September 4, 2015

Ask Ashley: Registering For The Fancy Things

So it’s time to talk about your registry again.  Lets be honest, how many of us know anything more about china, crystal and flatware, besides what we think is pretty?  Well today, you are getting a crash course on what to know when you are picking out these centerpieces of a bridal registry.  


China is not cheap, but it is also very durable.  A lot of people think they should save china only for those special occasions and treat it delicately,  when actually, china is one of the most durable products you’ll own and it can absolutely be used every day.  We believe life should be celebrated, so I say, whip out the china any time you sit down for dinner together!

What Type of China Do You Want?
Fine china is made from two materials, bone china or porcelain.  Bone china is typically more expensive, but also more durable.  It is very lightweight, but more resistant to breakage or chipping than other types of dinnerwares.  Keep in mind, bone china should always be hand washed in warm-not hot water and it should never go in the microwave.  Porcelain is typically less expensive and is often microwave and dishwasher safe (just check the back to make sure!)

How Many Sets Do You Need?
China typically comes in a 5 piece set, including  a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bread and butter plate, tea cup and saucer.  Some more casual sets will include a bowl instead of the butter plate and saucer.  If you are a couple that loves to entertain or you have visions of hosting many holiday dinners, I would suggest registering for no less than 10-12 sets,  however, if that doesn’t fit your lifestyle,  it’s okay to register for 8, 6, or even 4 sets.  

China Pattern Picking:
This one is really up to you and by you I mean both of you!  My suggestion, because I love to cook and plate meals in an appealing way,  Simplicity is always best.  With a simple rim design in gold or platinum, you have a perfect canvas for all those beautiful meals that will end up on Instagram.  Those trends of the moment may be hot now, but china will last forever, and get passed down.  Choose something that is timeless.  

Completing Your Set:
Don’t forget to complete your table.  I’m talking sugar bowls, gravy boats, platters, serving bowls, coffee and tea service sets.  These items can sometimes be a little pricey depending on your china pattern and brand, but they too will stand the test of time.  Don’t be afraid to scan that little bar code and add them to your registry.


The Basics:
A five piece place setting includes a dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, tablespoon and teaspoon.  You will want enough sets to match the number of china sets you have requested.  

And Don’t Forget:
Don’t forget about a hostess set!  This includes a large serving spoon, a peirced serving spoon, a sugar spoon, a butter knife and sometimes a cold meat fork.  

You may also want to pick out soup spoons, butter knives, a large ladle, a small label,  a salad serving set, a cake server and various serving spoons.  A foodie might also consider oyster forks, lemon forks, iced tea spoons, grapefruit spoons, etc.  

Picking Your Metal:
Sterling silver is made of at least 92.5% pure silver.  Frequently used sterling needs less care than those that rarely see the light of day. For everyday use, wash sterling flatware by hand in hot, sudsy water.  If absolutely necessary, you can put it in the dishwasher, but don’t make it a habit.  You will need to polish sterling silver at least once a year or it will tarnish.  

Silver plate is another option.  It is less expensive, dishwasher safe and will usually last just as long as sterling.  The difference is instead of being made of silver, a layer 100% silver coats either nickel or brass.  Nickel is best as it is harder than brass and silver adheres to it really nicely.  The thicker the coating of silver, the better the quality of flatware.  You will want to polish it at least once a year to keep it from tarnishing.  

Stainless steel is what most everyday flatware is made from.  It doesn’t rust tarnish or chip.  When purchasing you are looking for grades 18/8 or 18/10 for best quality.  Stainless steele is absolutely dishwasher safe, but be sure to separate it from your silver plated flatware.  

A hot trend right now is Vermeil or Gold Electroplate.  A decorative or thin later of 10 karat (or more) gold is applied to either sterling, metal alloy or stainless steele.  These are often more expensive. 

Choosing A Pattern:
Plain flatware looks great paired with simple white china.  Floral patterns are very romantic and ornate.  Banded looks great with banded china patterns. Angular is fun for a modern flair and works for both formal and informal dining.  


Crystal quality can be judged by sight.  The less flaws you see, the better it is.  You are looking for a brilliant, clear piece.  Keep an eye out for swirls, bubbles or white chunks.  Fine crystal has a high lead count and hand blown crystal should be completely colorless.  When you tap it,  it should sound like a bell.  

How Many:
You’ll want water goblets, white wine glasses and red wine glasses to match the number of china sets you have registered for.  You may also consider champagne flutes, highballs, double old fashioned glasses, margarita glasses and martini glasses. 

Other Items:
You may also consider crystal serving bowls and platters, candlesticks, pitchers and cake pedestals. 

Fine crystal should be hand washed in ht water with mild detergent,  use a sift bristled brush to clean any grooves.  If your crystal has gold or platinum bands, never use hot water of harsh soap also avoid any acidic based soaps.  Dry quickly with a soft towel to avoid water spots

Hopefully this guide will help you make solid choices for the wedding registry items that will last a lifetime.  Do you have a question for me?  Leave it in the comments below!

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