Sunday, March 7, 2010

frugal wedding - thrift store china

The quarter is winding down. I have plenty of things I've been meaning to post here - food, mostly, but a few crafts and a bit of sewing, but I've had so little time. What I have to show today is a little less original, but since we're planning to celebrate our marriage this summer in the form of a backyard dinner that we want to be both stylish AND frugal, I thought I might document the process here. Who knows? Maybe someone will be inspired. So. You've already seen my ring. (Full disclosure: it cost $400.)

Today I want to post a few pieces of the table service we're putting together.

When I first moved to Seattle and started my life with my long-time best friend and new boyfriend, my parents packed the china my maternal grandparents had given them a long time ago along with me. So now, nine years later, when we tie the knot (yep, same guy! I knew he was the one from the start - honestly! I even told him so!), I'm happy that my parents' china is the foundation of our own collection. As we build this collection, we're also donating our old "daily use" plates in order to conserve space in our kitchen.

The plan for this celebration is to have a dinner and salad plate and saucer for everyone, in a mix of styles. We're limiting ourselves to a colour scheme: white/off-white china with gold/silver/platinum details - mostly tipped rims, that sort of thing. However, because I love plant motifs, I'm really happy to have found the Mikasa Salisbury pieces at Value Village today. I didn't take them all, though I felt awful for breaking up the set like that, but I worry that if we are going to "mix it up," as they say, we need to be committed to really mixing it up.

I think they key to making this look "anthro" rather than "thrift store" is attaining a critical mass of coordinating pieces. I think it's already starting to come together quite prettily - and wait until I show you what we want to use as tablecloths! We have months until the dinner and are already about a third of the way there after two weeks of looking, so I think we will be fine. In fact, I think pretty soon I'd like to start scouring antiques stores for one-offs that might bring some more unusual patterning into the mix. Though I'm trying to stick largely to china, I really love 1880s Ironstone, especially brown transferware - so if I can find any good pieces that I can afford between now and the dinner, they will go into the mix!

Now, even at the thrift store, china isn't always the cheapest thing. I spent $30 today on 10 salad plates, 5 saucers, and 4 teacups (now that I write that out, I'm thinking "huh, okay, maybe that's not so bad?"). Last week I spent $26 on 7 dinner plates and maybe 5 or 6 saucers. So I imagine we will be well over $100 just for plates. But as we're not having a wedding and don't plan to rent a hall, are doing our own cooking and hoping to have some of our guests provide some of the music live, I think we can afford a little splurge for a slightly eccentric set of servingware that we'll be able to use (and easily add to/replace broken pieces) for years to come! Plus, c'mon - 3-pc. service for 25 or 26? That's a LOT of dishes for $100.

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