Finding the Right China Pattern

Undecided when it comes to choosing China for your bridal registry; not sure of your style or think it’s too expensive, think again. Get the 411 on choosing your China – from patterns and place settings to cleaning tips and décor.

Registering for China

Registering for good china can be a daunting task for many brides who don’t see how it relates to their lifestyle or who have no idea what to choose. A lot of times, brides are afraid because they feel the choice of picking their fine china has to be eternal, says Ed Lent, Mikasa spokesperson.  

To these brides Lent says, “You’re right, you haven’t set a table, you haven’t made a dinner where you would use fine china, so you don’t know what to choose or if you need it, but don’t let that stop you.”  

If brides don’t think they need fine china now, Lent urges them to, “Look to your future. When you have your own home, you’ll want something more than your everyday dishes for entertaining. Just like name brand clothes that you wear now, it will be a standard of luxury to have beautiful dishes and set a beautiful table.”  

Find a Pattern to Suit your Style
There are two things you need to know before you pick your pattern for your fine dishes, Lent says. “Know what your home interior style will be and what your entertaining style is.” But, for most girls who don’t know the answer, Lent suggests;  

- Look through magazines, websites and books and create a file of images you like. Eventually you’ll see a pattern emerging in your choices and this will help you determine your preference.  

- Don’t worry about making everyone happy. If they don’t like your taste, it’s okay because they’re not living with it. If your taste is ornate choose ornate, if you’re a minimalist, choose accordingly.  

- Pick fine dinnerware in your price range. There are lots of options out there, you just have to get out and check out quality retailers to find it.  

- Mix-and-match two or three sets. If your fiancé likes one and you like another, choose both, coordinate colours and work them together.  

What you need to know about China
- A fine china place setting consists of five pieces: mug, dinner plate, salad plate, dessert bowl and cup and saucer. Today it’s common to have a mug instead of a cup and saucer.

- A bride should order 12 place settings. Always have enough to accommodate eight place settings incase you break a couple.

- A completer set consists of a sugar bowl, creamer, serving bowl and a platter.

- Hollowware, meaning hollow, is a term used to describe china accent pieces, such as a teapot, casserole dish, gravy boat, soup tureen and coffee pot.  

Mix and Matching Dinnerware
A great way to incorporate a new look or add seasonal changes to your tabletop is by mixing and matching your dinnerware, he says.“Mix and matching allows a bride to extend a pattern when you cannot find replacement pieces or spruce up a dated pattern that was passed down as an heirloom.”  

Good Value for your Money Bone china, the highest standard of china, is the strongest and most durable for its weight and will increase in value overtime, Lent says. But for those who can’t afford bone china, Lents advises brides to consider, “Porcelain tableware, which are thicker than bone china and heavier, but are strong, look beautiful and are much more affordable.”  

Replacement Pieces
Keep in mind as your china ages, it’ll become harder to acquire replacement pieces from the manufacturer, so buying a 12 place setting makes sense, Lent says.There are companies who can replace china, however they can be fairly expensive.

Lent’s Tips for Fine China Care  
- There’s a myth that good dishes cannot be put in the dishwasher, and while that may be true for dishes made 20 years ago, with today’s technology, fine china can go in the dishwasher safely 12 times a year; unless the manufacturer advises differently.  

- Most dishwashers come with fine china cycle, so use it.  

- Don’t use lemon detergent because lemon is acidic and could react with some of the glazes or metallic.  

- Use half the amount of liquid dish washer detergent then recommended on the box and use liquid rather than powder, as it’s less abrasive.  

- The secret to washing dishes in the dishwasher is to let them finish cooling completely before removing them from the machine. The reason for this is heat softens metallics when you remove dishes before they’re cooled; microscopically paint is removed from the plate when you touch it. This would be noticeable after prolonged use.  

- Scratches don’t occur from the dishwasher, but from sharp objects scraping the patina, such as a knife. Serve foods on pieces that don’t require a sharp knife to cut, if this is a concern.  

- Rotate your dinnerware; don’t use the same pieces each time. Replace washed dinnerware to the bottom of the pile so all the dinnerware is constantly being used.  

Lent’s Decor tips for Setting the Perfect Table Top
China, crystal and silverware aren’t the only three elements you need to create a great table top. “Adding new elements like hammered silver, alternative metals, stone, wood, and hand blown glass can make your table unique, which is a reflection of your own personal style,” he says. “Fabrics invigorate your dinnerware and can completely change the look of the table top from one season to another.”

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