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Wedding Registry 101: Dinnerware

Ah, the wedding registry. Some people hate it, while others love it. But one thing's for sure, nearly every couple has one. Personally I think they're fantastic. Creating a registry is probably the only socially acceptable thing you can do where you tell people exactly what you want and have them purchase it for you. And besides, the majority of newlyweds rely on them to get their home stocked with essentials.

Purchasing things off of someone's registry is usually pretty simple, however setting up your own registry can be quite daunting. So to help you maneuver you way through registry dos and don'ts, we'll spotlight each of the five traditional kitchen/dining categories (dinnerware, flatware, glassware, appliances and kitchenware) and provide a bunch of extra tips too. So be sure to check it out each day this week.

To start things off, we'll look into the world of dinnerware. To see what you should add to your list,

These days there seems to be a specialized dish for everything, you can go crazy and put everything on your register, but a good rule of thumb is to put the basics on your registry and add more once things have begun to be purchased (although some people think this is a bad idea and prefer to give their guests as many options as possible).

  • It's suggested that you register for at least 8 place settings, preferably 12, and a basic set of serving pieces.
  • Although people traditionally register for two place settings (fancy and everyday), more couples are going for one nicer everyday set instead.
  • Your formal setting should include: dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, and cup & saucer - soup bowls are usually not part of the setting, but also make a nice addition to the registry.
  • Your everyday setting should include: dinner plate, salad plate, soup/cereal bowl and mug or cup & saucer.
  • If you're not sure of your color scheme, register for white or ivory dishes. You can always add color to your table with linens and decor.
  • If given the option, be sure to register for the "completer set" - this typically includes vegetable bowl, platters, sugar bowl and creamer, etc. This way everything will match and nothing will be left off the list.
  • For your everyday place settings, make sure you select something that is safe for microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher.
  • Start with the dishes first, you may be tempted to put those cute little gravy boats on your registry first, but it's easier to find accessories to match your set, than the other way around.
  • Think timeless. Although you may love the wild pattern today, is this something that will pass the test of time? Is it something you would want to pass on to future generations?
  • And finally, a checklist of dinnerware you should consider adding to your registry:

    - Formal Place Settings (8 or 12 settings)
    - Casual Everyday Place Settings (8 or 12 settings)
    - Cake Plate/Stand
    - Butter Dish
    - Soup Tureen
    - Serving Trays (3-5)
    - Serving Bowls (3-5)
    - Platters (3-5)
    - Salad Bowl
    - Salt & Pepper Shakers
    - Gravy Boat & Stand
    - Teapot
    - Pitchers

Got other dinnerware registry tips or questions? Let us know below! And be sure to check back tomorrow when I hand out tips for selecting drinkware.

celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 10 years
the registry makes things so much easier!
Season Season 10 years
nycgirl--Again, why I want a site where people can go halvsies. However, if you registered somewhere with gift cards, people could contribute what they think is appropriate and you can choose (with the aforementioned discount afterward) what you prefer and you can prioritize.
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
Season - my friend just did a registry at There was stuff from all sorts of vendors, and it was great. I am engaged and considering registering. However we only want the 'nicer everyday' set. Is it really reasonable to expect people to pay $85 for a set or $225 for a platter? It seems too rich for the blood of my guests, and I don't want them to feel pressured into spending tons, but it *is* what we want...
Tech Tech 10 years
I'm putting together an online registry guide for tomorrow...hopefully I will answer all your questions there!
Season Season 10 years
Does anyone by any chance know of a way to set up a registry website that doesn't use a store website? I feel like people get in a rut and pick only from one place because they don't want to set up multiple registries. I would like to create a webpage that links to things online or can just have a catagory like "glass cake stand" and people can check it off so that we don't get duplicates. It would be super cool if it could also include a simple donation area for people who just want to send money for furniture. As far as registries: I feel like most people these days are getting married later on in life (than like 18) and therefore do not require all the basic home furnishings. I have 3 sets of dishes of my own already and am saving my wedding registry for things I would not grant myself on a regular basis (stand mixer, cake stand, fancier table linens, sushi plates, etc.). I think it's really good to include a few very practical things as well (towels, etc.) because some people who are very old school get cranky when you want them to fund frivolous things.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
interesting. we resistered for only everyday and got ours at crate & barrel (16 place settings!). i forget the name of the pattern but it's plain white and has 3 "pleats" on the sides. someone told me to get plain so i could jazz it up with any linens i wanted. but you know what, we rarely do. the white is BORING and i would never do that again. i wouldn't worry about passing everyday along to kids. enough pieces will be broken (we're down to 10 settings except for bowls and there are 4 left, lol) or chipped that they will hardly be heirloom quality. we've been married 10 years now and are at the point where buying things like china and flatware is as easy as going to the store and picking it out. most couples are by this time. think of your wedding dishes as your starter set. to use while the kids are little (if you're having them) or do your big fun entertaining (if that's your style). when i lived in texas i had friend registering for everyday, formal and holiday dishes. i don't have that much storage!
prettygirldallas prettygirldallas 10 years
Well, speaking from experience... I have been married for 9 years and recently replaced my dishes for the 3rd time since the wedding. I was 20 when the wedding took place and my tastes have changed over the years. Originally, I registered for formal china and everyday china. My mother now has both sets of dishes, as I got tired of the "farmers market" pattern of the everyday dishes and I *never* used any of the 5 place settings I received of the formal china. Ditto for the 8 sets of really nice silverware. So, I ditched them all (sold the silverware on ebay; the dishes went to my mom who is a caterer and I know will use the dishes) and started from scratch this year. I decided to go with a nice white bone china as my everyday dishes. In fact, I picked a similar pattern as above - White Pearl by Crate and Barrel. I also purchased the Grand Hotel II silverware by Crate and Barrel. I couldn't be happier! If I want color, I will add that in the form of tablecloths or napkins or center pieces. I currently have 8 place settings of each and will purchase 4 more place settings later this year along with the serving pieces. I honestly think these will last me the rest of my marriage since their design is timeless and they are neutral in color. I suggest that all brides register for great pieces that will last a lifetime. Go ahead and register for that All-Clad. You may not get many pieces, but the pieces you do get will last you forever and their design has not changed in 20+ years so you can always add on to your collection little by little later on.
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 10 years
This an excellent list, yum. When i got married last year I registered for both the everyday set and a china set. We use the china whenever our parents/grandparents are over and the others- well, everyday! I don't think it's ridiculous at all- it's nice to have both and I think it will be great in 20 years when we can still use our nice china and remember our wedding and who gave it to us. :)
llendril llendril 10 years
thanks for keeping me updated! you guys are awesome
mandyjean mandyjean 10 years
im engaged too... and we will mosdef have a registry full of a variety of things... the best thing I can think of is have lots of small items that guests who can not afford much can buy, and have some larger items too so that those who can afford a little more (if they want to) can.
julieulie julieulie 10 years
DCStar - I am in my 20s, and I registered for 12 settings of bone china. I'm sorry that you find that obnoxious, but just because I am 23 now (will be one month shy of 25 at the wedding) does not mean that I don't have a use for it! I may be young, but I do love to entertain... and since my fiance and I will be living halfway between my family and his family, we will be hosting Thanksgiving dinners, Rosh Hashanah dinners, Passover seders, Chanukkah dinners, etc. I am quite confident that my fine china will be used at least 6 or 7 times each year starting the year we are married... provided we actually receive it, that is. And to answer llendril's question -- if we do not receive our china (or our everyday dishes, which we desperately need), we plan on buying it off the registry ourselves. All the stores we registered at provide a 10-15% of coupon when you buy things off your registry, and if we're talking about spending over $2000 on china, we may as well do it all at once and get the 15% off!
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Another note to add to the others-- Not everyone gets married in their 20s. Particularly for those who dont, and who enjoy throwing dinner parties and entertaining, it makes sense to register for both causal and formal place settings.
esk4 esk4 10 years
I already inheareted a set of wedding china lol, my mother had the most beautiful bone china, blue and white with gold rims... exactly what I would have picked out had I all the choices in the world.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
llendril - usually your dishes will come in sets of five pieces (for formal china) or 4 pieces (for less formal, every day china), so you don't often get partial place settings (ie, tea cups and not saucers). As Yum said, soup bowls are not usually included, so those you register for separately, as well as the serving pieces. And at least what I found when I did my registries was that most places will offer you a post-wedding complete your registry sale price of 10 - 15% off anything left that you still need to complete your full sets.
Food Food 10 years
DCStar, I completely understand. I'm not planning on registering for 12 sets of dishes, nor am I planning on getting both fancy and everyday. However, when putting together this list, a bunch of my gals that recently got married all said to me "oh you find room for that stuff, this is the only time you're going to get it." So I figured I might as well pass along the "traditional" registry info. These days you'll see more people put things like camping gear instead of fine china on their registry. Really it just comes down to the couple and their personality and what's right for them. llendril, that's always the dilemma, however some stores will offer a discount on items that have not been purchased after your wedding date. check before registering. Oh and for those interested, that's the Emma Dinnerware from pottery barn.
KWM KWM 10 years
DCStar - You have to think beyond the present when you are registering. The pieces that you receive you will use throughout your whole life togther and somewhere down the line you will be happy to have them!
chancleta chancleta 10 years
Love the advice (I'm engaged too and sometimes you need help thinking of things to put on your registry. I wasn't going to do one originally but when lots of people started asking where I was registered and I realized it was either set one up or get all kinds of crazy presents: I registered). Love the dishes in the pictures. I personally don't believe in china but my every day ones are pretty similar. I have a full set of 16 and believe or'll use them and you'll be sooo happy you have them.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
What gorgeous flatware!
llendril llendril 10 years
one question i've always had about wedding registries: what happens if you receive only certain items from a set you are hoping to complete? as in, maybe a wedding guest bought you saucers but not the tea cups. what does one do in that situation? buy the rest herself? exchange other gifts in favor of completing the set? return EVERYTHING and start over from the beginning? ha ha. obviously getting married is not something on the forefront of my mind, because i know very little about the process. but this was something i was curious about.
DCStar DCStar 10 years
By Beautiful I mean Beautifully Sharp Japanese knives.
DCStar DCStar 10 years
UGH it is so obnoxious! What 20 year olds will ever have need for 12 place settings in bone china? Maybe just to drag out at christmas. I registered for some beautiful knives, that's about it.
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