- Buy two china sets: one formal, and the other casual. Although fine, or formal, china was once reserved for special celebrations only, it's now making its way into everyday occasions — and vice-versa. Fine china, which might include porcelain or bone china, is more expensive and higher-quality.
- Register for eight to 12 place settings. The standard in the registry business is to plan for eight to 12 place settings, particularly if you have a large family or entertain frequently. Even if you don't, it may be necessary to think far ahead for future holiday and special occasion entertaining needs.
- Your casual place setting will probably come in a four-piece set... Casual settings will include a dinner plate, salad or dessert plate, soup bowl, and mug.
- ...while formal place settings come in five-piece sets. Formal china includes a dinner plate, a salad or dessert plate, a bread plate, a cup, and a saucer.
- Select wisely! China should reflect your personal taste. Between floral, geometric, banded rim and Oriental patterns, there are plenty of designs to choose from. Landing on the right set will anchor your style at the dinner table.
- So what about those chargers? Chargers — also known as service, buffet, or chop plates — are larger than dinner plates, but smaller than platters. They're used mainly for decorative purposes, and are either removed once guests are seated, or when entrées are served. Think of them not as a requirement, but rather an additional and optional touch.
- Don't forget the rest. Complement your basic set with platters, vegetable bowls, soup bowls, coffee and tea accessories, gravy boats, and more.
- Consider your silverware, too. Since you'll be serving them together, you don't want the two to clash!
- Keep in mind that not all of it's dishwasher-safe. Don't throw that charger in the washer just yet! First, check each pattern's specifications, since not all of them can be machine washed without harm.
Did I leave anything off this list? What do you wish you knew when registering for china?