Mismatched Dishes/Glassware, etc. [Moved from Not About Food board]
I'm having a (small) dinner (birthday) party for my husband next weekend. Probably will have between 7-10 people, including us two. Here's my dilemma...I only have 6 matching dinner plates (solid white), and then I have 2 china dinner plates (white with blue design with thin band of gold at the edge), then I have a few really casual white/blue plates. I have the same situation with glassware, silverware, etc....well, you get the picture.
I really can't afford to go out and buy any more plates, etc. Is it okay to use all these mismatched items? This is not a "formal" dinner, and we are not pretentious people, lol.
Of course it's okay. In fact, I have friend who collects china and does it on purpose to show off his collection. Just pretend you're doing it on purpose.
I do have a suggestion though, if not for this party perhaps in the future. A couple of years ago I was having a party for about 40 people. I went to a restaurant supply store and bought two cases of stemmed 8-ounce wine glasses for about a $1.25 apiece. Except for very special occasions, these are now the glasses I use for absolutely everything--orange juice, iced tea, wine, cocktails, milk for the kids. They look nice, they're sturdy as all get-out and absolutely dish-washer proof, are a very convenient size, and I never run out of glasses. One of the smartest investments I ever made.
Sure it's ok, and what I'd try to do if I were you is to, if you can, create a pattern with the different patterns. If you are 8, I'd use the 6 white ones for your guests, and put the two ones with the gold at either end of the table for you and your husband. Try to alternate the different pieces from place setting to place setting, rather than having all of one kind of thing at one part of the table and others at the other part, if that makes sense. Then it will look like a carefully thought out theme rather than a mish mash! And if you can unite everything with the same placemats and/or napkins, that would be nice to.
ctflowers, the first thought that struck me when I read this post was wow, how sad is it that anyone even has to ask this question, but I guess in this day and age of excess and expectations there really is an emphasis on presentation. I then thought about my mother, who never worried a bit about whether all the plates matched. I can remember running out of glasses and using paper cups! The whole idea of entertaining, whether a birthday party or holiday event was to be with those we love, and believe me no one worried about the china and I can remember a few good laughs over the paper cups. I am sure that your table will be lovely no matter how you choose to set it. I hope you have a wonderful dinner party and happy birthday to your husband.
I collect old blue and white china and in particular those heavy thick old diner, blue plate (divided into 3 parts) specials. I also collect (thift store) old monogrammed silverware. SO my setting are always mismatched. And I have seen guests checking out the settings to see which of the various places they want to sit at (I never assign seats....) The 3 partitioned plates always get picked first. ;)
It totally doesn't matter and your friends should feel very lucky to be invited over. Food and fun conversation are what counts.
If you reach the point where you want to have MORE people over at any one time, consider trolling the local Salvation Army or junktique sorts of places for glassware and dishes. If you are in Baltimore, hit the Turnover Shop in Hampden; if you're in Eastern Mass check out the places on Route 1A between Ipswich and Newbury. You can find some really pretty things for a few dollars...or even far less than a dollar.