• In a bouquet, use foliage from flowers such as tulips.
• Set out several small, identical bouquets on a table.
• Pin a flower or small bunch onto the back of each chair.
• If your table is large, place one big bouquet (no more than 12 inches/30 centimetres high) in the centre and then arrange smaller bouquets all around the table.
• Display tall arrangements on serving or buffet tables.
• Avoid heavily scented flowers, which interfere with the aromas of food and wine.
• To ensure visual symmetry, avoid placing round arrangements on rectangular tables and, conversely, square or rectangular arrangements on round tables.
Catherine Guilloteau makes sense of the formal table.
• If forks are arranged in the French manner, with the tines turned down, don't use a delicate tablecloth or one with eyelets.
• For a formal or semi-formal reception, put out a fork for the appetizer, a second one for salad and a third for the main course, along with a knife for the main course and a butter knife. Arrange them in the order of use, starting from the outside and working in. Don't put more than three utensils on each side. You want to make your guests feel welcome, not scare them with an overwhelming amount of cutlery.
• Cheese and dessert forks don't generally appear on the table during a formal dinner. Bring them out with the cheese plate or dessert.
• If you put out a single fork and knife per guest and you serve fish as a first course, change the cutlery for subsequent meat courses.
• Lettuce should not be cut with a knife, though you can use one to fold it.
• Silver washes well in a dishwasher; however, be careful not to mix it with stainless steel. Wash them in separate baskets.