Dine in Elegance with a Charger Plate

If you like to have your dinner banquet to be more than the ordinary, try using a charger plate set  to brighten up your table.  Charger plates for your dining sets are underused and elegant elements of place setting. They are also called as service plates, under plates and chop plates. Usually the term “decorative” is added when referring to charger plates because they do not touch the food directly. Instead, they function as an artistic resting plate where bowls and dishes containing the food are placed. The service plate is typically bigger than the dinner plate but lesser than a platter for serving food. Since charger plates are not meant to hold food, they could be produced from a wider variety of materials. Thus, aside from the regular china charger plate, there is also the gold charger plate and silver charger plate. The chop plates could also be constructed from wood, mother of pearl, leather and metal.

The main function of the charger plate is to serve as “frame” for dinnerware. It is also utilized to fill an empty tablecloth or place mat in between courses. Some people may also leave charger plates on the table as a décor between meals.

Charger Plate Etiquette

There are numerous variations in the rule for using charger plates or decorative plates, depending on the personal inclination of the host. However, there are several general rules that apply. These include the following:

  • Charger plates must be set when the guests arrive.
  • The chop plates must be placed an inch from the edge of the dinner table.
  • Service plates must be set in between the silverware.
  • Charger plates can be removed before serving any food. However, the common practice is to serve the soup and first course on the chargers. They are then cleared before serving the entrée.
  • Charger plates must be removed before serving the dessert.

Charger plates are great for adding texture and color to your dinner table. Although the chop plates are usually associated with dinners that are very formal, they could also be used for any occasion, in order to spice up the repertoire. A charger plate that is made from fine china can sometimes form part of the place setting in bridal registries and is the classic option for formal and traditional dinner occasions. The pattern of the charger plates is usually complementary to the design of the other dishes, thereby adding an extra visual rhythm to the dinner table.

If your purpose is to revitalize regular dinner plates for an event, colorful charger plates would be more appropriate. Something that is made from an attractive metallic material or with a harmonizing color can provide a more subtle touch of elegance to an informal dinner. Neutral colored dishes like white could be used with almost any kind of charger platecolor.

Charger plates can provide seasonal variety to your dish selections in an inexpensive and easy manner. If you do not have them, there is no need to buy a set as there are charger plate rentals that are also available.