Traditions of Guiding item 12
12. Lay a table for a three-course meal. Use a centrepiece and fold the napkins in an interesting way.
Firstly, lay a fresh, well-ironed fabric tablecloth so it hangs evenly over the edges of the table.
There are set positions for the cutlery and glasses on a table, which is designed to suit right-handers since they are usually in the majority.
For a standard three course meal the table mat (if used) is placed centrally in front of each chair (or space is left for the plates to go when the food is served).
The dessert spoon is placed above the mat, with the handle to the right - if a dessert fork is used it is placed above the dessert spoon, with handle to the left.
The fork is placed on the left and the knife on the right of the mat, it's blade towards the mat.
The soup spoon is placed to the right of the knife, as when dining you always use the outer sets of cutlery first and work inwards.
A water glass is placed on the right, above the knife and soup spoon.
If used, a side plate is put to the left of the fork, and has a knife placed on it, blade pointed towards the mat (the side plate is used for spreading bread or rolls if served).
If tea or coffee is to be served, a cup on a saucer would be placed above the water glass, with a teaspoon on the saucer to the right of the cup, as it won't be wanted until later.
A folded napkin/serviette (whichever term you prefer) would either be placed on the mat or on the side plate.
For fancy folding, fabric napkins have to be well-starched, and paper ones sharply-creased - a number of internet sites will give instructions for fancy folds, but whatever folding you do, fold them neatly and accurately to avoid corrections and crumples - a simple triangle crisply done will always look neater than a crumpled rag which sort of looks like a flower if viewed from a certain angle!
A centerpiece could be a candlestick or candelabra, a vase of flowers or flower arrangement (real or artificial flowers), an ornament, decorative fruitbowl, or whatever sort of decoration would enhance the table whilst not getting in the way during the meal, or preventing diners from seeing/being able to chat across the table).
Courtesy of Leslie http://lesliesguidinghistory.webs.com/traditionsbadgeshelp.htm fantastic resource