St. Supéry Life

Table Setting & Etiquette for the host and the guest

There are a lot of cookbooks out there to help you to entertain at home. However not many on the “proper” table etiquettes. Here are a few basic tips for the host as well as for the guest.

Setting up the table:
Click here for a table diagram
Before you start setting up the table, you need to make sure you have the proper wares to match the menu being served. Glassware for each wine and water, flatware as well as plates and platters for each course.


  • Always serve water, the glass should be at twelve o’clock.
  • To the right of the water glass is the RED wine glass (the larger one)
  • To the right of the red wine glass is the WHITE wine glass (above the knife)
  • The dessert wine glass is behind the red & white glass (as to form a triangle)

Wine is usually poured before the course that it is served with.

Wine etiquette:

  • Hold your glass by the stem
  • In a restaurant, wine is offered to you to taste in the event the wine is corked or damaged, not for personal preference

Place setting:

  • If serving soup it is a good idea to set a Plate (charger) on the table and set the napkin on it. The soup bowl will be served on top of the charger. Both plates will be cleared at the same time (Otherwise set the napkin in the center).
  • The knife goes on your right, blade facing inward.
  • The soup spoon goes on the right side of the knife.
  • The fork on your left except for the oyster fork (on the right of the knife).
  • Dessert fork or spoon above the plate.
  • Bread and Butter plate above the fork, or to the left the fork.
  • Forks are always set with a knife, use each set from the outside in.
  • If a soup spoon is set but no soup served, it is usually set for dishes that have thin sauces or broth.
  • Coffee silverware is brought with the coffee

Service and table manners:
The host will be the first to start eating.
Food is always served to your left and cleared to your right. Beverages are always served to your right. Do not move your glass to the server, let the server go to your glass

Proper service dictates that the table be cleared when all guests are finished.
When you are finish eating, do not leave spoon in cups or small bowls. Also leave your silverware on your plate parallel to each other on a diagonal position.

Never hand your plate to a server or push it away, leave it where it is.

Once seated, unfold your napkins on your lap (you do not want to be interrupted in a conversation by a server) If leaving the table mid-dinner, leave your napkin on your chair. When the meal is over, place your napkin next to your plate, never in the plate.