Registry and Gift Forum

Keeping it in the family

I'm very old fashioned in some ways, particularly when it comes to my family's traditions. I have heard all kinds of advice against registering for china, because of the cost, etc. I come from family that not only entertains a lot, it is mostly formal entertaining for large groups. I plan on registering for 12 place settings for everyday dishware, but I'm not interested in registering for any of the china patterns I have seen. Because I am a sucker for tradition, what I really want is for one of my matronly aunts, or even my grandmother, to gift me a china set they already own. But I'm not sure how to go about making this known. I feel like it's in poor taste to approach my grandmother about this (she's an elderly woman, but she's not dead yet... I don't want her to feel like I'm trying to push her into the grave for her china). And my two aunts who would be most likely to accommodate this request both have daughters of their own. Is this a fool's errand? Is there a way I tactfully tell my older relatives that I would rather have family heirlooms than brand new Limoges?

Re: Keeping it in the family

  • I don't think there is a way to tactfully say " i want your stuff." I think if you can SUBTLEY convey the fact that you love their china, and mention it when you see it, it may subtly get the point across. But, don't expect it for your wedding. Like you said, they aren't dead yet and it's still their stuff.
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  • edited September 2012
    There is no subtle way to do it.  My grandmother gave me a set of china from the 1830s.  I needed to complete a few pieces and the owner of an antiques store recommended Replacements, Ltd. You can find them online.  My parents bought everything I needed to expand the set and gave it to me as a Christmas present the year before I was married. 

    If you really want the antique china, I would plan on buying it yourself.
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  • I agree, you cant just tell people you want their stuff. I would just register for a pattern if you want china. There is nothing wrong with registering for china and everyday dishes, I see it on almost every registry.

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  • That's the thing with mothers and daughters. If your aunts have daughters, and they are very traditional as well, then their china will likely be passed down, and generally to the eldest daughter. Does this grandmother have a daughter that hers might be passed to? There's no real way to ask someone for something like this. If you like your grandmother's pattern, maybe do what GoodLuck said and look around for it. 

    My grandmother (dad's mom) has two sets of silver that she's passing to me and my sister. The reason it's not going to her daughter is because her daughter already has two full sets. She's not yet decided when we get them, though, and there's no way to force that. 
  • Yeah I don't think asking them for it is going to fly.  Don't get me wrong, I get where you are coming from.  I love my mother's china as much if not more than I love my own because I have 25 years of memories with it that I don't have with mine, and it's a style that really appeals to me.

    PPs suggestion of is a good one.  They have nearly every china pattern that's ever been made in the last couple of centuries.  That said, a lot of their tabs are empty and they are actively searching for pieces, so you probably won't be able to get a full set right away from it if it's an older and retired pattern.  It can be sort of overwhelming, though, so I would have a couple of manufacturers in mind before you start browsing through their inventory.

    I also suggest looking at charles willis out of atlanta, micheal c. fina out of new york, and/or bromberg's out of birmingham if you haven't already.  They both carry a much broader selection of china available today than your standard dept. store and it's even broader than most specialty china shops.  Charles Willis and Bromberg's are pretty southern (I would say they're the primary fine china shops for Atlanta and Birmingham, respectively) so they both have some styles that have been discontinued but they still collect.  For silver (if you're interested in that) I suggest Beverly Bremer out of Atlanta.  She has such a large quantity that she's able to sell it for about 50-75% less than retail, even new pieces (and you can get estate for less than that).  Again, it's the southern thing.  I know I'm generalizing but I hardly ever see registries without china, and I see silver about half the time.

    No matter what you go with, I wouldn't ask your relatives to give your their stuff.  Personally, I have no intention of any future kids, grandkids, nieces, etc. of getting my stuff until I'm dead and can no longer look at it.  That might change, but I wouldn't be surprised if your relatives feel that way.  There's a weird and uncomfortable sort of reminder of your own mortality when you start to pass stuff down before you're dead, you know?  I would embrace this opportunity to pick your own pattern.  You may get another set down the road, but it sounds like nothing has been reserved or promised for you.  Hopefully your aunts and grandma will live for many more years, so even if you get it it won't be any time soon.
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  • If it comes up that you did not register for China.  I would say nothing is as beautiful as grandmas and aunts.  Someday I will look in antique places and try to match one of those sets and slowly collect the parts to make a set.  HINT HINT.  
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