top of page


Behind every exquisite table setting lies a very important secret ingredient: charger plates. You will have a complete understanding of charger plates including their importance, etiquette, history, and how to use charger plates for when you are creating an elegant dining experience. Chargers are sometimes overlooked pieces, but I believe they are the key to creating an elegant ambiance.

What is a Charger Plate?

A charger plate is used as a decorative base under dinner plates during formal events. Charger plates are also referred to as “chargers, service plates or under plates.” They serve as a decorative base for dinner plates and are placed on the table before guests arrive.

What is the History of Charger Plates?

Charger plates have a long history, dating all the way back to European medieval times. Originally made of metal, charger plates were used to catch food crumbs and prevent spills. Charger plates originated around 1275-1325, deriving from the old English and Scottish term "charge our," meaning "any means for carrying heavy items.

What is the Purpose of a Charger Plate?

A charger plate acts as a base for the main plate, preventing spills or food from coming into contact with the tablecloth. It helps maintain a clean and elegant presentation throughout the meal. They serve as a base for decorations coming in various colors and styles to add texture and depth to the overall design for a wedding or formal event. Charger plates are decorative and functional creating an attractive backdrop for the food presentation. Make sure to select charger plates that match your theme and table setting because they are to enhance your overall design on the table. Charger Plates can hold name cards, napkins, and/or menu cards.

How Do You Prepare & Use Charger Plates?

Once the table is clean, lay the tablecloth down then the chargers are to be placed on top of the linen. You will want to place one charger at each guest's setting, above the tablecloth and make sure there is enough space positioned between each guest. They should not extend beyond the edge of the table. Charger plates should always be clean and free of smudges or stains. Charger plates must be placed on the table before guests arrive. Charger plates act as the presentation plate on the table creating an elegant and polished table setting. Charger plates are meant for presentation only, not for serving food directly. Never place food directly on the charger plate.

Is there a Difference Between a Charger Plate and Dinner Plate?

Typically you will find chargers for formal events and most weddings. Charger plates are larger than dinner plates and typically more decorative than dinner plates. Dinner plates are for serving food. Chargers act as a base layer and are not meant for direct food contact.

So Why Do You Need Charger Plates for Your Wedding or Formal Event?

1. Charger plates add a touch of sophistication to your table setting. They are an elegant addition to a formal table setting.

2. Charger plates helps protect against spills.

3. Charger plates help complete the table decor and tie together other decor elements.They provide a backdrop for wedding menus, place cards, favors, florals, candles and place settings.

4. Charger plates help make the table feel cosy and guests often feel special when there is a stylish charger placed at their table setting.

What is the Etiquette of When to Remove Charger Plates?

There are a few options and charger plates are typically removed from the table under the following circumstances:

1. Before Serving Dessert: Charger plates should be taken away before serving dessert or any subsequent courses after the main course. Charger plates should not be used for serving dessert.

2. After All Guests Are Seated: Alternatively, some hosts choose to leave charger plates on the table for the entire meal or depending on the menu charger plates are removed once all guests are seated. This can vary based on personal preference and event style.

3. During Course Changes: Charger plates can be replaced with the appropriate course plates during a multi-course meal.

Remember, there are a plethora of charger types to choose from, each tailored to match your unique design, style, and décor needs for your celebration or wedding. By selecting the perfect charger, you have the opportunity to set the stage, enhancing your table's ambiance and adding an extra layer of sophistication to your décor. So, when the time comes for your next event, may your choice of charger plates be the final brushstroke on your canvas, elevating your table setting to a work of art. Charger plates are primarily decorative and serve as a base for the table setting's aesthetic. They add an elegant touch to formal dining occasions while protecting the table from spills and providing a backdrop for food presentation.

I hope you found this quick guide about charger plates helpful. May this post serve as a handy reference, ensuring your table settings radiate confidence and elegance. To stay in the know, more tips and inspiration be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter. Bye bye for now all you tabletop lovers.

With love of an artfully designed table and a rocking party,



bottom of page