The first time I really noticed charger plates was on "Wedded To Perfection", where Jung Lee used eyeball charger plates, I died! Wow, I thought it was just the coolest thing I had ever seen. Unfortunately I have searched the net far and wide for a picture of these, to no avail. I will keep trying.
Gold Charger Plates to compliment a Mardi Gras Theme (http://confessionsofaplateaddict.blogspot.com/2009/02/tablescape-thursdayora-mardi-gras.html)
Charger plates are generally placed at the table before guests arrive and meant to have china placed on top of them when the meal comes, almost like a place mat. They are typically not meant to be eaten of of, nor put in the dishwasher. They are considered more of a decor item than dishware.
A gorgeous glowing creation by Jun Lee of New York based event company, Fête (http://feteny.com/services/)
Charger plates, as beautiful as they are, will cost you a pretty penny if you're not much for shopping. Some wedding forums have discussions of women buying them in packages at Target, Superstore or Michael's. These will be acrylic and not glass, ceramic or wood, but they will cost you far less than buying these more expensive one's or renting them. Most rental places charge you starting at $3.25 a plate - add that up and you will see how much that is. Purchasing your own set of 100+ ceramic, wood, glass or metal charger plates will be even more than that, upwards of $60 per plate! Yikes! So what am I saying? Even if you hate shopping around, shopping for charger plates is worth it. I found several sites that sell them in multitudes of colours and textures in bulk, 24 plates for under $50! Now we're talking. Do not underestimate the power of online shopping, it could save you literally thousands on your wedding!
By the masters of all things event - New York based company, Fête (http://feteny.com/services/)
Now all the grooms-to-be are grumbling that their bride now needs "just one more thing" for their wedding to make it picture perfect! Sorry guys...but not really.
Eek! My favorite - a Bird Nest Charger from Pottery Barn (http://www.potterybarn.com/?cm_type=gnav)