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Friday
Oct292010

Wearing White

Noooo....I don't mean on your wedding day. I mean after your wedding. And not on your body, but on your table. Yeah, that's right. I'm talking about dishes. Did you register for them? Will you? I definitely did. Why? Because as a Good Southern Married Woman I am required by Southern Law to do so. We need our "good china" y'all. My everyday china is nothing to sneeze at - it's Noritake stoneware - full service sets for 12 plus serving dishes that I got for FREE from a couple I know who sold their lake house and needed to clean it out. That haul also got me several of my Calphalon pots, pans and a few Restoration Hardware prints. Nice...

Anyway, I felt like while our everyday stuff is fine, it is very casual. I wanted to have nice china for Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving dinners. I like nicely set tables. My mom always does a really nice job of this and perhaps it's her habit of decorating the table that makes me want to have the "special" china for special dinners. We registered for our dinnerware at Crate and Barrel and I chose the Staccato pattern (we were lucky enough to have every single place setting piece we registered for given to us as a mucho generous gift from my aunt and uncle. THANKS, Sister!).

Why? Because it's simple, classic and elegant. I am going to go ahead and encourage everyone to buy white dinnerware, particularly for your formal stuff if you're going that route. Why? Because it's the most versatile. You can dress white with just about anything and have a gorgeous table setting.See:

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Romantic, feminine and oh, so pretty!

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I like this presentation from Young House Love. Imagine if they changed those table runners out for something more formal - like gold or silver - and took out the apple green bowls. Totally fancy-schmacy in a very simple presto-change-o kinda way.

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Oh. My. God. Y'all know how I love me some doilies. How cute are these all scattered about? Love. And it's just the little accessories of blue that make this setting unique.Again, pick a color scheme that works for the holiday, theme of you dinner party or just your mood that day.

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Come ON! How cute, right?

Think of it this way - your dinnerware and service pieces are like your little black dress. You've got one. It's basic. You rely on it. How do you make it current or different for the event you're attending? ACCESSORIZE ("The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize!"). Napkins, napkin rings, flowers, candles, table runners/cloths - all of those things are what you need for presto change-o fabulousness. And you can ALWAYS get that stuff WAY cheap, particularly at after Christmas sales at places like Pier 1 or Cost Plus World Market.

And when you're shopping for dinnerware, you need to remember a few things. First, while you may think I'm nuts and want to go for a bold dinnerware pattern, keep this in mind. Studies have shown (I know this only because of the industry I've been working in for the last 15 years) that people enjoy their food LESS when they are eating it off of a wildly patterned dish. That's why when you look at dishes, most of the styles only have the pattern on the rims. People will actually enjoy their food less when eating off of something like this:

And they would enjoy their food more if they were instead, eating it off of this:

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The other thing to consider is the usability of your dinnerware. Can it go in the dishwasher? ? Lots of patterned pieces that are hand painted or have really detailed decals (like the one directly above) don't recommend it. If you'd like me to explain why, send me an email and I'll tell you. I don't think everyone wants to read about how dinnerware is kiln-fired and how varying kiln temps don't always create a consistent seal on decals, blah, blah blah. Just trust me, m'kay? I know about this junk. Also, does it have metallic trim? If so, you will definitely be hand washing. And don't even think of putting it in the microwave unless you feel like blowing some stuff up.

The other great thing about simple, white dinnerware is that you can add on pieces later that aren't necessarily part of the set. For instance, the Stacatto pattern does not come with a gravy boat. WHAAAA? I know, right? I mean, what kind of Good Southern Married Woman can one be without a gravy boat? After the wedding I was looking at some of C&B's plainer gravy boats and they were like eighty billion dollars. OK, maybe not that much, but right after the wedding/honeymoon, it felt like that much. I was trolling around Target not long afterwards and found a really nice quality gravy boat for $9.99. Love it. I also bought a double handled solid white serving tray for $19.99 that goes really well with the pattern too. If I hadn't written this post, no one would be the wiser that I didn't get it all together (shhh, don't tell my dinner guests). 

