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A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Posted by Kathy G on 2/23/03 at 14:29 (110497)

Hi All,

My future daughter-in-law, whose mother died in late May, asked me to go with her to register for her September wedding. I have been walking a fine line as far as this wedding is concerned. I wanted to let her know I was here for her and yet not make it appear that I was attempting to take her mother's place, which I could never do. So, I am pleased that she has asked me for advice about what types of things she will need. I also have to check out some lists online to make sure I'm not totally out of it, as I had a tiny wedding and 30 years ago, no one registered. This is the first wedding I've been really close to.

She asked me about crystal and sterling silver and this is where you all come in. She said her mother had sterling silver and she only used it about once a year and complained about what a chore it was to polish it. Her friends tell her she has to have a pattern picked out. Do any of you have sterling flatware? Do you ever use it? She's quite practical and thinks it might be a waste of money.

How about crystal? Again, she hadn't thought she'd choose any. Did you and do you use it? I thought some nice Waterford, similar, wine glasses would be nice. Does she request 8 or 12?

From my own perspective, I have neither. I am terribly clumsy and never wanted crystal. As a matter of fact, I have my mother's crystal down in my basement but wouldn't dare use it for fear I'd break it. I have 'best' dishes and use special glasses to go with them, but they aren't crystal.

As to silver, I don't have any. I do have a separate set of stainless I use for special occasions. My mother gave my sister all her sterling silver, of which there were many serving bowls, etc. several years ago. My sister has never used it.

As for me, I can't remember the last time I had a dinner party but I do use my best things for holidays when family comes. I'm not like my mother who had many dinner parties and used the best china every single holiday, whether extended family came or not.

So what do you think? We're going shopping Thursday and I'm excited but I want to be able to give her sensible advice.

Thank you for any suggestions!!

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Bev N on 2/23/03 at 14:43 (110504)

Kathy, My sister and I both remember the days when our mother would entertain, and it was our duty to ' polish the silver'. What a chore!! Mom had all kinds of silver besides just the silverware(platers,bowls), and we hated it when we had to polish it all(mom loved to entertain). Anyway, when mother decided she was done entertaining and she was ill, she wanted to give it to my sister and to me or she would sell it and buy something for their new place in Flordia. Guess what? We told her to sell it, so she did and bought a washer and dryer for their new home. We kept all the other pieces though, and I have my grandmothers china and silverware and my sister ended up with moms crystal after mom and dad went to Heaven cause my sister had a china cabinet at the time and I didn't. Any way, way off of the subject. I tend to ramble at times. Have a great time with the wedding. I did this 3 times with our children, and it is a ball. However, we were not into the china and silver patterns, our lifestyles are more of the corelle and plain old dishes. Have fun. Bev

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Kathy G on 2/23/03 at 14:45 (110506)

Ah yes, exactly Bev. I have corelle. My best dishes were bought for me by my mother through a local supermarket, back when I was in high school. My future daughter-in-law comes from a very different economic background so I don't want to steer her wrong. Heck, my Corningware was bought with green stamps!!!

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Carole C in NOLA on 2/23/03 at 14:52 (110507)

I agree with your future daughter in law. I don't have sterling, and if I did I would never have used it. At my wedding (in 1975), I did not pick a pattern for sterling and so people gave me a lot of wonderful, more useful things. Although my family was upset that I wouldn't pick a sterling pattern, I remained steadfast and I've never regretted it. There are some beautiful stainless patterns and I had one from then until last year, when I decided to buy a different one also.

I don't have crystal either, except for some Waterford that my mother gave me for Christmas one year. She had too much, and was getting older, so it was some that she already had.

Maybe your future daughter-in-law would like to pick a pattern for china. I didn't do that either but I think that's something that I would have used more than crystal or silver! It would be great to have a LOT of place settings of a china pattern that she really likes, so that if something breaks then she doesn't have to try to find (and pay for) a replacement piece. Well, that's my opinion anyway! :)

Carole C

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Suzanne D on 2/23/03 at 15:02 (110511)

Hi, Kathy. As you know, my daughter is getting married in April. I'll just share what they are doing although I know it may not be applicable to your son and future daughter-in-law.

She and her fiance have registered at two places as seems to be the custom around our area. They are registered at Target for practical items like towels and pans and utensils, etc. Lots of people here like going there and checking on the computer to get a print-out of their choices. When people buy items, they tell someone at the service desk, and it shows up the next time someone looks at the list.

