Don't Register For China

April 19, 2016


Don't Register For China

I have two older sisters. When I was born, they were in junior high and growing up, I completely idolized them. They were beautiful and popular. They had great clothes, listened to fun music, and once married, had fabulous homes. It makes sense that when they gave me advice, I listened.

For example, during my engagement when they told me not to register for china, I didn't.

Their rationale was simple and based on their own experience.

"Whatever you register for now will sit in boxes for years, until you have a home big enough to host the entire family and by then, your taste will have changed and you'll hate it. Register for crystal. You'll use that now and if you pick something classic and you'll love it forever."

A Good Mother Makes A Happy Home

Ok.

Being the starry-eyed little sister, that's what I did.

I wasn't so sure at first. At the store, registry clipboard in hand (remember those?), there were so many lovely patterns.

Vintage Wood and Sons Pink Floral Plate

It was hard to walk away, but you know, everything happened just the way they said it would.

I have a huge family. I am one of the babies. For the first ten to fifteen years of my marriage, I never hosted a holiday.

Not one.

I never had a dinner party either. None of my friends were into it. We were all tired of cooking by the time the weekend rolled around. We went out instead.

My sisters were right, that china would've sat in the box for at least a decade.

And my taste has totally changed.

At 25, I hated the color red.

Did I just say that out loud?

Yup, I did. There, I said it again, just in case you missed it the first time.

Hard to believe isn't it?

Our first apartment was accented in jewel tones, burgundy and green against a lot of beige paint. The first home we owned was the sweetest little cottage and near the beach. It was light, bright and white, with purple, green and yellow peppered throughout. I think I had three cabinets in that kitchen and no actual dining area. The table was just randomly set in the living room, which was the only room in the house, other than the bedrooms and bath.

The china would've been stored away, probably at my mom's and definitely in her garage or basement. As it was, most of the crystal was tucked into a closet. I was only able to keep a few wine glasses out for use.

My sisters knew what they were talking about.

When we moved into our current place, another smallish beach cottage, I started hosting the holidays, generally Christmas and Christmas Eve. I wasn't always able to set a formal table, I'm not sure who has room to seat thirty, no matter the size of the home, but I always wanted the plates to match and be something special.

How to add fabric to glass cabinets
This post contains affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

So my mom started buying me Spode Christmas Tree plates. 

I'm not exactly sure why. I can't recall if I mentioned that I liked them or if as a traditionalist, she decided that I needed some kind of china, but either way, I now have virtually every piece they make. I use it throughout the holiday season. I have used it as early as Thanksgiving and as late as Easter.

Napkin Decoupage Eggs

I know. That's a no-no, isn't it?

Well, it is what it is, I guess, because at present it's the only china I own.

Ok, that's kind of a lie. I do own my mom's Lenox Eternal now. It was a pattern she started collecting after my dad died. She never really liked the orange and brown Mikasa Terra Stone she received for her own wedding. That was the china our holiday tables were set with.

When she sold her house, it was given to me. As a kid, I constantly admired it and said that I would love to have it someday. It was so shiny! What I didn't count on was that someday, I might think that the classic, elegant gold and white pattern would seem a little boring for this girl's taste. What I also didn't count of was that I might like silver more than gold during middle age and that ~ probably most importantly ~ it's a lot of work to unpack, wash and pack it all up again for one holiday.

I am so honored to have it, I just don't see myself using it.

Much.

That's not to say that I don't have a ton of dishes peppered around my house.

I am actually dish obsessed!!

Country Pine Plate Rack

Next to white pitchers and cake plates, dishes, of any type are my weakness.

Easy DIY Flower Pot
Flower Pot Fruit Bowl

I don't buy whole sets. No room. But I buy.

Spode Christmas Tree Glassware

Some patterns are purchased for eating, some are strictly for display, some are dual purpose.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Name Card
Thanksgiving Place Cards

They are all pretty though and over the last decade, as you can imagine, they are all red.

Pottery Barn Holiday Plates
An Unexpected Journey

Have I thought of whipping out some of my mom's Lenox, mixing it up with a few of my own random plates and Spode pieces to create an eclectic holiday table setting?

Christmas Plates

Most definitely.

Of course, as the family keeps expanding and we move towards another round of high chairs at the table, I may be setting it with Chinet instead of actual china and all those plates may just stay tucked away in their boxes for a few more years.

That's a lot more likely.

It's a good thing my crystal goes with everything.

Crystal Wine Glasses

Boy, am I glad I listened to my sisters.

Cheers!

What was your bridal china pattern?





