Many of us have memories of our grandmother's china cabinets neatly arranged with beautiful pieces of china and crystal that were only used on very special occasions. And special could mean once every five years. It wasn't used everyday. Heaven forbid that it should get a scratch or a blemish or any other sign of use. Many times, it wasn't even taken out when company came to visit lest a piece get broken. As children, some of us often peered into this “look but don't touch” zone, wondering why this stuff was so special. In the past, china in the cabinet was referred to as the “good china” or “formal china,” based on the idea that the collection would be passed on from generation to generation.
Some of these special pieces from our tables become part of our own cultural and social history by creating memories. Well, how can memories be made if we never use the beautiful things that we have? Aren't those little scratches and blemishes from being used part of the story?
Below Dean Driver, our Registry Expert, answers some commonly answered questions, along with great responses to help you navigate through the process.
1. What if something gets broken?
It is true that things do break. I am of the opinion that “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” (OK, I admit that is trite, but so true in this instance.) If it breaks, you will always remember the good times you had using it, and aren't those memories with friends more important than the item itself?
2. But I want to pass it on to my children.
The harsh reality here is that your children will grow up to have their own tastes, which could be very different from yours. They will start their own collections. Unless you are having weekly Greek weddings and throwing plates on the floor, I doubt seriously that everything will be destroyed before it makes it to your children. And again they will have the fond memories of using these iconic family pieces with you.
3. I only have partial sets of things that I have inherited.
Not to fret. Working those pieces in with new fresh things is easy. I even have some uses for Aunt Lulu's hideously garish china that she must have bought after one too many glasses of sherry. But this will be an entire post to itself. So, stay tuned.
4. It has to be washed by hand, so I’ll just never use it.
The dishwasher will also be a topic for another post, but let me just say that I put everything in the dishwasher. I am not telling you to do this. You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
5. We have limited space to store the tabletop items.
These days, you can stack almost everything and there is such a large assortment of storage solutions available on the market. There are many organization solutions that maximize the space in cabinets, closets under the bed, and as china and crystal don't need to be stored in a climate-controlled environment, they can even be stored in a garage or basement.
I have been talking about the things that you may already have, the collections that belonged to parents or grandparents, but what about creating new memories? I think everyone has discovered an item in a store, a magazine, or online that they just loved. Then, in the back of their mind they think, I would just never use that enough to justify the purchase. I want to challenge you to look around your home and consider where new tabletop gems can fit in nicely.
A wedding registry is a great way to start fresh with your fiancé and select pieces that mesh your lifestyles together. Feel justified in each of your selections because you will have many years to enjoy these items with family and friends!
Photo courtesy of Consilium Lifestyle Collections