How To Choose the Best Plates To Fit the Food and Drink of Any Party

The right dinnerware can be the main attraction of your dining table. It’s so much more than just the plates and cups you use to serve food. Rather, it’s an extension of your party’s theme and your own personal style.

The right party plates can set the mood for the dining experience, enhance the meal, and make your guests appreciate the effort that you put into making your party perfect.

To help you pick the best plates to fit your party, this guide from Sophistiplate will give you an overview of the different components of choosing a plate (there’s definitely more than a few!) to help you pick the right plate-size, material, and design, read on for your best party yet. 

Plate Size

The first thing you should consider when planning your party is the size of the plates you will use. This entirely depends on what kind of dining you want to have at your party

If you plan to serve several courses, then you will need to have an assortment of large and small plates to accommodate appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If you’re planning to only serve tapas-style bites, then you can get away with a set of small appetizer plates. 

Here are the different types of plates (arranged by size) for you to consider.

The Platter

Platters feature generous sizing with an oval or rectangular shape to add extra oomph to the food display. While there is no standard size for platters, they tend to measure at least 10 inches in length which can accommodate a large quantity of food. 

Whether you want to create a charcuterie arrangement for your wine-and-cheese party or to fit a large quantity of food during a backyard BBQ, platters are a must.

If you plan to serve hot food, make sure that the platter you choose has slightly raised rims to avoid any spillover. If you plan to serve cold foods, then a flat platter is the best choice. Whichever option you choose to go with, elegant patterns and colors will add a touch of sophistication to the food that you serve. 

Buffet Plate

Buffet plates get their name from being primarily used in buffet-style dining. They typically range from 10 to 14 inches in size and come in a variety of shapes, such as square, round, and octagonal. The size of these plates is important when serving an assortment of appetizers and main entrées.

For more formal parties, buffet plates can also be placed on the table to be used as a base on which to put plates from other courses, such as soup, salad, and even the entree. So, for more casual affairs, the buffet plate is completely optional

Dinner Plate

This type of plate is used more than any other type of plate. These plates are typically 10 inches across and are used primarily for the main course. These are extremely versatile and can be round or square in shape. 

Lunch Plate

A lunch plate is slightly smaller than a dinner plate, averaging about nine inches in diameter. These are traditionally used at luncheons where food portions are smaller. They are also best for typical lunch foods, such as sandwiches and finger foods. 

Appetizer Plate

Appetizer plates are much smaller than dinner and lunch plates and are to be used for hors d’oeuvres, tapas, and snacks. They typically measure five inches across and come in various shapes to make them a fun option. These are perfect for holding small bites during cocktail hour, which can allow your guests to mingle with ease while holding a cocktail.  

Dessert Plate

Dessert plates are slightly bigger than appetizer plates, which is good news for those with a sweet tooth. These plates measure seven inches across and are used for serving an assortment of cookies, pastries, or cake. 

Plate Material

The material that you choose for your plates can go a long way in setting the tone for your party and potentially make things a lot easier for you. 

If you want to keep things hassle-free, then you might consider disposable plates. Gone are the days of squeaky styrofoam. These days, it’s completely possible to find disposable plates that are elegant and barely distinguishable from the real thing. 

Here are some plate materials that you can choose from. 


Ceramic plates include all non-disposable plates, which can be stoneware, porcelain, or glass. Choosing to use ceramic plates at your party is a great idea if you plan to re-use them time after time, making them a great investment. 

One disadvantage, however, is that you would have to wash the plates after every party. If you want to get rid of the hassle of doing the dishes (and spending water and electricity), then consider using plastic or paper plates. 


Plastic plates are a great option when you need something disposable for heavy-duty options. They tend to be more sturdy than the average paper plate (although some paper plates are sturdier than plastic ones).  

However, that’s where their benefits end, as plastic plates are generally considered very harmful to the environment. This is because plastic is not a biodegradable material. As such, all single-use plastics that we dispose of accumulating in the environment, causing harm to wildlife and polluting municipal water supplies. 

For this reason, compared to ceramic and paper, plastic plates are not the most eco-friendly option and should be avoided for those who want to keep their party as friendly to the environment as possible.


Paper plates have a variety of weights available, ranging from extremely thin to as thick as a heavy-duty plastic plate. Not only do paper plates tend to be more affordable, but they have less of an environmental footprint than plastic—and in some cases, even ceramic—plates. 

When picking the perfect paper plates for your party, make sure you don’t pick anything flimsy, as that can limit the type of food that you can serve. Instead, choose paper plates that have a special coating on them that allows them to easily hold hot food or liquid without leaking, bending, or completely falling apart. 

Plate Color and Design

With the variety of colors, patterns, and designs available today, there is simply no reason to stick to bland colors and old-fashioned designs. Instead, choose plates that are the center of your party’s decor and that go hand-in-hand with your theme.

Here are some ideas for plate color and design. 

Unique Colors

In addition to classic dinnerware colors, unique hues such as metallic gray, periwinkle blue, mint green, and blush pink are becoming incredibly popular. Show off your unique personality and good taste by going for non-traditional colors for your plates. You can even mix and match if you can’t settle on just one. 

Modern Prints

What’s even more fun than bright, unique colors? Elaborate prints! This is the perfect option if you really want to show off your personality and impress your guests. 

You can opt-in for classic floral prints which are perfect for spring parties. You can go with a checkered print for picnic and BBQ affairs. Or you can think completely out of the box with gorgeous designs such as Moroccan tile or Day of the Dead prints. 

Holiday-Themed Designs

If you’re throwing a holiday party, then the easiest way to get your dinnerware up to par is to choose plates that were created especially for that occasion and can fit with any party theme.

If you’re throwing a Halloween party, then go for plates that are either black and orange or have Halloween-inspired designs on them, like pumpkins, bats, and skulls. For baby showers, pastel colors and preppy prints will go perfectly with the theme of the party. Even holidays like Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Thanksgiving have plate designs that are perfect for the occasion.

Plates for Any Occasion

Picking plates for your party is the perfect exercise in creativity. It lets you build on your party’s theme, show off your unique taste, and really wow your guests. 

For hassle-free and eco-friendly options, consider using sleek and elegant paper plates for your party. Sophistiplate has crafted the perfect plates—in terms of durability, design, and price— that will fit any type of party you choose to throw. 



Plates | Etiquette Scholar

Dining Etiquette & Table Manners | Missouri Western State University

Plastic Pollution Facts and Information | National Geographic 

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post