A large decorative plate, known as a charger, underplate or chop plate, can be placed under dinnerware to improve the overall look of the table. Chargers are most popular as decoration for fine dining restaurants or formal events, such as weddings, award ceremonies, anniversaries or other formal receptions.
While chargers are not meant to be eaten off of, they are a great way to spruce up the dining table and help to emphasize beautiful fine china or patterned dinnerware. They come in a variety of materials and colors. Be sure to match the look of the underplate to the dinnerware and the rest of the dining room decorations.
Standard etiquette generally calls for removal of the charger plate once guests are seated. However, some caterers and restaurants choose to leave the charger until the entire meal is finished. In addition to serving as an underplate for dinnerware, chargers can also be used as coasters for soup and salad bowls, or as decorative underliners for vases, flowers and other accessories.