Picking the Best Tableware

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Or Building My Wedding Registry: Dining

Other than a blender, dining essentials like cutlery and china are probably what your friends and family most expect to see on your wedding registry.

Choosing the Best Tableware | Foodal.com

This might be because you’ve lived at home until getting married or, like me, your china and cutlery is comprised of mismatched pieces that you’ve inherited or found especially good deals on until this point. I defend the colorful pieces in my cupboards by saying, “Hey! My plates are eclectic. Are you feeling blue or brown this evening?”

I’m using my wedding registry as an opportunity to get myself a proper, grownup kitchen and matching diningware is an essential piece to that. Nothing says “adult” like a salad bowl (I could just stop there) that matches your salad plates (seriously, maybe pretty plates will make me eat more salad).

The only problem is figuring out how to pick patterns and styles that I’ll still enjoy looking at for years to come. These are what I’ve chosen to suit my fiancé’s and my style, but you might find that something different works for you.

First and foremost, I’m looking for quality, especially when selecting china.



Who knew that it would be so hard to choose a set of cutlery? If you ask my fiancé, they all look the same. “It’s just forks and knives,” he insists. Yes, this may be true, but they’re forks and knives that we’ll hopefully have for most of our lives!

Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set available on Amazon

Although there are some seriously gorgeous sets out there, I wanted something that would be timeless, and who knows what patterns will date this set twenty years down the road.

Instead, I looked at very simple sets without a lot of flair. I figure, if I see a more detailed set I just have to have later on, you can never really have enough cutlery – and at least I’ll have some basics on hand to get me started!

What to buy: While still chanting, “simple, simple, simple,” I eventually settled on this Lenox Portola 65-Piece Flatware Set. The set is made from THICK 18/0 stainless steel, which is pretty good quality. And it’s dishwasher safe, which I always like. The pieces aren’t super reflective, so hopefully they won’t require too much polishing.


If I thought cutlery was hard to choose, china is ten times the feat. In this case, color and detail are what really matters.

I was again left wondering what would be timeless enough to not leave my dinner guests thinking that my dining room needs a serious update just a few years down the road.

The more classic floral china patterns aren’t really my style, but I didn’t want a plain white set either. After mulling it over for awhile and showing my fiancé so many china sets that he eventually just grunted replies, I decided on simple pops of color.

What to buy: This Noritake Color Wave set finally won me over. It’s available in several different colors, and each set comes with just one place setting. So, I decided to get four in different but coordinating colors. I’m going with blue, green, mustard, and raspberry.

These sets are simple but colorful, and should work for years and years. Better yet, a little variety in color means they should work well with most other pieces I choose to stock my kitchen with!


I’m definitely sticking to the basics with glassware. Our current glasses are comprised of the one or two pieces from sets we got in college that we haven’t managed to break yet, and a smorgasbord of pint glasses from various events and breweries that we’ve visited.

It would be nice to just use our pint glasses for their intended purpose (drinking beer) and stock our wet bar with them. I also dream of a dinner party in which everyone’s place settings actually match!

What to buy: In the name of simplicity, I settled on the Anchor Hocking Heavy Base High Ball Beverage Set. The heavy bases mean that my fiancé and I might not break too many. They’re a good size and – my favorite – they’re dishwasher safe!

Salad Bowls

As I said, the idea of owning a dedicated salad bowl makes me feel so grown up! In order to justify this wedding registry addition, though, I need to collect some salad recipes. I can’t always serve caesar salad (though my fiancé wholeheartedly disagrees)!

What to buy: I really can’t resist making my kitchen match, so of course I’m getting the Noritake Colorwave Round Vegetable Bowl. The hard part now is deciding which color to get it in. This bowl can also be used for pasta and fruit, which I love, since I don’t have enough storage space to have a separate bowl for each. It’s also oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe!

Of course, a beautiful wooden salad bowl may also find its way onto the list as well.

Make sure you get yourself a pretty set of salad tongs, too. I still haven’t quite settled on mine, but I might have to splurge on a Browne & Co Cuisipro set.


As tempted as I was to get a few platters decked out in the colors and logos of my alma matter, the University of Oregon, I decided that’s not something a grownup kitchen would have. Or, at least, it’s not something a grownup should put on their wedding registry. I’m still going to have to indulge in some Oregon kitchenware, but on my own dime.

I was also really tempted to go for white. As a food blogger, I know that a white backdrop makes food pop and my appetizers would look fabulous, but that was just a little too boring. I ended up deciding to find platters in a solid color instead.

What to buy: The Le Creuset Stoneware Platters in cherry red ended up being my platters of choice. This set comes with three platters of different sizes and this stoneware is enameled, so forks picking up deviled eggs won’t scratch it. They’re also dishwasher safe!


Cake Stands and Cloches

These are extras on my list, simply because they’re just pretties. A cake will look ten times fancier and more ornate if it’s served on an elegant cake stand with a glass cloche. When I’m not using mine to house a cake, I use it to decorate my kitchen. It makes a great candle holder when not in use!

What to buy: I really couldn’t decide between a glass cake stand and something a little more dainty, so I’m not forcing myself to. I added two cake stands to my wedding registry at different price points, so it’ll give guests a few more options (and hopefully this will result in more options for me in my kitchen down the line!).

The first is this adorable Now Designs Tin Cake Stand in aqua. I love the scalloped edge, and the color is one of my absolute favorites.

