So here’s my little novel with some pictures at the end:
Well, I started collecting china about a year ago, maybe? I think I had seen the idea on the Bee or something, but I began to see vintage china everywhere I went. I go thrifting a lot and am always on the hunt for really fun and pretty items. I have also been obsessed with the idea of having all mismatched plates in my home, so I started collecting a plate here, a plate there with the intent of using them in our home afterwards.
I got 90% of mine at thrift stores. I live around the corner from both a Goodwill and a Salvation Army, so I go in twice a month to check out their inventory. (I also have a friend who works at Goodwill and she’ll text me if they have some pretty dishes come in!) Early on, FI and I set a budget. I knew this was going to cost us far, far more than simply renting white china, but I’ve been starting the process of opening a vintage rental company, so I figured it was investing. (And if the rental company fell through I could always store them–hey, it’s money already spent and gone–for later parties or to leave to my daughters/granddaughters, or I could sell them.)
I found that buying them off of eBay was way, way, WAY too expensive. Even if you could get them at a decent price, it was at LEAST $10 for shipping and handling. I think I bought a total of eight dishes for probably around a $100 and decided to just stick to the thrift stores. I started early enough so I can take my time.
Right now our budget stands as such:
- $3 or less for dinner plate
- $1 or less for salad/bread and butter plate
- $2 or less for tea cups w/saucers
- $1 or less for tea cups or saucers on their own
Basically, my goal was to spend under $1000 on everything. Both Goodwill and Salvation Army have sales frequently enough that I can get most of these items for 50% off. Also, because I go in so often, I’m able to haggle with them if the plates have been there for longer than a month. Also, buying a set is usually more expensive than if the plates are priced seperately, simply because I am not interested in the sugar bowls, creamers, candle sticks, mini bowls, etc. that come with everything. I’m really not even interested in the tea cups and saucers (I’ve been collecting those at random–they seem much harder to find!!!). Also, if they’re priced together it seems like it’s always for the name brand of the plates (which I am also not interested in.) A couple of Craigslist ads got me several responses, but not anything I was interested in.
I don’t have a definite number for my guest list just yet, so it’s okay to keep collecting, but once I hit the 90 mark, I’ll pull back for a few months. We ideally want to keep it under 100, but won’t know for sure until we send out the save the dates and get some feedback. We have 140 invited guests as of now. What I’m going to do, though, is once I get some feedback from the save the dates, keep purchasing until I reach my final number, because I plan on having some extras in case any of them break before or during the wedding, someone needs an extra for whatever reason, and I plan on making cake stands out of the leftover plates.
So, I profously apologize for my novel above (holy shit, shut up, MrsMeowton). Here are the pics:
I apologize for the grainy cell phone shots. We are doing dinner, salad, and dessert plates.