   

60 comments:

  1. I never registered for anything! Back when I got married, your preferences were written on the shower invitation. My "good" dishes were those I collected before I got married, as premium give-aways from the grocery store! And I still have those dishes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet those dishes are super charming Kathy...and they have a story. I love that!

      Delete
  2. Oh gosh did you get me thinking. What a process that was. I never heard they crystal recommendation but it does make sense. I have my mother's china, all in nice little zipper cases, in the back of one of my cabinets. I do love the pattern and would actually use it if I ever did entertain but I haven't for a long time. I think I should just treat myself to new crystal and call it done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still adore my crystal, Barbara and I have room for it in the cabinet. I can just grab it whenever I need. That is the best part! ;)

      Delete
  3. Good Morning Kim,

    My patterns were Franciscan Platinum Renaissance china and Franciscan Madeira pottery.
    And you are right- in fact your post reminded me about a post I wrote years ago advising my daughters to select china if they wanted it- because pottery is now fairly affordable- but to not select serving pieces or any extras. They date the set, take up too much room, and are too expensive for guests to buy.

    And then there is the fact that my daughters and I are all explorers and 'finders' so we enjoy finding our own dishes.

    It is a slippery slope isn't it?

    I hope you will share this at Thoughts of Home on Thursday this week.
    Just stop by my blog to join in.
    We would love to have you!
    Enjoyed visiting,

    Laura
    White Spray Paint

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love finding my own dishes, too! As a matter of fact, I just talked myself out a few plates the other day. I am still thinking about them though! ;) Thanks for the invite!

      Delete
  4. I did not register for china or crystal. My granny offered to get what I needed for tableware and I asked for Corelle! It was used and used. Your sisters gave you good advice :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Corelle is awesome, Karen. I have a few pieces and they're my favorite!

      Delete
  5. Oh, Kim, we are certainly kindred spirits when it comes to dishes. I didn't register for china either. My situation was different. I was the first one married of my siblings. What did we know of weddings. I wasn't one of those girls who had dreamed for years of a fairy tale wedding and had every detail planned out since I was 12. I didn't do the wedding registry at all. For years I had regular old stoneware, possibly hand me down although it has been so long I don't really remember. My mom also bought me Christmas dishes with a Christmas tree on them over the years. Mine is Nikko. For the past 15 or more years my everyday dishes are restaurant supply. I recently have been bitten by the thrifting bug and regularly hit the dish section of several stores. Now that I am an emptynester I recently bought my first set of real china and it is white with two thin silver bands. This week I am working on a space in my basement where I can put my stuff on shelves and get at it. (Did you see the dish room on this week's MM on BNOTP?) Have you seen those end to end tables set up outdoors for those farm to table meals. That is my inspiration. Fun post. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS I checked out your mom's china from the link and it is beautiful--classic and elegant. Perhaps you need a dish room. If you didn't have to unbox it you might be more inclined to use it. Just as a thought perhaps you could load up a couple cups, saucers and small plates and have a special coffee or tea party with your mom.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for sharing, Lorri. I have to say the comments on this post have been so much fun to read. I did see that dish room and I literally drooled! If I had an extra inch in this house I would do that in an instant! My grandmother had a butler’s pantry and gorgeous carved mahogany and glass built ins in her dining room. Spectacular. She displayed all of her china. The end to end tables are lovely. I have a bunch of those pinned!!

      Delete
    3. I do need a dish room, Lorri! This tiny cottage has no space for that, but I agree, it's a classic pattern and I would use it if I could get at it easier!

      Delete
  6. I didn't register for china either. :) My mom gave me her wedding china and crystal, so I never saw a need, but I totally remember walking around with that clipboard, writing things down before the digital age. Lol! One of our first homes was decorated in hunter green and burgundy too. It was THE color in the early 90's. My tastes have definitely changed through the years too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, those 90s colors were all the rage! I had the shower curtain that matched the bedding and the curtains, too. Now nothing in my house matches…but I still like the green! :)

      Delete
  7. We have Lenox china that we registered for. It's collecting dust. We also got silverplate flatware that never came out of the box until a year ago. I mixed it in with my everyday stuff.

    I think young girls now are often skipping china.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think many are, too, Stacey. I know that in my neck of the woods, a starter home is close to half a million dollars. Everyone just wants cash...and while living in an apartment and saving for the house, no one has any room for the pretty stuff!

