If you organize parties regularly then using charger plates is pretty important. It’s optional, of course, but it will elevate your event to the next level and create an eye-catching place-setting. If you’re not sure how to include a charger plate in your decorations, we have a helpful guide to make setting your table stress-free!
What is a charger plate?
You may or may not have seen them before, as they can mainly be used at very formal events. But sometimes even weddings leave them out of the picture, so don’t worry, you haven’t missed too much.
A charger plate is a dish placed on the table directly, so that other plates can be put on it. Not only do charger plates make a table look great, but they also serve a second purpose and that’s to protect your linens from spills. Definitely add chargers to your list if you are renting linens or serving hot food. They’re not supposed to come into contact with any food, especially directly. Instead, they act as a tray so that when the next courses are brought out they can be placed on the charger plates.
They are most commonly made out of nine materials, all of which can be a different color, so you will definitely be able to find something that fits the color combination you are going with. These materials are chrome, acrylic, glass, melamine, porcelain, faux wood, polypropylene, rattan and stainless steel. Some of these are more durable, look better or are easier to clean. Each of these materials has their own positives and negatives, so make sure you look at all of them before deciding which you want to get.
Why do you need a charger plate?
The most obvious reason is that they make your party fancier. It shows your guests that you know how to organize a party and make it look good. It just generally gives a pretty good impression to the overall table design. Especially if this event is formal or about something connected to your job and your colleagues or even your bosses are going to attend.
Another way to make use of the decorating power of charger plates is by using them even before the meal starts. Most commonly people like to put napkins on them, but they can also be used to display escort cards. Although, if you are organizing a wedding then it might be a good idea to place personalized messages on them in the form of a card, or even a menu. This highlights these pieces of papers and your guests will immediately notice and read them.
Besides the decor, these plates can easily spare you a ton of cleaning work. We all know how hard it is to get stains out. But that goes double for linens, as it would require a lot of rubbing and cleaning supplies to get certain stains out.
The other very practical thing charging plates are capable of doing is cooling down hot meals. By hot, we mean overheated. For example, there are cases when you bring out the food but it would just burn the guests’ mouths if they tried eating right away. Because of this there will be a pretty awkward phase where people are just blowing their food or waiting around for them to cool down. Well, with charging plates that phase will be much shorter, especially if you use stainless steel ones. They can easily draw the heat out and pass it into the linens and the table.
Charger plate etiquette
If you want to use charger plates then you need to know a couple of things, especially for formal events.
They need to be ready by the time the guests arrive. You can’t be putting these plates down just as people arrive or after they sit down as charger plates are considered to be part of the decor. You wouldn’t start laying down the tablecloth right as your guests were arriving, would you? And the same goes for anything you plan on putting on them. Whether it’s escort cards or napkins, they should be in their places by the time your guests get to the venue.
Place charger plates approximately 1 inch from the edge of the table. This is just a simple rule, although not many people know about it.
But, to be honest, it’s the best way to place these plates as anything further or closer would get quite uncomfortable after a while.
Take them away after your guests are done with the main entree. This clears up the table and leaves your guests free to enjoy drinks and dessert.
A messy and overloaded table makes everything else seem crowded.
Don’t leave them on the table when serving dessert. This is one of the main rules. We do not leave charger plates for dessert. You can use them as a tray for taking away plates and bowls, but they can remain on the table for the entire meal. Except for dessert, of course. But generally people like to use charger plates as a way to carry dishes as it makes the whole situation a little more formal. After you are done taking everything away, you can put the next course on the plates and carry them out.
Do not let it come into direct contact with food. This one is a little bit about hygiene, but charger plates generally shouldn’t be used as actual plates. They were not intended to be utilized that way. But if you still insist on doing this, then cover it in food safe material or make sure that you disinfect it.
We hope this guide gave you a better idea on how to use them for your event! There are so many gorgeous ways to style chargers so you can really get creative and go all out for your table decorations! Let us know what you think or if you have any questions about using charger plates - please share them with us in the comments, contact us, or tag us on Instagram @BalsaCircle.