20 Unique Charger Ideas Guaranteed to Upgrade Your Wedding Reception Tables

Make your place settings pop.

Chargers with an orange floral pattern

Photo by Jake Anderson

There’s no question that your wedding reception tablescape is a standout décor moment that helps bring your vision to life. The items that you use to decorate the tops of your tables play a huge role in setting the tone for your post-ceremony party and supporting your overall aesthetic. Chargers—which are the large, decorative plates that act as a base for other dinnerware to be placed throughout the course of the meal—are details that can have a substantial impact on the vibe and atmosphere of your reception. They are responsible for holding each place setting together and help tabletops maintain a unified look even as other elements are moved in and out. 

The options for chargers are truly endless. Maybe you want to choose a pattern that complements the theme of your wedding, such as a floral print for a spring garden fête. If you’re looking to integrate elements from the surrounding landscape, a watercolor design would perfectly enhance a seaside ceremony. You can also infuse your base plate with different colors from your palette. Selecting a charger that matches the hues used in your centerpieces and napkins is particularly effective for cohesion.

Although chargers at wedding receptions are traditionally plates, you don’t have to limit yourself. Modern couples have been thinking outside of the box with fun alternatives. Consider a slab of wood for a rustic event in the countryside or woven pieces of fabric for bohemian-inspired nuptials in the fall

Whether you’re saying “I do” in a vibrant summer bash or hosting a modern affair, here are 20 unique wedding charger ideas that are guaranteed to make a statement at any reception.

01 of 20

Nod to Your Locale

Azulejo-inspired chargers

Photo by Love Is My Favorite Color

If you’re hosting your wedding in a location that holds a special place in your heart, use your chargers as a tribute to the area. For their wedding in Portugal, Kate Moon and Greg Brandt selected chargers inspired by azulejos, which are Portuguese tiles painted in blue and white. Since these ceramic works of art are often found in architecture around the country, the couple’s plates introduced their guests to the surrounding culture.

With such an eye-catching design, you’ll want the other tabletop pieces to complement your chargers rather than overpower them. Choose gold flatware and crystal glassware to supplement the main component on your tables.

02 of 20

Integrate a Floral Print

Chargers with a floral border on a lilac tablecloth

Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

For those who are tying the knot in an outdoor garden ceremony or during the spring or summer seasons, a dish with a bright floral edge will communicate your vision. To really drive your theme home, incorporate blooms into the supplemental pieces. Line your tables with vases of colorful flowers, and feature a floral border around the courses listed on your menu cards. Choose linens, candles, and flatware in the same shades as those buds for the dreamiest setup.

03 of 20

Play With Contrast

Chloe and Alex's place settings with patterned plates, red napkins, black menus, and black glassware

Photo by Lance Nicoll

To bring a sense of balance and visual intrigue to your tables, merge two opposing colors together. When perched against a backdrop of red napkins, a red runner, and red roses, these black-and-white chargers stood out. Adding black goblets, black menu cards, and black handles on the flatware will also help achieve this juxtaposition. 

04 of 20

Paint a Watercolor Design

water- and sun-inspired place setting

Photo by Brett Hickman

Are you marrying your significant other on the beach or celebrating against an oceanic backdrop? Bring that picturesque scene to your place settings. A watercolor design painted in blue and white will mirror the surrounding waves. Pair your chargers with blue napkins and a blue tablecloth to bring the nautical theme to another level.

05 of 20

Make Them Monochromatic

Brianne and Kirk's place settings with gold flatware, watercolor menus, and stone chargers

Photo by Jana Williams

There’s nothing more elegant than an all-white display. Instead of stealing the show, have your chargers match the other decorations scattered across your tables. Choose white chargers, plates, linens, menu cards, centerpieces, and candles in one or two shades for a setup that’s both timeless and fresh. Since this monochromatic look is so versatile, it will fit any theme, location, and season.

06 of 20

Infuse a Bohemian Touch

Megan and James' place settings with rattan chargers, burgundy napkins, and black flattware

Photo by Anna Delores Photography

Instead of ceramic plates, Megan Simpson and James Teeter had their tables set with a rattan design. Boasting a natural flair, these woven chargers coordinate perfectly with wooden tables and pampas grass centerpieces. We love this look for a bohemian-chic soirée with a jewel-toned color scheme.

07 of 20

Reflect the Rest of Your Reception

place setting with mirrored charger

Photo by Amber Gress Photography

If you want other adornments on your reception tables to be the focal point, consider using mirrored chargers. At their reception, Taylor Moskowitz and Vlad Popik envisioned tall arrangements of pink baby’s breath, roses, and orchids standing at the center of their round tables draped in white tablecloths. To reinforce this design, they chose dinnerware with a reflecting surface. These glass plates would also work well with a glamorous or modern theme. 

