How to use charger plates?

What is a Charger Plate? Uses, Materials, Etiquette, & More

You might be wondering: what is a charger plate? What is a charger plate used for? And what is the purpose of a charger plate? Here we’ll tell you all you need to know about charger plates, design ideas, and more.

Charger plates are also called service plates, underplates, or chop plates. They are used as a base under dinner plates in full-course dinner parties at formal events such as weddings, banquets, and other catered events. 

Since they are larger than common dinner plates and have a variety of materials (metal, wood, glass, plastic, and pearl), they are not served with the food but are already placed on the table even  before the guests arrive and are seated. After the full course, the charger plates are then removed when serving the dessert. 

Origin and History

Charger plate for table setup

Charger plates originated around 1275-1325 and were derived from an old English and Scottish text charge our which is referred to as "any means for carrying heavy items". It has been in use since the 19th century, and it also signifies a larger platter or a large shallow dish for liquids such as soup bowls and salad plates. They are commonly bigger than most common dinner plates. 

Different Types of Materials

Textured gold charger plate

Charger plates often come in different materials. They often come in materials such as metal, wood, plastic, pearl, glass charger plates and more. They also come with substances that can be toxic when eaten so they are more for decor than utility. 

It is ornamental and has coatings and paints that are basically not safe for food. However, it is still in use and in demand, and so far since its invention, there have been no reports of emergency incidents due to charger plates.

It also comes in different colors and styles. wood charger plates, glass charger plates, acrylic charger plates, pearl charger plates that may be hand-made, and they are carved according to the standard shapes used and varnished and decorated for a finished look. 

Experiment with colors for different wedding themes. Try out silver charger plates for anniversaries and gold charger plates for anniversaries. Given the different variety, color, and style, it will always vary depending on the theme to which design you will choose.

For some ideas, here are the samples to choose:

Gold Charger Plates
Glass Charger Plates
Acrylic Charger Plates
Alpine Glass Charger Plates

Gold Charger Plates

Glass Charger Plates

Acrylic Charger Plates

Alpine Glass Charger Plates

What are charger plates used for?

wedding pastel table setup
rustic table setup

For high-end dinner parties and celebrations charger plates are often used as the base of the main course dishes. These are often used to elevate the design of tablescape, a very small detail that has a huge impact on the overall decor.

Apart from the design aspect, charger plates also have very practical purposes. Charger plates are often used to:


  • Avoid spilling food over the tablecloth when eating;
  • Support the heat from the hot bowl and main dinner course when served;
  • Serve as a base for floral, menu, and cloth napkins for decor;
  • Serve as an elegant presentation of the whole set.


Matching Charger Plates

gold charger plates

Does every charger plate need to match? Yes, as this will create a consistent style. Consistency is key in design. Ensuring that the table decor is presentable for a luxe vibe.

Go even further and find charger plates that will match the decor of your tablecloth linens or other elements of your wedding decor.

How to Choose Charger Plates?

charger plates for thanksgiving

First, make sure to choose a charger plate that will go well with the theme of the event or match your overall concept. This will give you the perfect match to help you achieve your look and add contrast between the elements of your dinner table decor. 

Choose a specific color that will coordinate with the color of the table and dinner plates. For example, if you use white dinner plates and tablecloths, gold charger plates or charger plates with intricate decor will complement them beautifully. 

Check the color wheel for better color coordination, so you won't have a hard time choosing the best color palette for the event.

How to prepare charger plates?

setting up the table

For etiquette regarding the use of charger plates, charger plates should be set when the guests arrive at the place. Most hosts leave the plate out throughout the main course and then remove it before serving the dessert as part of the design and decor. 

To guide you, here are the steps to follow in preparing for setting your charger plates:


  • Set your tablecloth. Evenly placing your tablecloth and mats if you plan to use them.
  • Pick a design for your charger plates. Depending on the host's choice of design, style, and color, choose the right charger plates based on your theme.
  • Set the charger plates. Place the charger plate for each chair at the table. Place them over the place mats. Allow at least 2 feet between charger plates and 1 inch away from the table's edge or corner.
  • Set your dinner plate. Place the dinner plate in the center of each charger plate. You can also place a bowl over the dinner plate if you are also serving salad or soup; make sure to center it as well. For decor, using table linen napkins, put them in a napkin ring to add an extra look to the presentation, and don't forget to place them on each plate. After that, set out all the needed serving dishes and utensils.
  • Serve the food. Serve the food and wait for them to finish eating before you remove the charger plates when serving the dessert. When taking the charger plate, the dinner plate should be still on it.


More fun ways use charger plates

gold charger plates

It has always been common to only use charger plates at formal events. Did you know you can also use them at fun parties? You can use them for birthday parties and even for themed parties for kids.

Because there are many choices of colors and styles to choose from, it is an easy and fun way to add texture and depth to your decorations. You can also prepare them for awesome outdoor parties!

For hassle-free shopping, order your charger plates in bulk and avail of wholesale prices. We also offer free shipping for orders over $99.

Charger Plates to Elevate your Dinner Party Decor

elegant table setup

It's amazing to learn about charger plates and all that they can be used for. Aside from making your dinner table instantly luxe. It can be used for both decor and practical uses. It can also be practical for both servers and diners as its purpose is to prevent the diners from getting burned and slipping their food on the table. 

Choose from a variety of colors and styles, such as wood charger plates, glass charger plates, acrylic charger plates, pearl charger plates. Choose colored charger plates, gold, silver, and bronze and neutral colors are always safe and classic choices. 

In addition to that, don't forget to check our CV Linen website for more decor options. For more decor ideas visit our blog, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest for design inspiration.

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