The colorful, decorative, animated, Cuban home I grew up in has been the root of inspiration for my passion for beauty and design. I remember being a young girl, weaving through the stylish guests at my parents’ parties, noticing their rings, and their fabrics, my creativity hatching before I knew it.
My mother has placed in me a sincere appreciation for things that may appear antiquated to the world, but are precious to me. Table setting is one. I love it and even more, I love how my mother takes such pride in it. There’s something about careful thoughtfulness and the ability to create beauty in our homes and even in the seemingly mundane things, that glorifies womanhood and the beauty of our design.
When I’m styling dinner parties for my clients or setting the table for my own parties, I keep in mind that the aesthetics and display of the table will also affect the taste of the food and even the behavior of the dinner guests – because elegant events put us on our best behavior. The table setting sets the tone for the dinner party.
I thought I’d share my mother’s table setting, so you will be able to use for the holidays or for the next time you have a delightful dinner party.
When you sit down to a table, each piece laid out tells you what will be served. Use this illustration to guide you.
- For the formal table setting, the utensil placement is arguably the most important aspect. For whatever course comes first, you’ll need that utensil in the farthest right or left, far away from the plate. The next course’s utensil will sit next to that, and so on, until you reach the last course’s utensil, which will sit closest to the plate.
- Silverware should be lined up evenly from the very ends of each utensil, so there is symmetry.
- The knives tell you that you are going to have fish and meat or chicken.
- The forks tell you that you are going to have the same—and a salad.
- The glasses tell you that you will have white wine, red wine, champagne and water. The white wine will go with the fish, which is a first course. Red wine will go with the meat, and the champagne, with desert. Another option is to start with champagne and serve throughout the meal, with no other wine. Water glasses will remain on the table throughout the meal.