      Delete
  8. I'm of the era that did register for china and everything else, but I'm not sorry I did. At the time, my hubby-to-be shared a story about his sister and sil registering for this super-expensive china and ended up getting just a few odd pieces....too expensive for most people to buy a complete place-setting. We kept that in mind when we went to the one and only department store in our small town that did wedding registries. We picked out a very simple and pretty Noritaki china that we both loved, but it was reasonably priced. We ended up getting 8 complete place settings with most of the extra serving pieces as well. I've never kept them tucked away. We've always used them for the "special" and the "not so special" times. In all the many moves we've made in our almost 47 years of marriage, not a single piece of that china has ever been broken.

    I do agree that it's probably not the thing to do today or when you got married. I feel we live in a time where most people change their minds so quickly and so very often, sometimes as often as they change their underwear! We still have and use things that are way older than most of the bloggers I am friends with. It really is a generational-thing, I guess.

    Warm hugs and hope you are finally getting some Spring weather!
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you benefitted from a sister’s experience, too, Carol! It’s great that you used your pieces so often and still love them. :)

      Delete
  9. I married in 1987, did people register then? I never came from a social set that registered for anything at all. A gift was chosen by the giver & we were grateful no matter what it was. So I didn't register for anything.

    I did want a set a 'china' though. So after a few yrs of marriage my husband & I chose what we liked & bought Mikasa's Garden Harvest stoneware. I still love it! & I use it more than ever. It's dishwasher, microwave to oven safe. I've used it for all of our family & company dinners for a good 20 yrs now & never tire of it. I've found pieces at yard sales & added to it over the yrs as well.

    The colors aren't really my colors anymore. It does have that 80's look to it as well but no one complains. They either comment on how pretty it is or say nothing at all. People only care about what's ON the plate anyway. ;)

    I am a dishaholic & have bought a lot of pieces at yard sales & thrift shops. Most are classic whites or crystal so they go along with anything. I've bought smaller sets of different designs & colors to mix with what I already have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mixing and matching is my favorite, too and I agree, it's really what's on that plate that matters to the guests!!

      Delete
  10. You were wise to listen to your sisters, Kim. My taste has changed so much over the years, too. Your post brought two memories to mind. First, when I was in high school, I worked as a floater in a local department store that had a china registry, so when called to work in that section, I helped register brides. Second, when I got engaged, I benefited from someone else who had registered, and like your sisters described never used their china. We taught together and she asked if I would be interested in her 12 piece china set as a wedding gift. Interestingly at the time, I was more touched by her gesture than the china, but guess what? She had great taste (Noritake Bancroft) and over the years I have grown to absolutely adore that china. You've probably seen it on my blog. It is a classic that I can mix with any of my vintage obsessions ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely gift you received. I bet she was thrilled to give it to someone who really appreciated it! :)

      Delete
  11. Back in 1984, it was the "thing" to register for china and crystal when you got married. So, not even thinking ahead to if we'd even use it, we went ahead and did so at Marshall Fields. Our china pattern was Noritake Bambury and we also got Waterford crystal wine goblets. Fast-forward almost 32 years, and I can count on one hand how many times we've used this china and crystal! I thought our china was so beautiful...pale blue flowers around the outside edges and the rim edged in silver.
    I have the same "mother" plate as the one in your post, though mine is blue and white. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that Mother plate, Melanie. It was a Christmas present from my kids. My husband and I spotted one in a thrift shop, but we passed. Apparently, he found one on eBay for me. It makes it even more special. :)

      Delete
  12. You have very wise sisters, Kim. It's amazing how our taste changes over the years and what we thought we wanted when we first started out isn't at all what we want today. My very favorite is plain white dishes with a couple of colorful odds and ends thrown in the mix to keep things interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plain white is a wonderful backdrop, Susan. It's a classic!

      Delete
  13. You've got some pretty smart sisters. I don't have any china. Never wanted it, still don't. I'm not a collector by nature so it's not something that ever appealed to me. Besides, my tastes change all the time and I knew that if I spent all that money and got a set of pretty china, I would be sick of it in a few years time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto, Kristi…on all points! ;)

      Delete
  14. I did the China register thingy and pottery too . . .
    Plus silver and crystal.
    I gave my daughter my Chevy Chase Syracruse China this past year
    in addition to my mother's Alpine, Syracruse China.
    I seldom used it . . . and surprising, she used it this past holiday season.
    Her home seems to have become the "place to go"!
    I have many settings of Mikasa, English Countryside pottery
    with Mikasa, Holiday season and Spode, Holly Tree for holiday gatherings.
    Love the white, and the mix and match of the green holly and other dishes.
    I collect some Red Wing pottery . . .
    Waterford in my crystal and
    Old Lace by Towle in my silver.
    My parents gave me my first spoon at my birth . . .
    And I received a piece of silver each year after.
    You always stir my memories . . .
    Thank you for the fun post!
    For me, I was happy my mother encouraged me to register and save.
    Many dinner gathering memories . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like registering was the right choice for you Lynne and the fact that you still love it and use it all is wonderful. I am a little bit green at the prospect of all that storage space! I put my plates on the wall or I wouldn’t have the room for them! ;)

