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Wedding Registry: Picking Your China Pattern

Tips and tricks for choosing the perfect style and pattern for your china.

There's no need to take the selection process of your china too seriously, but you should choose your pattern and style with care. We've answered your top questions to make the process go smoothly.

Choose Dishes as a Duo?

First and foremost, the china pattern you select
should speak to your personality as a couple and your mutual sense of style. It'll make the ideal statement for all the memorable meals of your new life together. It's okay to let your mom and best friend come along with you on a scouting trip, but you and your fiance must make the final decision. Eliminating the entourage will diminish the chances of being talked into a pattern you don't love.

tip

Don't worry too much about what you may or may not like in 20 years -- choose china that you can't wait to pull out for dinner tonight.

Pick a Pattern?

Think about it this way: If you prefer solids and neutrals to flamboyant flash in your home decor, choose something similar and subtle for your plates. If you tend to furnish your home with a bit more flair, go for a bolder, more modern pattern. Just make sure it highlights, instead of hides, your style. In addition to all-white, there are four basic categories of china patterns:

  • Floral china, as you might guess, features flowery designs and even fauna.
  • Geometric china has strong lines and patterns.
  • Banded china is white or ivory with a gold or platinum rim -- you can find blue or green rims too. The value can skyrocket depending on how much metal covers the plate.
  • Oriental china, as the name implies, has an Asian flair, like rectangular-shaped plates.

Can We Change Up Our Style?

Choose a neutral style for one set, like your everyday dinnerware, since you'll want something you can live with on a daily basis, and something a bit more fun for the other. If you and your mate can't compromise on a pattern, let him lead when selecting the casual set, and you can have final say on the formal plates. Or, let him choose the finer dinner plates, and you can have the last word on accent dishes. The mixing of the two styles could have an
electrifying effect on your dinner table.

Okay to Mix and Match?

Don't worry too much about what you may or may not like in 20 years -- choose china that you can't wait to pull out for dinner tonight. You can add in new dessert plates, soup bowls, or chargers to change up the look down the road (consider putting these pieces on your birthday and holiday wish lists). Some people even take the plunge a second time when they hit double-digit anniversaries. Follow these tips for happy matching:

  • Bring a dessert plate to the store so you don't have to make guesses about color and pattern when choosing something new.
  • Register for six place settings of one pattern, and six of another simple design, to add intrigue to a classic look.
  • When coordinating serving pieces with a busy pattern, your best bet is to look for something simple and bold. If what you have is more basic, match it to something that has a more intricate design to it.
  • Choose a color in the design you have and let that make the match.
  • The rules are never black-and-white. Sometimes two ornate patterns work well together, and often enough, two plain designs complement each other in just the right way. The only way to know is to try it out!

-- The Knot

See More: Registering for Wedding Gifts , Table Settings