Wednesday, August 31, 2011

unsolicited wedding advice wednesdays : dinnerware

Market Street Dinnerware by Kate Spade for Lenox

Larabee Road Dinnerware by Kate Spade for Lenox

Dinnerware.  Love it or hate it.  How many settings do you get?  What color?  Do you need a whole set?  Will you end up using the 5" party plates?  Augh, dinnerware.  My mom's advice to me when I moved was, "Don't buy expensive dinnerware.  Just go to Ikea."  And while I heard her I didn't listen and I bought dinnerware from Crate & Barrel.  C'mon, you're just starting a new chapter in your life, Ikea dinnerware just feels like you're going backward to college.  In some ways I regret not listening to my mom's advice as I stupidly break dishes and freak out because it's a discontinued design.  Dinnerware sets can be satisfying because everything matches but also imprisoning BECAUSE everything matches.  At least for me an incomplete set of something can bug me to no end.  By the way, how cute are these Kate Spade sets for Lenox?!

So here's a little questionnaire that Mark and I asked ourselves and helped us make some dinnerware decisions:
  1. Do we see nice china as an INVESTMENT or not, as in is it "worth" extra money?  
  2. Do we enjoy ENTERTAINING guests (having groups) at our house?  How many people could realistically fit in our house?
  3. Will we ever have to host FAMILY events, i.e. Christmas dinner, Easter brunch?
  4. What kind of DECORATING style do we have, i.e. modern, country, boho, Asian?
  5. Does one of us have a PERFECTIONIST type personality?
  6. What kind of dishes do we ALREADY have?

Q.1. We decided that we didn't see fine china as an investment but I thought it was worth a little extra money to have something nice for the house.  So instead of going for Ikea we settled for an affordable design (that was on sale even!) from Crate & Barrel.  Remember, investment also means you're probably going to have this for the rest of your life so you probably should up the place setting amount you're thinking of getting thinking of the future.
Q.2. I enjoy having small-medium sized groups over for dinner and I knew we might have to host our church small group at some point so we settled on 8 place settings (10 was tempting).  Personally, I think that unless you're a recluse the minimum for any couple is 6 settings (especially if you'll be having kids).  Before you starting over compensating and getting 16 settings you have to think about the second question: How many people realistically can fit in your house or apt?  If only 10 people can fit comfortably then there's no reason to get 16 settings UNLESS you're going the investment route in which case you might want to because you're not going to be living in that small apt forever.
Q.3. If you think you'll ever have to host a family event you probably should get something nicer than Ikea.  Unless both your families are totally casual and are fine with whatever.  In which case you may be in denial or have the perfect family. 
Q.4. This might be a hard question for the couple to answer together.  If your styles clash or have a tendency to fluctuate you might want to consider something classic and neutral like white that will go with everything.  
Q.5. If one or both of you have a perfectionist personality you might want to get matching sets as opposed to a more eclectic/boho style of mix and match dinnerware.  However, be warned that dishes do break and sets may not remain perfectly intact forever.     
Q.6. If one or both of you have already accumulated a lot of random dishes you might want consider donating them to a poor college student or to Goodwill.  But if after all the discussion you're happy to keep what you have in all it's mix and match glory you might consider running with that idea.  

It's not for everyone but if I had enough money and time I would go the mix and match route.  I'd probably stick to a color palette (like yellow and navy, for example) and to a shape (roundish), and a size (8"-8.5" or 10" are standards).  It would be no problem if one broke because it wouldn't have a set to disrupt and they'd still stack nicely in the cabinets.  

Zaine Plate from Crate & Barrel

Mum Plate from Crate & Barrel

Hamptons Yellow Salad Plate from Crate & Barrel

Natural World Dessert Plate, Hummingbird from Anthropolgie

From the Deep Salad Plate, Octopus from Anthropologie

Sen-Gaki Salad Plate from Anthropolgie

Petite Fille Plate from Anthropologie


  1. Oooooh. I really like that top one from Crate and Barrel. Which one did you guys choose? We didn't get china or anything close :( We got Fiestaware lol. Maybe when we buy a new house that'll be the first thing I buy since our home is too small to entertain.

  2. Yeah, that one is fun huh? You know, I actually like Fiestaware. It's really fun and affordable. Good for kids too ;)

    We ended up getting Stockton Dinnerware from C&B: It's nice but I'm paranoid about stuff breaking now that it's replacement pieces in the future! :P

  3. I like Fiestaware too, we actually use it everyday and we have every color they make. Jeff likes them mix matched.

    Those are nice because they're not super trendy and they wont go out of style. Very classic :) You know, I recently broke a bowl I got at Pier One from a long time ago and I researched finding another one. If you ever break one check out They sell discontinued china. And they had mine available! I seriously got these bowls like 8 years ago. I paid a little extra than originally but it's worth it to have the full set again :)

  4. I bet your dishwasher looks like it's going to have a party with all the Fiestaware loaded inside!

    That's good advice checking! Yeah, I think I'd spend the extra money to have the full set again too. It's the type of thing that would keep me up at night, lol!

  5. I LOVE the polka dots!!!!! They are AWESOME!!!!

  6. i know, right?! So cute. And just YOUR style, Shelby! :)


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