Note: You will notice that Mark is not involved in this post at all. We've talked about this before, but have yet to reach a conclusion together. Like with much of wedding planning, what I want and what he wants will eventually merge into what we want, but we aren't there yet.
I see a lot of debate on blogs about registering for China. Ultimately, some do, some don't. Some register for nicer everyday dishes, some people get fancy china, casual china, and everyday ware. Chine has really become a to each their own type of thing. My own family's sense of china is probably something that would strike fear into the hearts of registry assistants everywhere.
My side of the family comes with 3+ sets of china, all boxed up and ready whenever you "want to come and get them - is tomorrow good?" My mother has a full set of china that uh, I don't really like. My grandmother gave it to her therefore I should love it but I don't. I just don't. It's got flowers on it, and I just...don't want it. The set that I might want is this set, which is apparently one of the best selling casual tableware patterns of its day.
It is the Franciscan "Dessert Rose" pattern, although I'd been hoping to fill in whatever gaps (my mom has something like half a set) might be in the family set with the Franciscan Ivy pattern -
I saw them once in the store and side by side, they actually looked the same - like they would stack together. Technically, no, they would not match - but let me explain to you how I grew up.
My mother never broke out her fancy china. Daily, we ate off of Corelle, and often used it for dinner parties - mostly because no matter how big my mom's set is, there is no way it's big enough for my Dad's family - until we started to go to Egypt. When we started to go to Egypt, my mom loved the patterns on their dishware - and we started to go around all of the stores in the bazaar and buy all of their 10-inch souvenir dinner plates, until we had a set full enough for the 25ish people that come to Christmas dinner every year.
Every single plate in the set is different, and I love it for exactly that reason. You know which one is yours - and we like to get up and move around and if you go to the bathroom, somebody takes your seat. This way you remember which plate is yours. Plus, everybody has a favorite plate and hunts for it and my dad's siblings all fight over the naked lady plate, which has Greek statues around the side. (We're a classy family.) Since there is an uneven number anyway, if any of them break, its not like you break the bank trying to equal out the set. Bonus: none of them required the purchasing of teacups - which I hate - because nobody uses those!
Mark and I also currently have a set of China for 8, and by china, I mean causal dinnerware that is too big to fit in the normal cabinet so we don't use it every day. We got one set for four as a housewarming gift, and then bought the other set. If we had bigger cabinets, we might use it for every day use, but the plates are much heavier than Corelle, so I am happy to keep using them as our "fine" dinnerware. Corelle is awesome cuz its lightweight and bounces, and we will probably register for a full set of open stock Corelle (or Mikasa - their stuff is so nice!) plates, bowls, salad plates, soup bowls, etc., because I DON'T WANT MORE MUGS. NO. JUST NO. Sorry.
I think though, we will register for really nice dessert plates (we have people over for dessert a lot in our family). Nice dessert plates can make you feel fancy, and you can get 3 or 4 sets of them, so if people come to stay with you for a weekend, you can break out different dessert dishes each night. You can also get flatter ones for cake and more bowl-like ones for ice cream, etc. (Or you could get those awesome retro ice cream dishes, but those take up space.) Like my mom's set, the dessert plates might be significantly easier to replace than a broken plate, and it also would seem like less of a big deal to have a not totally matched set.
How are you dealing with china? Did you figure out a way to register for dishes without getting 16 mugs?