I also added this classic glass Libbey Selene Cake Dome 2-Piece Set. I can use the cloche on both cake stands, too!

Soup Bowls and Salad Plates

Some dinnerware sets include salad plates and soup bowls, which is why I’ve labeled these pieces “extras.” The set I’ve chosen, like many others, doesn’t have soup bowls, so I made sure to add a set of soup bowls that match my dining set to my wedding registry. Make sure to check what the dining set you’ve picked out includes.

Matching pieces are usually available, even if they’re not included in the sets, especially in the case of mugs. Add-on pieces of sets make great gift options for people hoping to spend less than $50 on a wedding gift, so don’t feel like you’re being frivolous by including them!

I know I certainly wouldn’t want you pairing a striped soup bowl with a floral salad plate. Well, unless that’s your style – in which case, you do whatever you dang well please.


Double check your kitchen and the various sets you’ve chosen to add to your registry for serving utensils. It’s only right that you serve salad from your gorgeous new salad bowl onto those shiny salad plates with proper salad tongs, not two forks that sort of work.

An assortment of big, pretty serving spoons is important for serving all of your dinner dishes. If you don’t have them already, add at least one set of cloth dinner napkins for more formal occasions as well.

And that rounds out my list!

What’s on your kitchen and dining must-haves list? What are some of your favorite foodie gifts to give as wedding presents? Let me know in the comments!

About Chelsea Miller

Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.

12 thoughts on “Picking the Best Tableware”

  1. I love everything that you chose. I especially like the cutlery. It is simple enough for everyday use, but elegant enough that it would look great on a Holiday table. Like you, I don’t like flowery prints (or any kind of print) on china. I prefer to keep it simple. Don’t worry, I was also a loyal member of the “mismatched dishes” club for years. I actually still have a few stray pieces that don’t really go with anything. 😀

  2. I love your comment about how owning a salad bowl makes you feel grown up! I feel just the same way about filling my cabinets with the essentials. Since we first moved into our most recent place, we’ve been eating off of plates from at least five different sets, collected over the years from a series of yard sales, hand-me-downs, and what have you. Looking at these Noritake sets though, I can’t wait to clear out our old ware for something a little more…organized and sleek. These look lovely!

  3. Interesting, I just somehow accumulated mismatched utensils and plates over the years, and so has my partner, so we never really looked into getting new sets, since the old ones did the job for us. But I have to say, those raspberry sets of china look darling! And even if I feel it impractical to spend money on just getting stuff we already have just to “fit”, I really do not have any cake stands… 🙂 I should look into that. Or cupcake stands, they also look very good when you can find a nice looking one!

  4. Oh man, my husband and I just got marred (we’re having the reception wedding later) and I can’t wait to start our registry!! I’m totally with you there when you said matching plates and utensils makes me feel like an adult, and honestly makes me feel like my kitchen is one unity instead of a bunch of scattered ones.

    I have to say though, if I was to add plates and stuff to my registry (which I probably will), I’d have to tell myself to extend beyond just the classic white plates; those tend to be my favorite, but I’d definitely like to have a bit of pop in my kitchen!

  5. I’m still fairly satisfied with my dishes, which are etched floral clear glass, supplemented with pops of color on other tableware, but I am in the market for new flatware. I bought 2 full sets quite a while ago, that I’ve been alternating whenever I get bored, but they’ve seen better days, and I’m not really happy with either set anymore. I think this time, like you, I will go with stainless, in a fairly simple pattern, and hopefully I’ll be happy with them for years.

  6. Everything above inspires me, i sure don’t have a wedding registry to take advantage of but i’ve been thinking its time to upgrade everything in my kitchen hence tableware, i now know where to turn to for advice in that regard….FOODAL.com 🙂
    Something i have noted and won’t do; ask SO for opinions in that regard 😀

  7. I felt grown up when I bought my first set of pans! My downfall has always been table linen – I can never resist light coloured tablecloths but they always end up getting stained with tomato sauce. I’ll never learn!

  8. This is such a struggle for me and my budget. I’m always concerned about making a good first impression on the guests I have over, and my mismatched bowls and plates never seem to be sufficient to meet this goal. I appreciate how this article gives me not just suggestions for cutlery and dishes, but also explanations for these suggestions. Thank you so much for making my life easier!

  9. I wish this was around when me and my husband got our apartment together. Nothing in our house matches lol. Plus the pots we started with we don’t even have anymore. They rusted and just made cooking difficult towards the end of their life. Now of course we are looking for more durable and timeless items to have, but we just don’t know where to start. Plus we are kind of on a budget. So, thank you for this post I now have a place I can refer back to when it’s time.

  10. The last time my husband, and I shopped for silverware he actually tried to bend it. I said what are you doing? He said I’m making sure this is the good stuff. I was in shock at him grasping the fork on display forcefully trying to bend it. Once he saw it was of good quality he grabbed a boxed set, and put in our shopping cart. It’s a very heavy stainless steel set, and we still have it with no issues of rust or misshaped pieces from being bent.

  11. I actually don’t care that much about tableware, they’re not on top of my priority list. With that in mind, I still love to buy forks, knives etc. that are made of silver and actually look good. They need to at least look good and be durable, which silver does.

  12. As a college student, these things seem to be very far away, and it will probably be a while before I’ll need stuff like cake stands. However, I’m definitely bookmarking this for future use. I think having good cutlery and china impresses people, and definitely makes me feel like a real adult. Thanks for the article!


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