Consider this your cheat sheet for what goes on a crowded table.

Place Setting


You know it's small and off to the side, but is yours on the right or left? Try this hand trick to help you remember: With palms outstretched and facedown, touch index fingers to thumbs and stick your remaining fingers up. Your left hand will form a "b" shape (for bread) and your right hand will form a "d" shape (for drink).


If your neighbor's spoon is so close to your salad fork that you can't tell the two sets apart, just count: Items on your right (most folks' dominant side) will have five letters -- knife and spoon. On the left, it's only four -- fork.


Count the silverware to guess the number of courses. The main-course fork will be closest to your plate; anything outside indicates extra dishes to come. A soup spoon on your right or dessert utensils above the plate are hints too.


Not sure which glass to fill with water and which with wine? Look to your knife. At a formally set table, the tip will point most closely to the water glass. The wine glasses will be slightly more outside.


Sit with enough room for the host to walk behind you. To gauge, place your right hand against the table, your fingers pointing to the left, with your pinky resting alongside the table. Your thumb should reach your torso.


Larger glasses are for red wine; smaller hold the white. Fluted glasses are for sparkling beverages only.