Table Setting Tips
Timeless Tradition for the Modern World
by Chiara Riggs Sill
The holiday season, from Halloween to New Years, is that magical time when we relish the revelry. Come December, our senses are delighted with twinkling lights, Christmas tunes, and the smell of mulling spices. It is a time for family, friends, and festivities. Whether big or intimate, simple or opulent, holiday gatherings have a unique energy. As we come together to share in the joy and merrymaking, one thing is certain: festive is fun!
In the Central Valley, RSVP is synonymous with style. Whether you are the host or guest this holiday season, pieces from their carefully curated collection will ensure you celebrate in style.
Table Setting Tips
In addition to festive partyware, the hallmark of a beautiful table is accuracy and symmetry. As you set the table for your guests, keep this in mind:
- Place the napkin in the center or to the left of the charger plate
- Set only the cutlery that is needed (for example, don’t set a spoon if soup will not be served)
- Place the water glass above the main knife, then the others to the right: red wine, white wine, champagne
- Plan seating with care & use place cards for guests (not hosts)
- Surprise guests with a special party favor at each place setting
Hostess Gift Ideas
A gracious guest never arrives empty-handed. Remember, gifts should be gifted
with the giver in mind. A few of my favorites:
- Floral arrangement with a handwritten note sent in advance or post-party
- Fine chocolates or sweet treat wrapped in a beautiful bow
- Set of cocktail napkins personalized with monogram or a fun phrase
- Coffee table book or lovely candle to complement the home’s signature scent
- Activity or craft for the host’s children to share over winter break
Chiara’s first lessons in etiquette came while watching her mother gracefully entertain guests, creating an atmosphere of confidence and ease. From a young age then, Chiara recognized the importance of every detail, that when elevated by manners and courtesy the smallest touch could transform an evening into an event.
Carrying those lessons into adulthood, Chiara spent more than a decade managing venues and hosting high-profile events between San Francisco and Sydney, Australia. Having learned firsthand the value of etiquette in her social life and professional career, she attended the renowned Swiss Institut Villa Pierrefeu, the last finishing school of its kind. In establishing Etiquette Moderne, Chiara has adapted the tradition of politesse for the contemporary man, woman, and child, offering custom courses that instruct how to navigate any situation with confidence and poise.