The dishes we serve vary widely. So do the dishes they are served on. There are many different size plates, bowls and cups in most china patterns, allowing you to choose what fits your meal best. Let's go through some scenarios and see what we come up with.
The main course: Obviously the main course usually features the most food so you'll want to serve on a larger plate. That being said, how big is your main course? You can choose the 11″ to 12″ charger for really big servings, the 10″ dinner plate for smaller, or the 9″ luncheon plate for even smaller servings. Your choice is important because you don't want to serve a large portion on a smaller plate with the food all crowded and overlapping nor do you want your meal to appear small and inadequate by having it appear on a large plate with many empty spaces. Pick what is appropriate, not to large not to small. See Wedgwood Osborne china and Lenox Brookdale china for examples of the pieces mentioned above.
Salads: Obviously there is the salad plate, but we have found the 7″ to 8″ salad plate to occasionally be too big for a salad serving. In that case consider going with the bread & butter plate or even the coupe cereal bowl instead. See Lenox Hancock and the Wedgwood Sterling pattern for some examples of these pieces.
Drinks: The standard for serving drinks (on china that is, crystal is something else entirely) is the tea cup with saucer. The problem tends to be that many tea cups are quite small and while that may work for tea, it hardly fits the bill for other beverages. Consider using mugs instead. Many newer styles such as Lenox Courtyard Platinum and Lenox Erica feature larger tea cups which can contain a nice 8 oz or so, more then meeting the average user's needs.
No one size fits all, but most china patterns feature a size for all your needs. Keep on looking until you get it right.