Question for those into china and table settings

olivesmomNovember 26, 2012

I would like to buy some china, thinking about Spode Woodland, but I cannot afford to purchase enough complete place settings right now. What I would like to do is mix in some of the patterned china pieces with my existing white plates. I just don't know which of the patterned pieces to buy. Should I get the dinner plates, or salad plates? I frequently serve salad, but not always. What makes the most sense?

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Are the patterned plates "better looking" in the dinner plate or the salad plate?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I would add salad plates and bread plates, if possible. If your plates are white, white, get a pattern that has the same base tones. If I recall, Woodland is more of an ivory/cream background and wouldn't be best with really white plates.
I prefer china patterns mixed and matched, it's a more current look and much more interesting.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 8:47PM
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My plates are white, but I was thinking of getting some less expensive ivory ones (mikasa Italian countryside, or something cheaper from Ikea). So the new patterned china will be "better looking", except that if I get the Italian countryside- they have a textured pattern to them I think.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I would get the "occasional" plates in the pattern rather than the dinner plate.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Also, is anyone familiar with mikasa antique white? I'm wondering how white it is compared to Italian countryside. I like that antique white is china (porcelain), whereas Italian countryside is earthenware I think.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Remember that earthenware will chip.
Think not only about base color, but about level of translucence, and thickness, and weight. Mixing levels of formality is not impossible, but it is tricky, and you want your mix to look intentional, instead of looking like a table full of leftovers.

We dealt with our affection for china by choosing a simple wedding ring pattern (white with a gold rim) in a classic shape that we can use with my mother's cobalt and gold rimmed things, a variety of other dessert plates and salad plates and coffee cups, and that also works with our Christmas pattern, in which we have dessert plates and serving things.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:42PM
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Which pieces you buy in which patterns really depends on how you serve. For every day meals, I usually only set the table with a dinner plate. I used to always use white, but now I like more color, so I bought some dinner plates in pretty patterns.

For special occasions, I usually set the table with a charger and a bread plate, so I like those to coordinate. I serve plated meals or buffet-style, so the dinner plate can be different, but coordinating to the charger plate. I always remove all of the place settings before dessert, so I can use a completely different pattern for dessert service.

I love the look of layered dishes like the settings that are shown on blogs and a poster on another forum said that she does layer the dinner plate, salad plate and maybe even a small bowl at each setting. Then, after the topmost course, she removes that dish from the setting.

Not any of the service options I've described are proper in the strictest interpretation of formal dining rules, so I don't worry about that.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:17PM
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I love mixing and matching, but I think you need to have one or the other with you when you pick.

I second (or is it third) the idea of buying the smaller plates etc in the Spode. You can always find an excuse to put a salad plate on top when you set the table --- even if you have to do an amusebouche with a ritz cracker and cheese product! And when it comes down to the real food, I maintain food looks most lovely on simple plates.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Is that Spode Bone China? if so it will be really white.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:16PM
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I have a bit of a passion for china. For designs that are busy, I have 2 or 4 partial place settings or special purpose sets. Spode is a very busy pattern, so here are a few directions I'd consider based on current stock at Replacements, Ltd.

A set of mugs in assorted designs. The design is where it can be enjoyed. Mugs are casual and don't even have to be used with anything else.

A set of salad plates in assorted designs would be very versatile. You can use them for salad, a cheese course, sweets, or as under-plates for clear glass soup bowls. The trick is to serve in courses so that you don't have to worry about matching the body color of different plates.

Busy designs are ideal for service plates (chargers) because they aren't on the table at the same time as other plates and they never have food on them to hide the design. The down side is that the serving process needs to be more formal with service plates.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I like the idea of just the salad plates, but I'm not sure in the logistics. I've never really hosted a formal dinner. If the salad plates are on top of the dinner plates how would I serve the salad? Collect the plates and dish it up? Or would this be a pass the salad around sort of thing, I'm not looking for the 100% proper way, more like the practical way to serve somewhat formally.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:40PM
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I also prefer the look of a white dinner plate. My formal china is plain white dinner plates with a gold band, but I have the companion pattern (same gold band with different flowers on each plate) for the salad, rim soup and dessert plates.

You can serve the salad any way you like. It really depends on the formality of your event. Plating it in the kitchen is certainly more formal. If you set your table with both the salad and dinner plates before your guests arrive, I'd remove them both (If you're using a charger, it can stay on the table.) and just return the salad plate when serving. When removing the dinner plates after the entree, remove the charger at that point if you're using one. (It doesn't stay on the table during dessert.)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:41AM
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The proper way for a three-course meal would be to serve the already plated first course...salad, soup or amuse-bouche...atop the charger that is already on the table. The charger with the first course dish is then removed and the plated entree is served (no charger). The entree plate is removed before the dessert course is served. As I mentioned earlier, I don't serve in the proper way. I just do it in a way that I can have a pretty table. :-)

This post was edited by Fun2BHere on Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 10:46

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:44AM
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I also love dishes! I have several sets of just dinner plates - particularly antique plates - that I mix and match. I also enjoy using chargers.

It's really up to you - you can use either a solid dinner plate with patterned salad/bread/dessert plates, or vice versa. For Christmas at my main table (dining room), I will be using deep red chargers with vintage Friendly Village dinner plates and will probably use vintage crystal (small) bowls on top of the dinner plates rather than a smaller plate. I like to change things up, LOL. I will also use ruby red glassware. I have used white plates with an embossed design around the edge on top of the red chargers also and used a christmas design salad plate. I don't do things in the "proper" way either - like Fun said - I do it to have a pretty table.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:55AM
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