The proper placement of wine & water glasses on a formal table setting

Written by michael mason
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The proper placement of wine & water glasses on a formal table setting
(table setting 3 image by Aaron Kohr from

When you host a formal dinner party, you want to have the cutlery and glasses set on the table correctly to conform with dining etiquette. Cutlery should be set on the table for each individual course and a glass for each anticipated drink.

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In a formal place setting, forks go on the left, knives on the right with the first to be used on the outside, the one to be used in next course in one from the first, and so on. Soup spoon goes to the right of the knives. The dessert spoon and fork are placed above the place setting with the fork closest to the diner.


Glasses are placed above the knives in order from left to right -- water goblet, white wine glass, red wine glass and champagne flute. If you're not serving champagne or a specific wine, do not set the glass. The glasses may be angled a little, with the water goblet furthest from the diner.


If courses are to be served formally, the dinner plate should be placed between the cutlery with a smaller plate for hors d'oeuvres on top of it and, if necessary, a soup bowl on top.

Serving and Clearing

Food is always served from a guest's left, empty plates removed from the right, and drinks served from the right-hand side.

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