Photo from via The Knot
The prettiest place settings include a charger. The charger or service plate is the larger decorative plate used to add color and texture to the place setting. They're a beautiful addition but are often only found at formal weddings because it's an additional piece to rent and clean (and transport if you're having an outdoor wedding). I love chargers but had given up on them because of the additional cost. Then I found this...
I absolutely love this idea from the Every Last Detail blog (which is filled with great advice and ideas, by the way). She used standard scrapbook paper as a charger. It's the budget friendly option. There are so many kinds of this paper at craft stores. I'm excited just thinking about the possibilities here. You could buy a variety of colors, patterns, and textures that all work together and mix the place settings.
Bonus: it's inexpensive and easy to clean. Make sure to purchase when they're on sale and/or grab a circular for a 30% or 40% off coupon. Most chain craft stores offer a coupon like this.