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Many people would like to throw an upscale formal dinner party, but are put off by the complexity of how to set the table. This is no longer a problem though as this step by step guide will show you the correct etiquette. Once you have set the table a few times it will become like second nature, and you can always come back to this site should you forget.

1. Plates and Bowls

The plates and bowls should be set out directly in front of the diner, except the bread and butter plate, which shall be discussed later. The dinner plate should be put down first, as this plate will be used last. On top of this the soup bowl and plate should be placed.

2. Cutlery

The forks should be placed to the left of the dinner plate. Moving from the outside in the order is fish fork, dinner (main course) fork, and salad fork. Dinner party etiquette dictates that this is the order that the cutlery should be used, moving from the outside to the inside.

To the right of the dinner plate the order is, again moving from the outside in, soup spoon, fish knife, and dinner knife. Again, this is the order that each guest will use the cutlery.

To the front of the dinner plate, the dessert spoon and cake fork are placed horizontally. The cake fork is put nearest the dinner plate, with its head facing to the right. The dessert spoon is placed above this with its head facing the left.

3. Napkin

The napkin is placed to the left of the fish fork, its length running parallel with the length of the cutlery.

4. Goblets

Starting with the white wine goblet, place this just above and to the right of the soup spoon. Place the red wine goblet above the white wine goblet, and one goblets width left of it. Place the sterling water goblet above the red wine goblet, and one goblets width to the left of it. The goblets should form a diagonal line, beginning above and just to the right of the soup spoon (white wine) and finishing three goblets length above the dinner knife (sterling water).

5. Bread and Butter Plate and Butter Knife.

The bread and butter plate should be placed to the left of the dessert spoon and cake fork. The butter nife is placed horizontally across the top of the bread and butter plate, with its head facing to the left.

Dinner party etiquette dictates that the waiter or waitress serve the dessert(s) on separate plates or bowls after the main course has been consumed.