They are also registered at a small place in town that has the dishes, silverware, and crystal. They did not choose to register for the silverware as it is so expensive, and for reasons which you named. Their dish pattern is Lenox brand and so pretty. It is not the most expensive line, but is a butterfly meadow pattern with the color 'Sky' (barely blue). I hope she will enjoy using it often - while not everyday, any time she wants the meal to be a little 'special'. They also registered for glassware in the same line - pretty goblets with a butterfly design.

A shower was held for them last Saturday, and they received 6 place settings of the china. I have a place setting for them and another person does, for the wedding. There is another shower coming up later, so they may receive more.

As for me, we chose a china pattern and crystal but not silver. I, too, had that job of polishing the silverware and can still remember the smell of silver polish! I now have some of Mama's silverware but don't use it.

I DO use my dishes and sometimes my grandmother's china which I have. I have always had lots of people over for meals - not dinner parties as such - but lots of people on Sundays and so forth. And I like making the table look pretty, so I use and enjoy them.

Good luck on your shopping, and it is a compliment to you that your future daughter-in-law wants your help! I hope all goes well with the planning...

Suzanne :-)

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

wendyn on 2/23/03 at 16:03 (110531)

I have silver (collected long before I was married - my grandmother and aunts were traditional and bought place settings for Christmas and Birthdays).

Unfortunately - I almost never use it.

Maybe one day when my kids are grown up - and I entertain more. Right now it just doesn't seem to go with steaks and baked potato on the bbq.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

john h on 2/23/03 at 18:32 (110538)

Wendy: We have a room full of silver we never use. My daughter will have nothing to do with it as mom made her polish it all the time as she grew up. Silver was very fashionable when we married but seems very much out of place now days.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Pauline on 2/23/03 at 19:27 (110543)

I'd tell her to consider the budgets of her/his families and friends, then register for what ever she and he like accordingly.

I'd also remind her that her tastes will change over the years so if she is choosing something expensive like sterling silver flatware then she should select a pattern that will stand the test of time. Something that she could like forever. Sterling flatware actually gets better with use.
Today no polishing is really required because of all the little tricks used to clean it. Aluminum foil,washing soda and hot water, those Aluminum plates etc and cleaning ladies. I like the last one the best:*)

I personally like more than one set of china so I would suggest she register for one formal and one more casual, but make them user friendly. I was taught the test for selecting a pattern for china is to imagine scrambled eggs being served on it. If it would look pleasing to the eye the pattern was ok. Funny how these things are passed down from generation to generation, but just for the record when I purchased my dog's dish I still thought about those scrambled eggs.

Currently I use 4 sets of dishes. Two casual and two formal because I enjoy switching cloths and tableware. I use sterling flatware daily because it's to be enjoyed and that can't be done if it is stuck in a drawer being saved for 'good'. I do have stainless as well. My theory is use what you have and enjoy it.

Todays trends for tables are to mix and match especially for sterling so I suggest that people look for pieces at garage or estate sales and have fun with it. Remember shabby sheik is aye ok and sometimes more fun.

Most of all let her register for what they like and make the list long. They probably won't get everything, but the more variety they provide the more selections their guests will have to choose from and they will definately find something within their budget to purchase.

Best wishes to both of them.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

john h on 2/24/03 at 08:29 (110576)

Pauline: How about 5 full sets of China. Our wedding China, my wife's mother's china, my mother's china and two sets of Noritaki china I bought while in Japan. Just last year we started using fine China for every day munching. Stupid to let it sit there. We have enough stemware to hold a state dinner. Girls formerly had Hope Chest we have a Hope Warehhouse. To much sentiment to get rid of any of it.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Kathy G on 2/24/03 at 09:35 (110578)

John, you certainly have plenty of china! My sister has Noritaki that her husband bought for her while he was in Japan, too. Now, had you been married to me, I probably would have broken most of those dishes by now!

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I will tell her that since she doesn't like sterling silverware, she shouldn't get it just because it's considered the 'thing to do'. And yes, she already has her grandmother's china to use for 'best'. I just wasn't sure if she'd regret not having gotten the sterling but it seems we all agree that it is seldom used. (Unless she has a cleaning lady to polish as you said!) My tendency toward the practical is ridiculous so I have to watch it sometimes.

Pauline mentioned how important it is to choose something that will stand the test of time. That's so true. She has pretty classic taste so she'll do fine in that department. But it brings to mind how much I wanted a nice bedroom set when we first got married. We were able to swing new furniture for the rest of the house, but used a chest-on-chest and bureau that was my husband's. I was sure that as soon as we had enough money, I'd replace those with a beautiful set. Well, thirty years later, we're still using those and I couldn't care less. I remember when we had been married about ten years and my husband asked if I wanted to look at bedroom furniture and I realized that it just didn't matter to me any more! Isn't it funny how your priorities change?