      Delete
  15. I love your collection of random red dishes. Having them displayed around your home adds so much charm, I think. I did not receive gifts like china or crystal for my wedding so I bought my own! I still love my china from 35 years ago and I only use it for very special occasions. When we moved into my current home it actually matched the dining room wallpaper, until we recently decided to tear it all off. I am safe though because the colors will stay the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s awesome AnnMarie! I can’t wait to se how the dining room turns out! :)

      Delete
  16. Too bad I didn't have older, wiser sisters to advise me as yours did, Kim. We did the usual thing all engaged couples did at the time and registered for china. Our pattern was Noritake Lorelei. It's very pretty and I ended up with 12 place settings. Which I used maybe 4 times in 25 years of marriage. My late husband and I moved 15 times in our marriage and the china stayed in packing boxes most of those years. When we finally settled in a place where I could have a china cabinet to store the china, I decided I didn't like the pattern -- it wasn't my style after all those years later (see, I needed that wise sister to tell me that would happen!). So, we sold it all to Replacements Ltd and I never have looked back. The crystal was antique and purchased by my mother for our wedding. The silver plate was a gift from my mother-in-law. I sold the crystal several years ago. The silver plate is somewhere in a packing box, I think. Or maybe I gave it to my DIL. I just don't remember, and I don't care. I'm just happy to be rid of things I never, ever use. And if my granddaughter should marry I hope to be the one who can wisely advise her to dispense with china, at least until she's satisfied that she knows her taste won't change and that her style of entertaining merits the purchase. Good post, my friend. One every woman should share with a newly engaged friend or relative. Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have often told my mother that the best thing she ever gave me, was two older sisters. Lots of good advice from them has been received over the years. Sometimes, I don't listen, sometimes, I do, but their honest thoughts have always been appreciated...and this time, they were so right!! :)

      Delete
  17. Hello Kim, that was good advice from your sisters! I only use my china about once a year for the holidays. I do enjoy using it then. I also have a lot of china; from my mother in law and china my hubby's aunt bought for me too which I love. It's fun to have all sorts of different pieces as you have. I too have so much Christmas china in different pieces too but not a whole set. I like the china your mom gave you, it's really pretty.
    Hope you have a nice end to the week.
    Julie xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you have enough china to mix and match and set a really pretty table, Julie! Lucky girl! :)

      Delete
  18. Cute post, Kim, and something I'm very familiar with. I never registered for things for my wedding, it was so long ago, maybe they didn't do that then??! I bought a vintage set in browns and those are my "fall" dishes, then I bought a new pink set for summer and spring but then redid the dining room so they don't really match anymore. Home Goods is my shop of choice and my weakness, but like you, I only buy in sets of 2 salad or cake plates then use with my white dishes that were a grocery store premium years ago. Now I can't find where I put any of them half the time so it's mostly the chipped and cracked in front of the TV..Happy Weekend..Judy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just saw the sweetest red flowered dishes at Homegoods, this week, Judy. It took all that I had in me not to buy a few! ;)

      Delete
  19. We didn't register for china as we were headed overseas to do missions work. I have a lot of dishes, but still no 'real' china. I have purchased Johnson Bros. Friendly Village dishes that we use during the autumn and winter. My tastes have changed over the years too, and am glad now that I did register for china when getting married 28 years ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like my sisters were right, Deanna!

      Delete
  20. Glad to see you here at TOHOT!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Such good advice. What an absolute delight this post is!!! Thank you so very much for joining the gathering at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura. I love reading the comments!

      Delete
  22. I thoroughly enjoyed this post Kim, and I enjoyed reading the comments almost as much. It's so interesting to read about the experiences of others, which definitely are a reflection of the times we grew up in. In my thirties I worked as a Bridal Consulatn at Macy's, and yes, I remember the clipboards well ;). At the time, I was married but had no China, crystal or sterling flatware. Registering wasn't something our family did. For weddings, it was customary to give money. Remember that scene in the godfather when a guest was giving an actual gift and he didn't know what to make of it? That was our family, minus the mafia connections lol.

