Why to Use a Charger Plate
A charger plate is larger than a dinner plate and acts as a decorative base that adds substantial flair to your tablescape. Please note that charger plates are meant to be decorative and not come in contact with food.
Charger plates create a theme for the table, adding style that is more definitive and elegant than a standard placemat. When using a tablecloth, chargers protect the fabric from food stains. When not using a tablecloth, chargers protect the table. Be sure to attach small felt or cork protection pads (available at any hardware store) to the underneath side of the chargers if you are not planning on using a tablecoth to keep your table from getting scratched. The cork protection pads have an additional benefit of keeping the charger from sliding.
Charger Plate Sizing
A traditional charger size is 13 inches overall. The center of the charger plate measures approximately 9 inches, perfect for standard or even slightly oversize dinner plates. Our Always Elegant chargers come in glass or metal, round or cut-out effect. Other brands offer materials such as brass, leather, melamine, wood, porcelain, rattan, etc.
How to Determine Which Charger Plate to Use
Choose a charger plate that enhances your overall tablescape ambiance. When determining the tablescape ambiance, consider the style of dinnerware, flatware, glassware, napkins, and the overall mood of the event. Is it formal or fun, festive or serious? The photo of the gold charger plate in the photo is taken from wedluxe.com and is a good example of using a rippled edge to add an organic shape to an otherwise extremely formal gold tablescape. The ridged, cut-out pattern creates some diversity in otherwise only round and rectangular shapes. This style is available on our own website in either gold or silver.
Place a charger at each guest’s place setting. If desired, you can achieve a layered look by adding a round 14 or 15 inch placemat. Napkins with napkin rings increase visual interest when set in the middle of the charger. If it is a large event and name cards are being used, those can also go in the middle of the charger. Numerous courses from soup to salad to dinner entrees can then be placed directly on the charger.
Various Uses for Charger Plates
Chargers have additional versatility, for example:
- Use one charger as a serving tray to pass around small appetizers, placing the appetizers directly on an oversize dinner plate or a doily that is located in the center portion of the charger.
- Or place an array of chargers on a table, kitchen island, or bar filled with appetizing assortments of hors d’ouvres. Maintain a uniform look by using the same style of dinner plate or doily underneath the food.
- Group pillar candles together on a single charger for a centerpiece, layering the look with an interesting dinner plate that may or may not be the same as the dinner plates used for the meal. When using chargers for centerpieces, it is not necessary to also use them for serving dinner.
- Create a themed centerpiece, for example an array of maize and gourds for autumn events.
- Use a unique dinner plate design that picks up the primary color of the charger as a base to further finish off a floral arrangement.
- Even if the entire wedding reception budget does not accommodate chargers, request a set as a gift and use it at the head table for an extra special touch.