Um, good luck with that. This was one a dream of mine, too–until I realized that china plates are NOT always pretty,it’s hard to find them in general, let one ones that go togethe. AND if you buy them from Ebay, you have to buy them generally one or two at a time (otherwise you’re buying a set, which kinds kills the whole “mismatched idea”) Having to buy them piecemeal like that means you’re paying shipping every time. Not only that but china on Ebay is not cheap, and is frequently ugly.
So that leaves thrift stores, who btw are totally on to this being a trend in wedding. I couldn’t find china plates for any less than $4 a piece. Which, even if you’re having a smalli wedding of about 100 people, is still $400. AND you still have to pay for renting bowls, silverware, cups, etc. so it’s not like this is getting you out of hiring any vendors.
This is i f you’re lucky. If you’re not, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. will only want to sell you the entire set of china. Which means that you will pay $100 for a set that includes 8 plates, and you will end up with a bunch of useless crap — tea cups, crab forks, impractically small saucers. This will kill your budget really fast. 🙁
Sorry to be t a downer about this, but it’s better to realize all this now IMO than to plan your wedding around this being a central decor component, THEN realize it’s a pipe dream.
ETA: To be fair, some cities do have rental services that focus specifically on this sort of thing, but I think they’re the exception rather than the rule, and are quite expensive. I’d kind of like to find whoever decided to feature this as a fun, relatively easy and (LOL!) moneysaving idea for weddings, and punch them right in the face. Especially because a lot of times, the pics they use to feature this idea are neither vintage, china, or even technically mismathed. WIC, you win again.