How to Dress a Banquet Table

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Whether you are hosting a small food party or a great wedding feast, the right table setup can be a tricky decision. Though dressing banquet tables isn’t a daunting task, there are a few guidelines that can help make the process more straightforward. Modern banquet tables may not require any sort of covering to be visually stunning, while more plain ones will benefit from the right linens and other accents. Placement of food, utensils and decorations is another important step in turning an otherwise ordinary banquet table into a spectacular display piece.


Pick a linen whose design, color and material matches the theme of the event. Black or white linens will go with almost any color scheme.

Choose white linens -- preferably cotton for easy cleanup -- for a wedding or other formal event. Use linens made of materials such polyester, vinyl or plastic for outdoor and casual events.

Place a table topper on before the skirt to help secure the skirt and keep items stable. Set down the main linen and make sure that each side is evenly spaced and hangs properly.


Arrange foods in a logical, progressive order. Place appetizers and salads at the beginning of the table, then entrees and desserts.

Use elaborate centerpieces such as sculptures to add an artistic flair to the table. Place foods on displays or inside chafers to help them stand out.

Space place mats evenly around the table as needed if guests are dining at the same table. Place a chair directly in front of each place mat, and utensils on either side of it.

Table Settings

Determine which type of table setting is most suitable for your event. Use a formal dinner table setting for special events such as weddings.

Arrange flatware and dishes in the order in which they will be used during a meal. Leave at least 2 feet between each place setting on the table. Place all tableware 1 inch from the table’s edge.

Place glassware in the following order from right to left: white wine glass, red wine glass, and water glass.