Table Settings

Tableware for a Tea

For each guest, you will need a tea cup and saucer, dessert plate, silverware, and napkin. 

For your serving table, you will need:

Coffee service (optional)
Sugar bowl (tongs for sugar cubes)
Dish for lemon wedges,
Serving silverware
Serving trays & dishes for your foods
Tea Cozy (s)
Dish for teabags (if not using loose tea)


1. Set up two tables--one with the tea and food, and the other for seating.
2. Place your tea service at one end of the serving table plus a milk pitcher, sugar bowl, and plate of lemon slices. Set a coffee service at the other end if desired.
3. Place your finger foods (cookies, scones, muffins and tea sandwiches) on platters in the center of the table along with plates, napkins and cutlery. Now is your chance to use your 3-tiered serving dish.
4. Serving is simple, as it is a buffet and your guests can serve themselves.

5. Tea and other refreshments are replenished as required. 

The perfect tray

Savories on the bottom - Tiny finger sandwiches and appetizers
Scones in the middle- Served with jam and clotted cream
Pastries on the top - Cakes, shortbread, cookies, and sweets

Emily Post suggests "If the tea is of any size, from twenty upwards, the table is set in the dining-room and two intimate friends of the hostess “pour” tea at one end, and chocolate at the other. The ladies who “pour” are always especially invited beforehand and always wear afternoon dresses, with hats, of course, as distinguished from the street clothes of other guests. As soon as a hostess decides to give a tea, she selects two friends for this duty who are, in her opinion, decorative in appearance and also who (this is very important) can be counted on for gracious manners to everyone and under all circumstances."   See the main "Tea Etiquette" page for more from Emily Post.

Table Settings for Dinner

Formal Dinner Place Setting

  1. Napkin
  2. Fish Fork
  3. Dinner or Main Course Fork
  4. Salad Fork
  5. Soup Bowl & Plate
  6. Dinner Plate
  7. Dinner Knife
  8. Fish Knife
  9. Soup Spoon
  10. Bread & Butter Plate
  11. Butter Knife
  12. Dessert Spoon and Cake Fork
  13. Sterling Water Goblet
  14. Red Wine Goblet
  15. White Wine Goblet

Informal Dinner Place Setting

Same as above except remove the following:
  2. Fish Fork
  8. Fish Knife
  12. Dessert spoon and Cake Fork
  14. Red Wine Goblet (depends on type of food being served)
  15. White Wine Goblet (depends on type of food being served)