At Arbutus Hospitality we are very often setting hundreds of tables per week, whether it be for weddings, dinner parties, corporate events, or even in our restaurants. We have strict procedures and policies to follow to ensure tables are turned around correctly, for the next set of diners.

We have checklists as long as our arms to ensure everything is perfect from glasses being set in the correct place, to napkins being folded correctly and every type of necessary cutlery being present on the table. 

Here we are sharing with you a few top tips for setting your table. 

1. Choose the kind of china that best suits the type of food your family enjoys. Simple foods look and taste best on simple country pottery. White china makes any food look good, as it won’t conflict with the colour of the food. Buying a pattern that’s easy to match is the best bet. 

2. Buy extra soup bowls, as they have great versatility. Besides holding soup, they can be used as salad bowls, liquid condiment holders, small serving dishes, chip bowls and so on.

3. Large glass mugs and large wine glasses are the best bet for informal dining. Anything can be served in them, from water to wine, soft drinks to cranberry juice, with a gracious and generous feeling.

4. Bring colour to the table via cloth napkins. Put two napkins in assorted colours or patterns in one napkin ring to give each setting a colourful pop.

5. Fresh flowers are always nice to have on the table. Remember to keep them reasonable in size. If they’re too bushy, it’s hard to see and talk to each other through them. That sounds obvious, but we’ve all been to restaurants where the centrepiece inhibits communication.

6. Dessert dishes can be different in style and weight from the rest of the china. Soup bowls can be used as dessert dishes if the dessert is ice cream or other such runny after-dinner delight. Lighter, more delicate plates make the dessert seem lighter in calories. A little self-deception? Yes, but why not? We only live once.

7. When serving coffee, set the mood by using either fancy French china or down-to-earth mugs.

8. Always provide a napkin, you never know when a spillage is going to happen and if you have kids dining with you it is almost certain to happen. 

For more information on catering for your next event contact us on