Formal Table
Along with a well-presented meal, an attractively set formal table makes guests feel special and creates a glamorous, even romantic, ambience to any occasion. It adds a touch of elegance that translates into unforgettable dining pleasures.
Here are some ideas for a delightful formal dining experience:
- Set the mood with music (jazz, classical or any relaxing music) and soft, dramatic lightning in the form of unscented candles.
- A formal sit-down meal may consist of:
– Three courses (first course, main course, and dessert)
– Four courses (first course, main course, salad served separately, and dessert); or
– Five courses (first course, fish, main course, salad and dessert)
- Create drama with table runners in classy fabrics like organza and velvet. Placemats are fine if the number of your guests is four or less. But if you have more than four guests or your table will be filled with dishes, use a tablecloth instead. For a traditional formal affair, white linen is the classic choice.
- The classic formal centerpiece is a flower arrangement which should not be higher than 16 inches so it does not block anyone’s view. Use inexpensive flowers like mums, roses and daises or those you can pick from your own garden.
- Menu cards add a sophisticated flair to your setting and can serve as souvenirs for your guests. On each 5×7 inch-card, write or type the date, the celebration, the foods and the wine/s.
- At a formal meal, each course is served individually, on its accompanying dinnerware. Fill the guests’ plate with food in the kitchen, like they do in restaurants, and carry them to the table in batches. Serve the plates from the right.
- Traditionally, napkins is silver napkin rings add the finishing touches to an elegant table setting. However, for semi-formal settings, the traditional white napkins can be adorned with contemporary materials such as fresh flower garlands or colored ribbons that match the motif and them of the party.
- Serve coffee and tea after the meal or together with dessert.
- A great option: put a small, inexpensive gift at each guest’s place setting.