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Occasionally, you would hear someone comment about the type of flatware or silverware in a particular event and wonder – is cutlery that important? The answer is a resounding yes!

The type and quality of flatware you use for your event matters. It can throw the entire celebration off if it’s low quality or doesn’t match the theme. On the other hand, if you choose the perfect flatware set, it can elevate the aesthetics of your event and be something your guests compliment you on long after it’s over.

This article will discuss what flatware is, what it includes for an event, how to choose the right flatware set for your event, and the essential flatware pieces you should have in your event.

What Is Flatware?

Typically, an event dining set might contain different varieties of tableware, ranging from serving bowls, plates, and ladles to spoons, forks, and knives. Most people don’t know that this cutlery is divided into minor subgroups, with flatware being one of them.

So what is flatware? As its name suggests, flatware simply refers to tableware whose surface is flat and is mainly used for serving and eating. Think about spoons, forks, and knives. These are the most common examples of items in a flatware set.

You will likely come across a flatware set on any occasion with food, including events like wedding receptions, graduations, and day-to-day activities such as family dinners or in restaurants or school dining rooms.

How To Choose The Right Flatware For Your Event

Set with examples of different beautiful table settings

Ideally, you want to choose the style of flatware that not only looks good but also feels good and matches the theme and decor.

Because flatware is made of different materials, you should decide what fits correctly with the event. Will the gold-plated ones bring out the elegance and sophistication you want to achieve, or would a silver handled flatware match the aesthetic better?

Apart from the material, you should also pay close attention to the flatware’s quality, weight, and patterns. Choose a set that reflects the type of occasion you are putting in place.

Here are five tips that can help you pick the right flatware:

  1. The Type of Flatware Material

The type of flatware material you choose can make or break your event. Before picking or purchasing, ask yourself – what feeling I want to bring out with the occasion? And will this material reflect that?

For example, you don’t want your guests to think you are a cheapskate just because you chose to serve them with plastic spoons and forks. Although plastic cutlery might be perfect for family events with children around, it might not be ideal for a wedding reception or a work function.

The other thing you should look out for is the strength and durability of the material, especially if you purchased the cutlery. When the event ends, you want to take the flatware home and use it on another occasion.

Regarding durability, stainless steel is the best material to pick for your flatware. It’s not only low maintenance, but it’s also resistant to rust and stains.

  1. The Quality of Flatware

Clean plate and shiny silver cutlery

After you have chosen the right material, it’s time to consider the quality of the particle flatware set. You might purchase a flatware set that seems perfect on paper, but it throws the whole event mood off because it’s of low quality.

Flatware Numbers and What They Mean

One way to identify a high-quality flatware set is by looking at the numbers marked on it. Marked as 18/another number, this indicator is a grading system common in stainless steel flatware. It shows chromium’s composition ratio compared to nickel, with the first number representing chromium.

A high-quality stainless steel set has a higher nickel number, which means that the composition of nickel, which is responsible for the shine and durability, is on a higher level. The best quality flatware has a grading system of 18/10 and above.

  1. The Patterns On The Flatware

So, you have the right high-quality material for your flatware. Great. Now comes another hurdle – should your set have patterns? And if so, should the patterns match the other tableware sets or should you go a little rogue?

Unlike the other practical determinants, this decision is solely based on you and your taste. It’s a chance to flex your creativity and pick a pattern complimenting the decor while simultaneously bringing out your personality. Trust your instinct, avoid second-guessing, and choose the set that resonates with you most.

  1. The Weight Of The Flatware

You might be wondering if the weight of the flatware matters, and the answer is yes. Guests want to feel special during a dining experience, and providing flatware that has weight, allowing for balance, can be the way to go.

Essential Flatware Pieces for Events

A fun and colorful tablescape with Gold Gatsby Flatware

Shopping for flatware sets for your event can expose you to many different varieties of tableware. Getting overwhelmed about what you should and should avoid picking is normal.

Regardless, there are some essential flatware pieces that you cannot miss to have in your dining set. Some of these pieces include:

Dinner Forks

Also referred to as the place fork, the dinner fork is the longest fork on the table. It’s characterized by having four tines of equal length and is mainly used for the main courses.

Salad Forks

The salad fork has four prongs, with the left-most tine being extra-wide to allow for the cutting of vegetables. It’s usually placed on the dinner fork’s right side and the plate’s left side.

Dinner Knives

Typically used in all eating occasions, from breakfast and lunch to dinner, the dinner knives are the most standard knives in a dining experience. They are characterized by their long, slightly curved blade and their minimal edge.

Dinner knives cut cooked foods like meat, vegetables, and fish.

Soup Spoons

As the name suggests, soup spoons are spoons used for eating soup. It’s characterized by being round at the end of the bowl-like part.

Soup spoons are categorized into two different groups – Chinese soup spoons and British soup spoons. The difference between the two types is in the shape of the bowl, with the British one being circular while the Chinese one is flat.


If you plan to serve beverages at your event, you cannot fail to include teaspoons in your flatware. Teaspoons are typically small and stir sugar in tea or coffee. Occasionally, they can also be used to eat soft foods.

Dessert Spoons

Serving your guest’s sweet delicacies at the end of the main course can be the peak of your event. When you do, use the right flatware – dessert spoons.

Characterized by its oval bowl, a dessert spoon is usually the same size as a soup spoon and is twice as large in capacity as compared to a teaspoon. Their oval shape allows guests to scoop the desserts in as much quantity as possible and enjoy the flavors.


In event dining experiences, nothing matters more than flatware – the flat tableware used for eating and serving, such as knives, forks, and spoons. Choosing the right set can be tricky, but as long as you pick the ideal high-quality material for your flatware and with patterns that fit in with your theme, you are good to go!

Flatware Frequently Asked Questions

What does flatware include?

Flatware includes spoons, forks, knives, and other flat tableware for serving and eating.

What is flatware in catering?

Flatwares is a type of cutlery with a flat surface typically used to cut or scoop up food. Examples include spoons, forks, and knives.

How do flatware and silverware differ?

Silverware is any type of cutlery or utensils made of silver, while flatware is a type of tableware with a flat surface and is mainly used for eating or serving.

Some flatware made of silver can be referred to as silverware, although not all silverware is flatware.