08 of 20

Look to the Season

pop of orange charger in the tablescapes

Photo by Jake Anderson

When we think of spring or summer nuptials, we imagine vibrant hues, fresh flowers, and playful patterns. For warm-weather weddings, complete your tablescape with white plates featuring a bright orange design. Then, have citrus fruits and centerpieces with orange buds dispersed down the middle. White linens and pillar candles will highlight the colors and prints in this setup.

09 of 20

Consider Lucite

place setting

Photo by Les Loups

Thanks to its transparent nature, lucite allows the other elements on your tables to shine. Since this acrylic material is neutral and understated, it works with any aesthetic. Pair with black menu cards and silver accents for a modern wedding or greenery and wooden chairs for an organic affair. You can also create a certain mood depending on the finishing touches, such as a beaded edge or a gold rim.

10 of 20

Add Pops of Pink

tablescape with blush plates

Photo by Kayla Mendez Photography

Whether you’re saying “I do” in a romantic fête or a tropical gathering, pink is a color you should consider adding to your palette. These pink pieces of china popped on a backdrop of wood, and taper candles and silk napkins in the same shade animated the scene. Feature white anthurium and peonies in bud vases to balance out the setup.

11 of 20

Select a Scalloped Shape

place settings at reception

Photo by Blue Note Weddings

Even though round chargers are typically the standard option, who says you can’t explore different shapes? Plates with a scalloped edge bring a luxurious and ornate flair to any place setting. This decorated rim, especially in a metallic hue, will make an impression at a ballroom or chateau reception with a glamorous theme. 

12 of 20

Blend in Dark Details

place settings with bold black plates

Photo by Hannah Forsberg

Black, white, and greenery is one of the most classic combinations out there, and there are so many different ways to integrate it into your reception. In this scenario, black plates bring a sense of juxtaposition to a banquet table covered in white linens and votives. White blooms and greenery accompany the spread, guaranteeing that your chargers are the star of the show.

13 of 20

Evoke a Tropical Vibe

Natalie and Ross's places set with green plates and floral menus

Photo by Leah Marie Photography

Whether you’re trading vows on the white-sand beaches of Fiji or a dock overlooking the Gulf Coast, tropical-inspired chargers will breathe life into your tablescape. When Natalie Malcolm and Ross Chapman got married in Barbados, they channeled the island’s laidback vibes with lime green printed chargers. Meanwhile, a gauzy pink runner, pink taper candles, and colorful flowers brought a preppy edge to the wood banquet table.

14 of 20

Go for a Gilded Look

place settings with menu and name tag

Photo by Larisa Shorina

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting an art deco wedding or a vintage-inspired soirée; acrylic chargers with a gilded rim will add glitz and glam to any reception space. Have this decoration arranged on a deluxe silk napkin and a black tablecloth for ultimate sophistication.  

15 of 20

Embrace an Etched Texture

place setting with white florals

Photo by Amanda Donaho

While color certainly makes a splash, embracing texture unveils depth and dimension. Chargers featuring an etched design are especially impactful for a minimalist wedding with a neutral or monochromatic color palette, so the linear pattern is the center of attention.

16 of 20

Include a Subtle Pattern

place setting with hand-tied blue chiffon ribbons

Photo by Jenny Fu Studio

Do you like the idea of a pattern but don’t want an all-over design? Look for dinnerware with a motif on the rim. These chinoiserie vases with pink and red flowers are the main moment, so chargers with navy and gold accents play a supporting role.

17 of 20

Find a Rustic Flair

tablescape with wood chargers, white linens, and blue, white, and green floral arrangements

Photo by Megan Robinson

To evoke a welcoming and homey atmosphere that epitomizes rustic weddings, whether it’s in the countryside of the mountains, rethink your chargers by using natural materials. Slabs of wood that resembled tree stumps were the base of these place settings. Wildflower arrangements and white linens helped round off the organic accents.

18 of 20

Choose a Deep Dish

Gabby Giffords' wedding place card

Photo by Carl S. Miller

Although traditional chargers have a slight curvature, there are plenty of different styles to choose from. Plates with a deep rim and a straight side put a contemporary spin on the classic option. Consider stone for a natural tablescape at a desert wedding or porcelain for a luxe soirée.

19 of 20

Bring the Drama

Red chargers and calligraphed menus

Photo by Corey Tenold

Without a doubt, red is a striking color that demands attention. At Hannah Horvath and Josh Zacharias’ dinner party reception in New York City, the couple included a bold touch with red-rimmed chargers. We love how the china matched the booths at this West Village restaurant.

20 of 20

Incorporate Metallic Accents

Summer and John's places set with gold flatware, fringe napkins, and designed chargers

Photo by PS Photography + Films

From glamorous nuptials to vintage celebrations, gold is a versatile accent that completes any tabletop. An intricate gold design on these chargers set the tone for the tablescape pictured here, while gold flatware, a gold napkin ring, and gold stripes on the dinner plates elicited cohesion.

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