How to Set the Table for Any Party

Posted by on

Parties can come in any size, from an intimate dinner for two to a wedding for five hundred.  No matter how many people are coming to eat your table needs to match the tone of the party.  If I invite friends over for casual cocktails and grilling out, I’m not going to set the table with my finest china and stemware.  If it’s for a multiple course meal where the invite denotes formality, my table will need to be laid out to match.

Table Setting Etiquette

These are the basics for laying out a formal and informal table.  Of course that’s not a set rule by any means.  If you aren’t serving white and red wine, you wouldn’t set out both glasses.  I like to plan based on two things, formality and menu.  For a casual party with an open bar, I will set the table with just a water glass.  The guest will usually bring their cocktail of choice to the table.  During a formal dinner I will pair the wine with the meal beforehand so I know what stemware needs to be set.

Mother's Day


At my Mother’s Day dinner this year, we had a multiple course dinner that called for red and white wine and champagne with dessert so I laid out each glass.

Knowing how I need to lay out each place setting also helps me decide how I will decorate the table.  If it’s going to be a formal setting requiring a lot of pieces, I will try to keep my centerpieces more simple to not crowd the table.  When I have a simple, informal setting I try to add layers by mixing patterns and textures, layering colors with placemats and napkins.  This gives the table a more full feeling.

Equestrian Table Setting


Anytime I start to set the table I like to lay out a few pieces together.  Getting an idea of how things are going to look before I grab every piece out of my cabinets.  Above, I originally had navy glasses with silver utensils– I immediately knew this wasn’t going to look right.  Instead of having to put away twelve place settings when it didn’t work, I only had to swap out a few items.

I love to pay attention to place settings when I attend weddings, go out to eat or other friends parties.  You can get some great inspiration from others.  I remember the first time I saw someone double a napkin ring as a place card in order to save space on the table.  While it’s common now, especially in weddings, at some point this was breaking traditional settings.  This is how I dive into party planning, there are basic guidelines but in the end it’s your party and your rules, don’t be afraid to break the mould!



The post How to Set the Table for Any Party appeared first on Pomegranate Journal.

dining etiquette formal guests Have A Seat At Our Table informal party place setting Pomegranate stemware tablescape

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

POM Journal

accessories ale-8 Angela Beck anthropologie arrangement art artist Asbury Park asheville audrey hepburn bahamas baltimore bamboo beach behind the scenes biltmore blue bluegrass bourbon bourbon glasses breakfast breeders cup Brian O'Connor bright british Broadway brooklyn Bruce Springsteen ceramic ceramics champagne cheerful chef cherry chicken china chocolate churchill downs cinco de mayo clothes coastal cocktails craft crafting dad Dale Chihuly dam David Bowie decor decorate decorating derby design dining dinner dinner plate dinnerware DIY do it yourself dress drink egg england english entertaining entrepreneur equestrian estate etiquette etsy exhibit family fascinator father father's day festive fine china fish floral floral arrangement flower flowers foal fold folding food formal fourth of july fresh fun garden gardening gingham glass goache goldie paley green grill guests hand block hand stamping handblock handmade hat hats Have A Seat At Our Table Have A Taste herbs de provence High Fidelity historic holiday home decor honey honeywood horse horse racing horses hot brown how to How We Play hydrangea ice informal inspiration Ireland Italy Jameson Jersey Shore jewelry jockey Join the Fun josh smouse julep june kentucky kentucky derby kentucky oaks ladies Lady Bosses landscape lavendar lemon lexington lifestyle lime lobster log lotus louisville lunch marbling mare margarita may meal memorial day midway milliner mint mint julep mothers day music nametag napkin napkin folding napkin ring napkins Nashville New York City nordstrom north carolina oaks ocean oragami orange ouita michel outdoor Pack Your Bags painting pancake panzanella paper party patio pattern peach peaches philanthropy pick six picnic pimlico pineapple pink pinterest place card place setting placemats planning plate playlist playlists Pomegranate pomegranate inc pomegrante pool pottery preakness print provence queen elizabeth quiche racing raffia rafia ranunculus recipe recipes red red white and blue resortwear restaurant rosemary verey roses royal ascot royal family salad salmon scenic silver silverware sire socialite spode spring stallion stamps starship stationary stemware storm strawberry summer syrup tabelscape table table setting table top tablecloth tablescape tablesetting tabletop Take a Seat taste textile design The Big Apple The Fast and The Furious things to do thoroughbred tour tourism trader joes trainer travel tree triple crown tulip trot tulips tuscan tutorial U2 Uncategorized vegetable vine weanling wedgewood Where We Jetset To white woodford reserve yellow