When invited to a formal dinner, it can be quite overwhelming! Please do not take it too serious, worrying about which utensil to use first. The most important thing is to engage with the other guests, laugh and most of all enjoy the food which has been thoughtfully prepared. I attended quite a few New Year’s Eve celebrations, one was a formal dinner! It was quite superb, the guests were so very happy that our hosts took the time to prepare such a wonderful meal; I had a fantastic time <my cheekbones are still hurting!>.
The guide below will give you all the information for a formal place setting, useful if you are going to plan one and/or are invited! While the place and spacing of table settings are of vital importance, the surprising truth is that the settings DO NOT need not match. If the dinner is formal, sterling silver flatware is preferred, but it does not need to share the same pattern. Dessert settings do not have to match dinner settings, though knives and forks should match. In fact, the table can seem more colorful and the meal more interesting if the settings have some variation. Remember, it’s your vision….have fun with it!
* Diagram courtesy of Protocol School of Texas, American Classical Mahogany Round Dining Table – Boston 1835 (Neoclassical style of the Late Federal Boston Period).