What do I mean by real plates? 8-12 matching plates, preferably with matching bowls and/or dessert plates. You don't have to invest in all 4-5 pieces of a setting, but you do need something to serve your guests on for dinner, soup/salad, and maybe dessert.
I think a lot of girls hold on to the concept that "I will register for nice china when I get married" and true, you will, but you may live several years of your life before marriage, and in the meantime, you will be hosting dinners, cooking up a special dish for a special guy, having your parents over, etc, so get something presentable now.
If you are like me, you still plan on registering for the everyday and find china you really want when you get married, but you needed some plates now.....and fairly cheap plates and bowls.
Where do you find cheap basic everyday china? A few ideas:
- Target -- you can find affordable plates and dishes there. Stay away from plastic plates and get a color that matches your house well or get basic white (hard to screw up white!) The important thing is buying atleast 8 place settings.
- Outlets -- I bought a set of Williams Sonoma plates and bowls several years ago for really cheap at an outlet in Memphis. Its cute china, is it what I would buy is money was no limit? no. Is it what I would register for? um, maybe. But its a good clean basic white pattern with fun basket weave detail. all for 50-75 percent off!
- Sales -- My mom bought me adorable casafina when a local china store went out of business -- for 75 percent off. Its cute. At this point, they lacked 12 plates in any one color but it was one of those mix and match patterns so she bouth four plate and bowl settings of 3 colors and its quite cute. This is a pattern I would have picked out if money were no object (probably just in different colors). So, check sales at department stores and china stores, particularly if a pattern is going to be discontinued or the store is closing!
- Gifts - my former roomie slowly collected her everyday china through birthday and Christmas gifts. This is what she would register for if she was engaged, so its nice, and she knew it would take awhile to accumulate but she started somewhere and now has a full set.
Hope this gives you some inspiration to get some decent plates (and glasses and silverware - also cheap at target, etc) and host a dinner party!