Hello, Friends, and welcome to the Blog today. My Hubby suggested the subject for today’s Blog. I’m thinking it’s because I got pretty excited when I found some porcelain chargers at the Thrift Store yesterday for just a little bit of money. I almost always use a charger in my place settings. It gives a sense of presence to the table and makes the presentation special.

Chargers were used to catch stray bits of food and keep the table cloth clean. They were also used as “placeholders” for the rest of the china and removed immediately when guests sat down to dine. Now chargers remain on the table until just before the dessert course is served.

Chargers come in all shapes, sizes and materials. They just have to be big enough to host a dinner plate. In the first picture you saw a silver-plated charger with a decorative edge. It was really a silver serving dish that was re-purposed as a charger. The picture above shows a woven rattan charger that is over-sized. Chargers act as a break between the decorative tablecloth and the china being used. They serve to showcase the pattern in the china while reflecting the tablecloth. It is a cohesive element to the table setting.

Today, many chargers come in plastic that is made to look like other elements such as wood, burnished metal or even glass. They are inexpensive and easy to find. They cost about $1.99-$2.99 and in Thrift Stores even less.

Chargers also come in porcelain. One of the most versatile chargers I own is a simple white charger. It goes with everything…..any tablecloth and any pattern of china. It is my “go to” charger.

These porcelain chargers are a great color and shape. Not everything has to be white, or round. Choose the charger to compliment the china and the linen making a whole picture on the table.

Suit the charger to the season, the china, the linens or the overall table setting.

This charger is made of glass with gold foil on the rim and silver foil on the inside of the charger. I use it for more formal settings and especially around the holidays. Glass chargers are often colored or embellished and are quite nice. they really add a touch of elegance to the table.

I found these etiquette rules on a restaurant site and thought they might be helpful as a guideline for charger use.

Charger Plate Etiquette

Since charger plates are used as decorative table pieces and are traditionally used in formal settings, there are certain formalities that you should adhere to as you use them. Follow these specific etiquette rules when using charger plates at your upscale catered event, wedding, fine dining restaurant, or dinner party:

  • Prepare early: Charger plates should be dressed and ready when guests arrive.
  • Wait for guests to finish eating: Chargers are always removed from the table after all guests are finished eating the main entree. Chargers should then be taken away with the dinner plate still on top, as this clears the table and leaves it ready for dessert to be served.
  • Know when to take charger plates away: Chargers can be removed once all guests are seated, or they may remain on the table throughout the entire length of the meal.
  • Follow proper placement guidelines: Place charger plates one inch away from the bottom edge of the table to create perfect alignment.
  • Avoid direct contact: Never serve food directly on top of a charger plate, unless it is coated in a food-safe material.

However, you don’t have to be a stickler for all the rules in a more casual setting. Chargers make your place setting stand out a little more. Aesthetically they are pleasing and I think that’s why most people use them. It makes your table a little more inviting and your guests feel special.

This glass charger is formal but adds a bit of whimsy to this casual Christmas place setting. Use your chargers and your imagination to create unique settings for your Family and Friends. Approach setting a table as a fun project and it will become a daily pleasure.

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