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

john h on 2/24/03 at 10:24 (110584)

Kathy if you had been married to me you would have broken them probably over my head. I also sent set of Noritaki to my mother in law and my daughter as the China was a real deal in Japan and Hong Kong. Mary's great grand mother had silver made out of melted down silver dollars which we have. The faces and symbols of the silver dollars appear on the handles of the silver. Look to be hand made by a silversmith.Do not know that I have ever seen anything like them. Maybe Nancy S has in her travels in the antique world.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Pauline on 2/24/03 at 10:40 (110587)

Use it and enjoy it. Rotate and play. I never understood why people saved things for good especially as we age. Who's coming after us that we think our china or silver would be better spent on?

Kid's have their own ideas and tastes and like you they may take mom's stuff, but for those sentimental reasons they don't use it either. So it sits in cupboards or in boxes through another generation. For what?

I find tooooo many brides limiting their registry lists today instead of giving guests lot of items to select from. This is probably the one time in their life people will be willing to select a more expensive gift because people realize the cost involved in weddings today.

They may not receive their entire sets of china, silver or crystal but it will be a good start and as they can afford it they can complete their sets.

I hate it when kids register for little $2.00 items because these are things they can easily go out and purchase themselves. Forty of them given at one time, still does not look as nice as a single place setting of china, flatware, a small appliance, stemmed crystal or bed linens.

Many people today go together to purchase the more expensive items and are disappointed when everything on the registery is under $10.00. It actually makes their selection process more difficult because now they have to find many items to add up to the amount they entended on spending.

I like to get gift registries via the internet, call the store, order the gift, tell them to wrap it and sent it to package pickup or ship it to the brides home if I'm not able to attend the affair. It's a real convenience for me.

Others may not feel the same, but that how I look at it. Give the guests lots of items to select from, and register for everything you want making sure to cover a variety of budgets in your list. Then enjoy the moment and be grateful for each and every gift received.

My pet peeve is the bride that asks each guest to write out their own thank you enevelope at the event. That drives me up a wall. If someone has taken the time to purchase a gift, and has given it to you at the very lest they deserve a hand written thank you note including the envelope.

I've attended a shower where the completed thank you note was handed to me as I entered the door. The bride didn't even know what anyone had given her because the gifts were not opened as we walked in the door, but I had already received my generic thank you note to take home with me.

The next bride in this family got the 'alternative' shower gift where I donated money to a charity in both of their names explaining no thank you was necessary as the charity had already provided it.

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Bev N on 2/24/03 at 13:55 (110603)

Boy, do I remember green stamps. We horded them like gold. We were so poor in college that we thought green stamps were the greatest things since sliced bread. We got little things for our apartment and we felt so 'fine'. My silverware came from the grocery store too ,each set with a $5.00 purchace or something like that. Boy, those days were hard but lots of good memories.Where do the years go?? Have a great day. Bev

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Carole C in NOLA on 2/24/03 at 18:11 (110639)

I'm surprised that a bride would want to be so impersonal about thank you notes. I had 250-300 people at my wedding, and I wrote all of the thank you notes on my honeymoon at odd moments by the fifth day. I wrote each individually and addressed each envelope personally by hand. With a little planning such as addressing the envelopes beforehand, it's not that hard to do.

We had plenty of time for other things on our Key West honeymoon too, like scuba diving, snorkeling, shopping, watching the sunsets, going to museums, seeing the sights, and also doing everything that honeymooners do. :)

Carole C

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

Kathy G on 2/25/03 at 11:13 (110695)

Writing thank you notes is becoming a lost art, it seems. I was shocked recently when I bought a gift and had it sent to the bride's house and never received an acknowlegment. I really had no way of knowing if she had even gotten it. Luckily, I saw the groom some weeks later and he mentioned the gift. These were people who should have known better!

My sister changed careers some years back. She went for an interview and later wrote a thank you note to the fellow, for taking time to interview her and for being so encouraging. She ended up getting the job and later he told her that it was between her and one other person but her thank you note made the difference!

Thanks, Pauline, for all your suggestions on registering, too!

Re: A question for the ladies - not about feet or Iraq!

R C on 2/27/03 at 00:12 (110946)

Well, I'm not a lady, but I have an opinion on this. I've been married for 3 years, and we have a room full of really expensive china, crystal, and other doodads that we have never used. They were all wedding gifts. All of that money could have been better spent on more 'practical' stuff (though we did get a lot of that, too). Stereo equipment and golf clubs come to mind. (Maybe that's why you asked only the ladies. Hmm.)