Formal sit down dinners are sadly becoming a thing of the past here in the Richmond area. We see it all the time on TV and commercials; people getting together for a great night of friends and food, seeing the seated dinner with a beautiful tablescape and lots of great times in the making. But why have we lost the desire for formal gatherings either as a formal wedding reception or even a great night with friends?
Today I hope to ignite that spark for the formal fun once again with some great chargers to love.
Most people can honestly say they don't know the true history or meaning behind a charger plate. In North America we came to call these larger plates chargers after the Middle English word "chargeour". Formally, a charger is not for food service, the charger signifies a larger platter.
They are usually larger than most common dinner plates and since they are not used for food, chargers are made from a large variety of materials from traditional china, metal, wood, glass, plastic, or even pearl. These chargers can be decorated with hand carvings, painted images, and other largely decorative items.
Charger etiquette and use varies. Some professional catering companies like to remove the decorative charger plate as the guests are seated. In other instances, when the design of charger plates complements the design of dining plates, charger plates are left on the table throughout the course of the meal. However, charger plates are always removed before serving desserts.
With that said, let's go over the proper way to use a charger plate at today's wedding or party. Place your charger of choice at each guest’s place setting. Set it in between the arranged flatware and below the glassware. Chargers should be two feet from one another to give guests enough elbow room.
You can align a menu card, cloth napkin, or the guest's place cards in the middle of the charger plate for use before the dinner service. Once your guests are served and ready to be served, their soup bowl, salad plate, or dinner plate is placed directly on top of the charger. The charger plate is then cleared with the dinner plate before the service of dessert, if you choose. Some couples like to leave their special chargers through dessert to not mess up the overall design of the tablescape.
At your next upscale wedding or dinner party you won't go wrong with using these simple charger plate etiquette rules.
- Charger plates should always be placed and ready when your guests arrive.
- Chargers are always removed from the table after all guests are finished eating the main entrée. 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.
- Chargers can be removed once all guests are seated or they may remain on the table throughout the entire length of the meal.
- Place charger plates one inch away from the bottom edge of the table, and about 2 feet apart to create the perfect alignment.
- Never serve food directly on top of a charger plate, unless it is coated in a food-safe material.
Then there are always tons of extra ways to use a charger around Parties and homes and decorations. If you scoot on over to our Prop Shop Party Rentals - Pinterest Page to see all the Charges we have fallen in love with and some great ideas from what to turn these chargers into.
I hope this has helped to spark your planning bug for the next formal dinner function hosted by you or friends and family. If you need a little more help planning your next formal event please contact one of the lovely sales ladies in The Prop Shop Sales room for inspiration or help.
Happy Thursday Planning!
:) Erica Hildebrandt