Oh, and just in case you need it, here's the how-to when you set your pretty new table for your first married-people dinner soiree.

Or if you just can't wait to have that dinner party, you can do what me and The Candyman did.

Mmmm. Grill cheese sammies and mac and bean soup. They actually taste better on fine china.

So, now that I've sung the praises of white dinnerware, what's your take? Are you going to register for every day china or the fancy-schmancy stuff? Patterned or plain? Do tell.

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Reader Comments (9)

I think this is my first time commenting. I've been reading your blog for a while now and love it! I'm a 30-something bride too who is getting married next Saturday. I registered for both everyday dishes and china, which some of my friends don't understand but well I'm a southern girl too (even though I live in NYC) and we do love us some dishes. I can't wait to unwrap all of our gifts and set a beautiful table! (I'm still not sure where I'm going to store everything but I will figure that out later). I'm obsessed with white, our wedding is actually all white and I can't wait to see everything come together next Saturday.

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSydney

@ Sydney - Another lurker! I love my lurkers. I lurk a lot too. It's way OK to be a lurker. At any rate, I hope you have a FABULOUS thirty-something white white wedding next Saturday!

October 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterLouise

We didn't register for fancy schmancy China for a few reasons 1. I was afraid we would only get a few pieces and have to buy the rest ourselves which = expensive 2. I knew we wouldn't use them enough to make it worth it 3. My mom has pretty China that she said we could have if we want from when she got married.

We did register for everyday dishes in a pretty green shade which I love but they weren't so expensive that we could easily replace them or mix them with other dishes later on.

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I love white china. But I am intending to use it everyday. We are getting a couple sets of fancy schmancy china from grandparents, most likely pieces that will sit in our (non-existent) china cabinet way more than on the table. White is just so versatile, goes from everyday to special occasion with ease, like you said. I am still getting over feeling strange about registries, so thanks for this post!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda May

Gah. I love that Crate and Barrel pattern. All food looks good on white, so it's a perfect choice, in my opinion. We aren't registering, but if I was, I would be all over that gorgeous pattern.

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

WELL - I am proud to say that we too registered for Staccato from Crate & Barrel....though it's not only our "pretty" ware, it's our "everyday" ward. (However, now that we are goign to be adding to our family soon with a lil baby on the way, we will probably get a set of funky everyday dishes on the cheap...stuff I wouldn't care about breaking.

I wanted simple and elegant white dinnerware from the beginning. For the SAME reasons that you do! Great minds think alike. I'm wondering if I shouldn't purchase an extra set just to have on hand!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJes

Gah! After your budgeting layout, this might my fave of your posts. LOVE! You & I have already chatted about all things mannerly & polite and nothing caps it all off like a "proper" table. In our family there's always a well set table for any holiday or occasion.

I thought about registering for the C&B pattern you have, but I ended up going with PB's "Emma" in white because, well, I'm obsessed with PB - and yes, we have every single serving piece as well. I even registered for 1 16pc. set in Yellow for a fun pop of color. We weren't going to register for fine china, because to be honest - my mother has 2 huge sideboards full of it. But she made me pick a pattern & then she bought them all. We kept our fine china pretty simple as well. It's formal, but we can dress it up & play with it and I love that. I've written a couple posts about it but here's my favorite (from the Wedding Blog, not the new one)
http://beerbudgetbridesmusings.blogspot.com/2010/05/fine-china-more-bang-for-your-buck.html

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDancy

Brilliant. We never registered for dinnerware though I randomly ordered Mikasa white and gray plates a while ago. I say ehh to matching dinnerware (and because I can't have that with a dinner party greater than 4)

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChic 'n Cheap Living

White has always been one of my favorite colors may it be for the shirt, or chinaware. It looks fresh and clean. White can be paired with any other color.

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJacy

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