Registering for china and silver used to be standard practice when a couple married. This has sort of fallen by the wayside of late, as fewer and fewer couples opt for traditional china and silver, instead choosing casual ware or more modern alternatives.
Well, I'm a traditionalist, so I still really like the idea of a household having a good set of china and silver. Adrian and I both hold a rather Puritan view of the Sabbath, but we'd like to celebrate it like a wedding, not a funeral. My mom grew up having a big Sunday noontime meal with china and silver every week, and that's the sort of tradition Adrian and I would like to establish as well.
Well guess what? China is expensive! And silver is more expensive! I would have been open to registering for china, even though about $80 per place setting is a really good price ($135 is a much more common price per setting), but I choked when I saw silver prices. New silver plated flatware easily can cost in excess of $300, per setting. And solid sterling silver is even more. *gulp* So I decided silver was a luxury we would pass by ;-). Multiply by 8, and that's a lot! Plus, considering Adrian and I would (a) like a lot of children and (b) like to be regularly hospitable to both couples and families with children, we figure 8 settings may not be very helpful in the long run.
Well, I'm a thrift store and garage sale nut. Two years ago I found a set of china at a thrift store for $20. It had 8 place settings (missing teacups) and a few serving pieces, and was in very good condition. (I might add here that buying used china and silverware is only really a good deal if it is in good condition! If your china is forming cracks under the glaze of the pattern - I forget what that is called - getting it for cheap is not a deal!) Anyway, so Adrian and I figured we could just find additional pieces of the same china pattern on E-bay or Replacements.com.
In addition, last Saturday I was out garage sale-ing with Mother Dear and Ashley, and I found a set of silver plate flatware, 8 place settings and several serving pieces, for $20! This was Oneida Nobility Plate, which is good stuff! A woman was selling off her grandmother's silver for a song, so I jumped on it. Then I headed to E-bay and Replacements.com to look at adding to the original 8 place settings.
I've discovered, by the way, that Replacements.com may often have a better selection (and it's an invaluable resource for finding the name of your pattern), but usually E-bay is way cheaper. Including my garage sale finds, I've bought (approximately) 16 place settings of my china pattern and 19 place settings of my silver plate flatware pattern for a total of only $300. That is an incredible savings! And that includes shipping and a silver-storing anti-tarnish box.
Now, the china place settings do not all have teacups and I am missing one soup bowl. But I do have 16 dinner plates, 16 salad plates, and 15 bowls. I would eventually like teacups and saucers (and a tea/coffepot), but it's really not on my list of high priorities. My original set of china came with 8 saucers, and I've since found 2 teacups on E-bay, so to get a true complete 16 settings, I would need 14 more teacups, 8 saucers, and 1 bowl, but as far as strict dinner china is concerned, I have pretty much 16 settings. And Jessie surprised me for Christmas with the sugar bowl and creamer for my pattern :-).
Anyway, that's my frugal rambling for the moment :-). Anyone else like to share thoughts along similar lines?