• Thursday Tip-Off: Setting a Table

    Our Thursday Tip-Off series is a weekly set of tips, suggestions, and tricks for making you a better-informed person. You're welcome.

    With a lot of big meals before us, it's time to learn how to properly set a table and create a totally adult-looking place to chow down. (That means no using plastic forks from the dining hall.) Here's to learning where all the utensils go and whipping up the perfect holiday-themed centerpiece for your guests. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. First of all, when setting the table, make sure that all the utensils are in their proper spots. Emily Post is, like, the table-setting expert, and this guide is very easy to follow. Everything is set in a logical spot - for example, utensils are in the order that you use them (as we've all learned from Titanic, "start at the outside and work your way in"), and glasses are placed at the top right of the plate to make it easier for people to reach for them. Speaking of reaching, if you know you have lefties coming to dinner, try your best to sit them at the table corners so they aren't continually bumping elbows with a righty all night long.

    2. If you're going all out and having salads with your meal (and using proper salad bowls), then those go directly on top of your main dinner plate. (This is usually for any dinner that's an informal 3-course meal.) Any bread plates will go at the top right of your main dinner plate. If you have separate butter knives for everybody, those are laid across the top of the bread plates. Once everything is set, the napkin is placed on top of the main plates.

    3. To really #elevate your table, make a cute centerpiece! There are a billion tutorials of cute ideas out there on the internet, but for any upcoming Thanksgiving events, we're partial to throwing some decorative gourds on the table. They're super easy to find, look elegant without too much work, and are inexpensive to buy (which means you won't feel bad throwing them out at the end of the night when you realize there's literally nothing else you can use a gourd for). Bonus: spray paint them gold if you want to get really fancy. Another easy option? Flowers! In our recent Friendsgiving post with Tessa Barton, she used a few bouquets of autumnal-colored flowers to decorate her table and the result was amazing and extremely photogenic.

    Photos via Tessa Barton

    4. If you're having a big party with tons of people, take the seating chart into consideration. (Oh, you weren't going to make a seating chart? Make one!) Seat people next to each other who will have something to talk about and who tend to get along. For more informal party settings with friends, this isn't as important, but we still like having seating arrangements to cut down on confusion. Plus, it gives you the chance to make a cute name-card for everyone. We're pretty partial to these Instax place settings that give the table a more personal touch.

    5. When setting the table for dessert, the setup is very easy. You need a small dessert plate, a cup and saucer, and a fork and spoon. The fork sits above the plate with the tines facing right and the cup and saucer go to the right of this. Once the dessert is over, places can be cleared!

    To see more inspiration photos, follow UO on Instagram and check out our Friendsgiving with Tessa Barton post