Unique Chargers That Will Upgrade Your Reception's Place Settings

thick natural wood chargers
Photo: Sara Corona

Selecting a showstopping charger might seem like a small detail, but it'll have a huge impact on the overall look of your tables.

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thick natural wood chargers
Sara Corona

Chargers are the foundation of any great place setting. Kept on the table throughout dinner, a charger plate acts as a base for salad and dinner plates, effectively holding the entire place setting together. While chargers are frequently referred to as charger plates, there's no rule that says that the base element of your place setting needs to be a traditional plate. From slabs of marble and agate to calligraphed wooden boards and pieces of slate, your options for a unique charger are truly boundless.

Chargers are certainly a small element of your reception's tablescape, but their potential impact can't be overstated. Using a unique element, such as wood or lucite, as your charger can instantly reinforce the celebration's overall aesthetic while subtly nodding to the table's other key elements, most notably your floral centerpieces. Here, thick, natural wood chargers from Emerson James added height and dimension to this al fresco dining setup designed by Linda Ha. Not only did the wood chargers make the flatware and linen napkin feel right at home, but the warm hues seamlessly referenced the table's taper candles and organic floral centerpieces, too. The effect was a cohesive scene.

Setting wedding reception tables with a charger is also incredibly practical from a photography perspective. Since plates of food won't come out until the caterer serves dinner, having a table pre-set with chargers allows your photographer to shoot incredible details shots ahead of the reception. After all the work you've invested in designing a dream reception, you want to ensure you have images to cherish for years to come!

As you plan your reception and your wedding's tablescapes, let these creative charger ideas inform your ideas.

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Modern Marble

square marble charger
Jana Williams

Chargers don't always need to be round. This square slab of marble brought a sleek, modern vibe to each guests' place setting at this Sterling Social wedding. The contemporary look was further reinforced thanks to white-and-green JL Designs centerpieces, tapered silver Borrowed Blu flatware, minimalist Wiley Valentine stationery, and soft gray La Tavola linens.

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Pattern Play

jamie and michael wedding place setting
Sally Pinera

For a festive and bold look, don't shy away from mixing patterns. Here, a butterfly-patterned salad plate was layered atop a simple dinner plate and an eye-catching black-and-white charger, all form Casa de Perrin. Mauve velvet linens and black acrylic menus added to the table's eclectic mix.

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Vintage Silver

gold and silver place setting with a pink rose atop plate
Caroline Tran Photography

Vintage-loving brides, this idea is for you: To bring a dose of classic romance to your reception, consider setting your tables with ornate polished silver charges. To update this Old-World look, thid couple chose gold flatware for a contemporary mixed-metal look.

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Rustic Wood

square wooden charger tableware
A Fabulous Fete

Lauren from A Fabulous Fete dreamt up this fall-inspired tabletop which utilized individual cutting boards layered atop white ceramic plates as would-be chargers. Her exquisite calligraphy on guests' place cards and centerpiece pears gave the whole look an intimate, hospitable feel.

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colleen pip wedding place setting
Nicole Leever Photography

Unique chargers can come from anywhere—even your favorite local garden center! Saucers from terra-cotta planters were calligraphed in white and doubled as place cards at this Tasteful Tatters wedding.

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Slate Slab

wedding flowers candle centerpiece
Corbin Gurkin

A slate board-turned-place mat brought a masculine touch to this airy white-and-green Kate & Company tablescape.

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Moody Marble

cut out runner tablescape
Anna Delores Photography

This tablescape, designed by Vanessa Noel Events, featured a marble Party Pleasers charger whose moody aesthetic mirrored the mottled blue-black look of the dinner plates. If a similarly cohesive, interesting look is what you're after, choose a charger that's complementary to—but not an exact match for—the rest of your dinnerware.

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Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt charger tableware
Abby Grace

Grit and Grace took inspiration from minerals for these place settings. Slabs of Himalayan pink salt, calligraphed by Laura Hooper, served as both chargers and place settings at this modern-meets-romantic wedding. Sweet Root Village florals and Paperless Post menus rounded out the mineral-centric design.

