How To Set Your Dining Table With Crystal Glassware

How to set your dining table with crystal glassware

Can’t wait to have your favourite people seated around your dining table? A beautifully set table is a fantastic way to welcome your guests and show them just how happy you are to see them again. And it doesn’t matter whether your get-together is low-key, formal or somewhere in between – it’s taking the time and making the effort that counts the most, though personal touches are nice, too. 

If you’d also like to know the tried and tested ways to set up your dining table – and the placement of your crystal glassware in particular – we’ve put together some of the standard rules to help you create a tablescape that perfectly complements the dishes you’ll be serving.

Where do you place glasses on a table?

Think of your table as a large canvas, and the way to fill that canvas is by balancing aesthetics with functionality. So each place should be set with all the glasses each guest will need – just not in a way that feels cluttered. 

As a general rule, that means starting with a crystal water goblet on the right-hand side just above the main dining knife – even for left-handed guests. If you’re wanting a neat and spacious arrangement for three glasses, line them up parallel to your table’s edge on the right-hand side above the knife and spoon. Crystal water goblet on the left, crystal red wine glass in the middle, crystal white wine glass on the right.
For a little more asymmetrical interest, vary this straight-line layout by tilting it diagonally. The order stays the same, but the glasses are angled down towards the edge of the table. If you’re intending more than three glasses (champagne anyone?), you might want to try bending the line into a slight curve, in the following order: water, champagne, white wine, red wine, then sherry (if you’re intending to serve sherry with a soup course).

The 4 different types of glassware table arrangements

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when every lunch and dinner can be so different. So to find the arrangement that will look and work best for the occasion you’re planning, get familiar with the four main types of glassware arrangements: Single, Double, Triangular and Diamond. There’s sure to be one that’s just right.

Single glassware layout

This low-key table setting keeps things simple in every way by featuring just one glass – either a crystal water goblet or a regular crystal stemless glass to help cleanse the palate between courses. Place it on the right-hand side immediately above the knife or between the knife and the plate. Ideal for when space is at a premium, time is short, and you want to keep washing up to a minimum.

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Double glassware layout

A lot of people enjoy being able to punctuate their eating and drinking with a cleansing mouthful of water. So with this versatile arrangement ideal for 3 courses, your guests will have two glasses to switch between, one for their still or sparkling l’acqua, (placed north of the tip of their dinner knife), and another for their wine (set beside it on its right).

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Triangular glassware layout

If you’re planning a more formal gathering with different red and white wines matched to different courses, this arrangement provides your guests with three glasses: one for water, one for red wine and one for white wine.

The crystal white wine glass is placed exactly above the knife for the main course. The crystal water glass is placed 450 below and to the right of the white wine glass. The crystal red wine glass is positioned 450 above and to the right of the white wine glass. There are variations, but that set-up is probably the most common.

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Diamond shape glassware layout

If you will be starting with a bone-dry fino sherry and have room for one more glass, go for the diamond layout. It flips the Triangular layout 1800 left to right, then adds a crystal sherry glass below and to the right of the white wine glass to form a diamond.

Embrace the fun of setting a table worthy of the effort you’ve put into your dishes, and the feelings you have for your guests. It isn’t about understanding where each piece of tableware, crystal glassware and cutlery belongs —it's about making your guests feel welcome. 

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