How to set up a banquet table

Setting the table is an aesthetic gesture that helps the food look more appetizing and enjoyable.

If you are offering a banquet with a special occasion, setting the table is your moment to express your gratitude to the guests for agreeing to attend the engagement.

You don’t need to have a fancy dinner service to please your guests, you just need to know how to place all the items in an orderly fashion to make them feel comfortable.

That is why we will leave you some advice on how to set the table, the elements needed to do it correctly and the step-by-step process you must follow to make it an unforgettable evening.

Basic elements when setting the table

Elementos básicos al poner la mesa

When setting the table, certain kitchen utensils are necessary so that diners have the opportunity to enjoy their dishes comfortably and without any reason to interrupt the banquet.

Napkins, glasses, dishes, utensils and the tablecloth are some of the elements needed to serve a good meal in the ideal way.

Keep in mind the considerations to follow for each component and you will see that your banquet will be unforgettable.

Table cloth to set the table

Mantel para poner la mesa

The tablecloths that are used to set the table should preferably be made of cotton fabric.

Non-woven tablecloths and paper are also commonly used. Depending on the type of banquet, one type or another will work.

Nowadays, natural tablecloths are in fashion, and a few wrinkles give them a rustic and bohemian touch. However, these are not the right tablecloths to set the table at a formal banquet.

The colors of the tablecloths you choose will depend on you. But you have to consider what style you want to give to the food and what atmosphere you want to recreate while they are tasting your food.

As a tip, light colours give a feeling of spaciousness and clarity. While brightly coloured tablecloths lose their strength with each wash.



The napkins must match the tablecloth. You can use cloth, non-woven, paper, recycled napkins… there are several options for your banquet

They should be folded in a triangular or rectangular shape parallel to the cutlery and their embroidery, if any, should be visible.

If the recipes you are going to present will leave diners with stained or sticky fingers, it is best to add a paper napkin after they have finished eating.

You can fold the napkins into different shapes to surprise your guests. Take the first step and set the trend among your acquaintances.



All diners must have the same model of tableware, so as not to break the harmony of the banquet.

When arranging them, place the flat plate and the soup plate on top. In case the soup plate is not needed, place two flat plates.

If it is a more elegant meal, you can put a smaller plate before the dinner plate and the soup plate, to make it more beautiful.

If you are going to serve some cream or consommé, replace the deep duck with the cup and its plate.

In case you want to surprise your family with a home-cooked meal, use a mug to serve the soup and place it over the silverware.

There are times when a companion makes a difference. So if you want to serve bread, put it on a plate and place it on the left above the fork.



The cutlery is placed from the outside to the inside, taking into account the hands with which it will be used and the order in which it will be used.

On the left side, the fork must be located. While on the right side, the knife and the spoon will be placed.

Dessert cutlery goes on the right side and is the closest to the plate because it is the last to be used. Then you place the knife with the saw inwards and then the spoon.



Depending on the meals you are going to serve, you can use glasses or cups. They are placed above the dishes in a straight line.

In case you require both, the glass of water goes on the left and the glass of wine on the right.

If you make a toast, the glass is followed by the wine glass. It can also be placed in a triangle with the glass of water and the wine glass.


Centro de mesa

If after setting the table you think it is not very attractive, place a centerpiece to give a different touch to the decoration.

You can choose to make the center with dried flowers, natural flowers or some lighted candles.

In case you choose to use natural flowers, make sure you choose flowers that do not have a very strong aroma, this way they will not interfere with the smells of the dish.

It is ideal to know if any guest is allergic to flowers. Avoid causing discomfort to any of your guests.

Also, you should measure that the center is not excessively high so that all guests can observe each other and have a pleasant conversation.

Other considerations

Otras consideraciones

In addition to knowing how to place the important elements of a banquet, it is essential to calculate that the guests are seated in comfortable spaces that allow their mobility.

It is also necessary to decide who will be in charge of bringing the dishes to the table and picking them up when everyone has finished.