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Cheese Board

cheese board charger duo
Adam Barnes Photography

A cheese board from World Market served double-duty as both a charger and a place card (thanks to gold calligraphy from Laura Hooper!) at this Grit and Grace wedding. Holly Chapple floral arrangements, Paperzest menus, and DC Rental flatware served as elegant finishing touches for the rustic-meets-elevated design.

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Gilded Agate

gold-edged agate slice charger
Jana Williams

A gold-edged agate slice was a contemporary base for this gray-and-white plate stack. Lucite menus and gold-rimmed glassware further reinforced the modern aesthetic designed by Details Details.

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Natural Wood

raw edge wood charger
Feather and Stone

Wood chargers with undulating raw edges were beautifully juxtaposed against the crisp white dinner plates that sat atop each one. Beauty in the Making designed the tabletop while Divine Design handled the florals.

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Classic Scallops

Lacie Hansen Photography

Scalloped The Ark dinnerware, featuring romantic gold leaf details, gave this Jenna Lam Eventstabletop a refined, feminine feel. Frances Lane flatware and PS Paper menus further nodded to the tablescape's metallic focus.

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tillie dalton wedding reception table setting
Mariel Hannah Photography

Black-and-gold Casa de Perrin chargers layered with black stoneware plates added to the rich and moody feel of this purple-focused The Elegant Ninja tabletop.

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charles andrew wedding green reception table
Abby Jiu Photography

Brown wicker chargers added texture and warmth to this layered blue-and-green tablescape. Since the tablescape featured such bold linens and centerpieces, keeping the chargers more muted helped balance the overall look beautifully.

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Cutting Board

taylor frankie rehearsal dinner place setting
Rachel Havel Photography

A wooden cutting board doubled as a charger at this rehearsal dinner planned by Ashley Nicole Events. Bringing an everyday item into the mix gave the whole tabletop a down-to-earth at-home feel, perfect for a pre-wedding celebration.

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Hammered Copper

kathryn ian wedding place setting
Corbin Gurkin

Hammered copper the ARK chargers gave a hint of metallic glam to this blush-and-gray Smith + James place setting. When using such neutral-colored tables, even a subtle pop of color really stands out.

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Deep Indigo

caitlin michael wedding place setting
Meg Smith Photography

To tone down a pattern, consider only revealing part of it. Bold patterned chargers were layered with indigo Heath Ceramics dinner plates for a festive yet muted look at this Alison Events wedding.

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Classic Wicker

Harwell Photography

Wicker charges in a warm brown hue are the perfect fit for an elevated, rustic wedding, as evidenced by this A Day in May display.

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Elegant and Tropical

emily adhir wedding placesetting
Brandon Kidd Photography

Clean white-and-goldCasa de Perrin chargers ensured the palm frond runner wasn't competing for center stage on this tabletop designed by Love & Splendor. Though simple in color, the chargers' scalloped edges provided a touch of whimsy to the place settings.

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Bright Blue

ocean blue round charger
Lisa Blume Photography

Vibrant royal blue chargers reinforced the agate-inspired look of these modern place settings designed by Cheers Darling with art direction from Paprika Southern. White Laura Hooper calligraphy and bright On a Limb florals juxtaposed the vivid ocean hue for a look that was totally fresh.

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Woven and Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie-inspired Theoni dinnerware
Billye Donya Photography

Thick woven chargers under Chinoiserie-inspired Theoni dinnerware are perfectly on-theme for a fresh, garden-inspired event, just like this Laurel Events fête. Blue glassware and lush Enchanted Garden florals helped the the whimsical look come alive here.

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statement linens tablescape textiles
Katie Pritchard Photography

A woven charger with frayed edges gave this bohemian Green Apple Event Company tablescape majorly beachy vibes, but it would look just as pretty at a backyard event, too.

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Bold Blue

kiersten ruairi wedding place setting
Anna Delores Photography

An ornate gold charger from Borrowed Blu brought a touch of Old-World charm to this bold-hued tabletop from LB Event Planning + Design.

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