    I did acquire all the accouterments while working at Macy's, getting the benefit of a discount and purchased a simple creme and gold pattern (boring but classic), Waterford stemware (of which many broke when a shelf gave way) and gorgeous sterling. I just used them for the first time in a while a couple of weeks ago. The formality of the pieces just don't work well with our casual lifestyle and cabin.

    Your sisters were wise. Couples now, if they do register, often go to stores like Home Depot to do so. Times have changed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doreen I was one of the brides at Macy's. Lol. Who knows maybe you were there, was it the Herald Square store?

      Delete
    2. Your comment made me laugh Doreen! I am a Sicilian girl. I know exactly what you mean about giving money. Cash is king at weddings in our family. I did register and I registered at Macy’s! I had a clipboard and lovely lady helping me out. She was perplexed when I passed on the china. Apparently, it just wasn’t done. And you’re so right, today’s registries are filled with items from non-traditional stores, with necessary items. I still prefer cash! ;)

      Delete
  23. Oh no....you scalded my eyeballs.....you didn't like RED????????? I am sure glad you came to your senses somewhere in time :^)
    In the long run, I agree with your sisters though. I have since assigned all of my registry items to one kid or another, so I can just "compile" sets of dishes to suit myself :^) Red and white transferware and white ironstone can just be added on to at whim. They are my favorites. I do have a set of "Christmas Tree" knock off dishes....actually I much prefer them to the real ones! At Christmas (30 settings or so), you will find all three on my tables. I just alternate R&W, Christmas Tree and ironstone....on watch plaid tablecloths, it looks spectacular......I think........No one ever complains if there is enough food ;^)
    Have a great weekend and be blessed!
    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, shocking, J, isn’t it? I keep telling people, not to judge. I was young! I didn’t know any better! ;)

      And I agree, the dishes look great when covered with food. They match everyone’s taste then!

      Delete
  24. Hi,
    I am back.
    The time with Betty at the flower farm was wonderful. :-) I have many ideas to build my dreams on. I will share more soon.
    I had to chuckle, we did not register for anything. We wanted $$! Ha!
    Have a great start to the new week,
    Carla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you had a great time with Betty! And in our family we believe that cash is king!! Especially for weddings!! :)

      Delete
  25. I did register for china but I only chose the casual. Way back then you chose two sets, one being formal and the other your every day dishes. Well, I was really bad because when I went to pick up gifts from the store I saw some decorative things and exchanged some dishes for them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you ended up with some really pretty gifts and I think that's all that mattered! And I won't tell! ;)

      Delete
  26. I did the china thing Kim. But I chose a casual pattern and not formal with ivory and gold etc. I still love it and there are some pieces I use more than others, I've even broken a few. I remember my relatives looking down on my choice because they said it was not formal enough. But I wanted to be able to use itmore than once a year! I am happy I chose my casual set. As for my Crystal it is all broken.. haha! And Kim don't tell us you did not like red, we will be mortified!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your pattern sounds charming and practical. What could be better than that? Haha...and yes, it's hard to believe about the red, huh? I was young Mary, I didn't know any better! ;)

      Delete
  27. Such a nice thought provoking post and all the comments are so interesting. I didn't register. We were mostly given money which we put to good use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Money is always helpful and certainly a whole lot more practical! I like reading the comments, too. Everyone seems to have a great story to share!

      Delete
  28. When I got married the first time, I had some kind of stoneware set (I think it was "in") that I loved at the time, but came to dislike. I was never sorry to see it go, and I had to give it away b/c it wouldn't even sell in a garage sale. You were so smart to listen to your sisters. So when I got married again, I didn't register for anything. Of course, I was older & had most everything I wanted. I've never been a "dishes" girl so I didn't miss that. Now I'm more into dishes, but the need to downsize is overriding my budding desire for dishes. My husband likes dishes and glassware more than I do. He's always wanting to buy new glasses sets, and I'm like we already HAVE 4 sets!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh yes, I forgot to say that my very favorite china is some I got/inherited from my grandmother...Crown Ducal from England, and it is exquisite, to my mind anyway. I enjoy using it on special occasions, but it all has to be handwashed, and I'm lazy, so I talk myself out of using it. My BROTHER, wanted the china too. That's how pretty it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow...it sounds like it must be pretty if everyone wants it. I am off to Google it now Florence. Maybe I'll want it!!! ;-)

      Delete

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think! I love comments and respond to them all. Thanks so much for visiting! *Please note that if your comment contains a hyperlink it will not be published.