Yesterday's Washington Post Home Section featured a story about the changing tastes of today's brides when it comes to selecting a china pattern. It said that the trend is for brides not to select a formal china pattern anymore since many may be receiving their mother's or grandmother's formal china. The article also went on to say that the trend now is for brides and newlyweds to pick out white ground china for everyday use as well as formal occasions that can be mixed and matched with other pastterns as they acquire more throughout their marraige.
I was married almost 29 years ago and, although I did not select plain white china for everyday use, or two different patterns-- one for everyday and one for formal, I did select one pattern and still use today because I loved it then, love it now and see no other possibliltiy but to keep on loving it and appreciating it.
I grew up in a house where my mother collected antique Blue Onion pieces and her collection was small change compared to that of my Aunt Jeanne's--her sister. I was lucky enough that my older sister's favorite color was, and still is green, so the "antique-aholic" that she is, didn't seem to have any interest in it, thereby the Blue Onion pieces were left to me...Thanks, Mom and Chris!
Anyway, I chose one china pattern, ("Blue Danube" by Lipper, Int.) to use for everyday, anytime and have never looked back. The Blue Onion pattern (which is really a pomegranite intertwined with various flowers and vines) mixes beautifully with old Meissen pieces and other antique flow blue china as well. I never thought about mixing it with anything other than similar china pieces that I have acquired over the years. Is this boring? No. Actually, I think white is a bit boring and then you definitely have to mix and match colors and patterns to perk up your table--but that's my opinion.
Through the years, I have acquired a lot of Blue Onion pieces, both original and reproduction and every piece seems to be attached with a story of my mother, my Aunt Jeanne, and many dear friends along the way. I have come to realize that even though the china is pretty, it's the experience associated with it that really holds the significance. My advice to new brides--go with your heart! Get what you love--whether it's white china, blue and white china or something totally abstract. You are going to live with it a long time and, hopefully, have someone in your life who will love it just as much and will want you to pass it down to them to store their memories of you in.
One note about china patterns and marriage--I am beginning to realize just how long I have been married since I can no longer go to a department store to replace broken peices in "Blue Danube" by Lipper. I have to go to antique stores to find dinner plates and so on! Once in a while my pattern pops up in a discontinued items catalog and I still keep buying it because, to me, it is beautiful, even the chipped and cracked pieces (adds some personality to the mix) and it has staying power--just like my marriage.