How to Set an Outdoor Dinner Table

From our series "How to Set Up for an Outdoor Summer Dinner Party."

This is one part of our four part series in which we show you how to set up for an outdoor dinner party. See the rest of the videos below.

We know you’re thinking, “How to set a table? Plates are in the cabinet. Forks are in the drawer. Figure it out.” But unless you want a melee of people tromping about your kitchen and the endless chorus of “Where do you keep the cups?” we suggest making it easier for everyone. (That includes you.) In fact, you may even ask the first guest to arrive to help while you make you both a drink.

Watch the how-to and see the instructions below.


How to:

1. Place a long runner or table cloth across the table. It looks good and makes for easy clean up.
2. Presentation is important. It goes: dinner plates, salad plate, linen, knife, dinner fork, salad fork — in that order. Followed of course by wine glasses, unless people are already drinking from theirs.
3. Decorate with centerpieces and candles. You can try wax candles, but electric candles are less of a hazard and never blow out in the wind.
4. Wait until guests are ready to eat before laying out finger foods, salads and drinks. (You don’t want bugs to get there before they do.)

See the other how-tos:
Make a summer salad
Make sangria
Make a lemon jar centerpiece