Deciding how the lighting will be handled, whether music will be played during the banquet, or whether people will have access to common items are part of the other considerations when setting the table.

It is important to resolve every aspect so that the food is the best and the guests are amazed during the evening.

Articles for collective use

Artículos de uso colectivo

Utensils such as salt shakers, water jugs, cruets, wine or bread baskets are placed in the center of the table.

Depending on the number of guests and the size of the table, each of these items must be used by 4 or 6 people to reach them without having to order them.

The water is served in a carafe and the wine is presented uncorked in its bottle. At formal banquets, the water and wine are placed on an auxiliary table for the host to serve.

Hot drinks: coffee and infusions

Bebidas calientes: café e infusiones

Hot drinks are served after the dessert tasting, they serve to liven up and invite to continue the conversation between diners at the end of the meal.

If you do not want to follow the conversation at the table, everyone can move to a more comfortable and open space. In this case, the cups and drinks are moved with the help of a trolley.

Step by step when setting the table

Paso a paso al poner la mesa

You may think setting the table is complicated, but it is a protocol that makes it easier for diners to taste.

In addition, setting the table avoids interruptions during the banquet and people asking for items to be brought to them

To set a simple table, but to cater to the needs of the guests, you must

  • The first step is to choose a good place to set the table. For that you have to consider the number of guests and the lighting of the space.
  • When dressing your table, you must select a clean and wrinkle-free tablecloth to preserve the elegance of the occasion. With the tablecloth you avoid that the table receives blows, scratches or humidity during the meal.
  • The napkins you use when setting the table must match the tablecloth. They must be folded and sometimes the cutlery is placed on them.
  • The fork is located on the left side of the tableware, while the knife and spoon will go on the right side in that order.
  • The tableware you are going to use must belong to the same set, to avoid breaking the harmony of the decoration
  • Place a flat plate as a base and a soup plate on top.
  • Two glasses are usually used at the table, one of water and the other of wine, which are placed in front of the plate. However, a glass of cava is placed in case of a formal banquet.
  • Finally, it is important to remember: the dishes are served on the left side of the diner and removed on the right.

No smoking

Prohibido el humo

Not all the guests at your banquet are cigarette, tobacco or electronic cigarette smokers

This habit can make some of your guests uncomfortable, so it’s appropriate that smoking is not allowed at the table.

In addition, the smoke from these products can alter the smell of the food and people will lose their appetite.

So it’s best to set up a smoking area.

With this simple provision, you avoid problems or discomfort between smokers and non-smokers.

Don’t forget the music

No te olvides de la música

If you want to give a musical touch to your banquet, it is best to choose a soft instrumental music.

It must be set at a moderate volume so that diners can speak and hear each other clearly, without having to shout.

In addition, this music helps people to disconnect from their lives and relax, while enjoying delicious dishes in the company of friends or family.

Products to dress the table

Productos para poner la mesa hermosa

To set the table you don’t need to have the most luxurious crockery or silverware, but you do need to have the best quality.

If you are looking for elements for your next meal, we invite you to visit our virtual store: Monouso.

There you will find a wide range of products that you can use to offer the most elegant and unforgettable banquet, without having to invest a fortune.

Tablecloths, cutlery, glasses, crockery, napkins and cups are some of the items you will find on this page. The best thing is that you can choose from a variety of sizes, materials and colours.

Comfort and quality at the best price, are characteristics of the products you will find in our online store. What are you waiting for?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Responsible: Envalia Group, S.L.

Purpose: Gestionar las solicitudes realizadas a través del sitio web, enviar comunicaciones comerciales y, en su caso, compras en línea.

Legitimation: Consentimiento del interesado.

Recipients: Los datos sólo se transmiten a los proveedores que tienen una relación contractual con Monouso.

Rights: Acceso a, Corrección, cancelación, oposición y otros derechos como se explica en la “Información adicional”.

Additional information: You can find additional and detailed information on data protection in our privacy policy