The 'BMW' Method For Perfect Table-Setting Etiquette

woman setting a table
woman setting a table - Image Source/Getty Images

Food is the star of all dinner parties, so meal planning is usually foremost in the minds of hosts. In addition to selecting perfect yet underrated finger foods for your next dinner party, you should also consider presentation. For instance, proper table setting is important for aesthetic reasons, but it can also spare your guests some confusion when they sit down to eat. In this case, the BMW method is crucial for an organized and visually appealing table. BMW refers to bread-meal-water, which describes the order in which items are laid out in front of each guest (from left to right).

With this method, the bread plate sits to the left of the dinner plate, while the drinking glass is situated on the right. BMW table settings ensure that guests know which plates and glasses are theirs, as they can look to the center dinner plate for guidance. The bread-meal-water approach also creates uniformity from one place setting to the next, which is key when you want to create a picture-perfect atmosphere for guests attending your dinner party.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Proper Placement Promotes A Freer Range Of Motion

friends enjoying a dinner party
friends enjoying a dinner party - Skynesher/Getty Images

The BMW table setting approach benefits aesthetic appeal and organization. Keeping guests comfortable at the dinner table is equally important, which is why you must properly position the bread plate and drinking glass in relation to the meal plate. In the interest of symmetry, you may feel the desire to place each item directly on the side of the dinner plate. However, this can leave your guests feeling a bit cramped as they reach for utensils and other items.

Instead, place the bread slightly above the dinner plate to the left of the main dish and position the drinking glass in the same area on the right of the dinner plate. Now your guests can enjoy their meal without concerns about knocking into their bread plate or beverage. While accidentally spilling your drink is not among the worst etiquette mistakes you can make, it will create a mess and potentially put a halt to dinner (at least until the spill is addressed).

How To Position Other Items Using The BMW Method

utensils around a dinner plate
utensils around a dinner plate - Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

You're probably going to serve more beverages than just water during your dinner party. In this case, you'll need to carefully position the different glasses in relation to the meal plate. Do so by staggering the glasses slightly, with the water glass first and any additional beverages staggered to its right. This can include glasses of wine (and here are a few of the best sweet wines sure to impress your dinner guests), as well as cups and saucers for coffee -- although cups and saucers aren't likely to make an appearance before dessert arrives.

As for utensils, these are situated around the dinner plate. On the left, the salad fork comes first, with the dinner fork on its right. On the right of the dinner plate goes the knife, with the soup spoon positioned to its right. Atop the dinner plate (between the bread plate and drinking glasses) is the dessert fork and spoon. You may not include all these utensils in your table layout, but it helps to know where items should go if you ever feel compelled to have a fancy dinner party. With a solid table layout in place, you now have one less thing to worry about when planning your next dinner party.

Read the original article on Daily Meal