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A Guide To Choosing Flatware Sets That Will Last For Years To Come

Updated on December 18, 2016

Wedding season is in full swing and for many couples, that means registering. Registering and choosing items to fill your home can be a lot of fun, but also very overwhelming! There are so many things available and it can be difficult to know what’s a necessity and what will collect dust in storage after the wedding.

The ideal wedding gift is one that your new family will use and enjoy for years to come which is why flatware is such a popular choice. Flatware is something that we use every single day, but ironically something that most people have not spent much time pondering upon!

When it’s time to give a gift, it can seem overwhelming to start at square one and learn all there is to know about flatware and which is best for gift giving. It’s no wonder why so many people come to me with questions on choosing flatware sets that are beautiful, functional, appropriate for a gift, and will last for many years.

Whether you’re looking for your first set of stainless steel flatware, updating an older set, or giving a lasting gift, this guide will help you navigate the process.

Why Choose Stainless Steel Flatware?

Flatware sets can be created from many different types of materials – and not all are created equally! Stainless steel flatware is a natural choice for a flatware set. To be called stainless steel, the flatware must contain chromium, a substance that naturally resists stains.

Many sets also have nickel added to the chromium and those sets are labeled as 18/10. The nickel adds to the flatware’s resistance to corrosion, which helps guarantee that the flatware remains beautiful for years. However, thanks to a worldwide nickel shortage, the price of nickel has doubled lately. In order to ensure the long-lasting beauty of a quality and affordable flatware set despite the nickel shortage, flatware companies came up with an alternative solution. Flatware sets labeled as 18-chrome stainless steel are made without nickel, but when these sets are properly processed, they still meet the high standards associated with nickel flatware and pass corrosion tests.

Flatware sets have many different finishes that help create different styles. A polished finish is more formal looking while a matte finish looks more contemporary. The variety of stainless steel finishes allow many different looks and intricate designs while still remaining strong and sturdy. Over time, the flatware will naturally mark with daily use. This isn’t a negative – instead the marking will add a beautiful sheen to the flatware.

How To Choose Flatware Sets

Flatware doesn’t have to be boring. For years, flatware designs were stagnant and dull. We knew that flatware could be fun and stylish so we set out to make our designs stand out from the crowd. We’ve been designing fabulous flatware since 1994 and are up to date with the industry trends (because we help set them!). We’ve thought of everything from the design of the flatware to the packaging to streamlining manufacturing so that we could create a beautiful yet affordable set of flatware. We have many different types of flatware designs so you’re sure to find a set that fits your lifestyle.

There’s more to choosing flatware sets than just finding a pretty pattern. A good flatware set will last years so you’ll want to pick one that will coordinate with your dishes and style. Many people register for two sets so that they have everyday stainless steel flatware and a formal set to match their fine china place settings.

When creating a bridal registry, many stores have a registry consultant that will sit down with a newly engaged couple and show them actual table setting pieces, complete with dishes, glassware, flatware, table cloths and napkins. Sitting down with someone who is knowledgeable about table settings will make it easier to choose which stainless steel flatware matches the style of dishes you like. You’ll be able to get a feel for the balance and how each piece of flatware feels in your hands. They’ll also be able to help you decide how many of each piece you’ll need.

Your personal style will help determine which flatware and table settings you choose and your registry consultant should bring out a variety of styles for you to pick from. There are many different styles of flatware so it should be easy to find one you’ll love for years to come. Flatware patterns come in classical, continental, everyday, handmade and modern designs. With so many styles, the hardest part will be choosing just one everyday and one formal set. We’ll go over a few design categories so you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Classical Flatware

A classical flatware set is best matched with a formal table setting. Classical patterns are elegant, timeless and never go out of style. A continental flatware set is named because of its European proportions – continental pieces are slightly longer and sometimes larger than traditional American pieces. Because of these proportions, they are often used for formal occasions.

Modern Flatware

Modern flatware is typically designed with a contemporary look. Modern pieces are unique, while still elegant and refined and can add a dramatic flair to your table. Another category, the everyday flatware collection, is casual yet chic. As the name implies, they are designed with everyday use in mind.

Lastly there’s handmade flatware. These collections have organic designs and feature artistic craftsmanship, making them a beautiful addition to any table setting. If you’re looking for one of the most unique types of flatware, a handmade design can be a great choice.

Place Settings -- What Do You Need?

It’s always a good idea to have 12 place settings, even if it’s just the two of you starting out. Twelve settings means you’ll never have to worry about extra flatware sets when entertaining guests. Registering for extra matching tea spoons and salad forks is also a good idea so that you won’t have to worry about washing up before serving coffee and dessert during a dinner party – no one wants to be in the kitchen washing dishes while their guests are enjoying themselves in another room.

Choosing Serving Pieces To Complement Your Set

In addition to your stainless flatware place settings, you’ll also need serving pieces, steak knives and perhaps cocktail forks, mini spoons and spreading knives. A five-piece set of serving pieces includes a large serving spoon, a large slotted spoon, a small sugar spoon, a large serving fork and a butter knife.

Serving tongs for salads and pasta are also good items to add to a registry, as well as a set of ice cream spoons with a serving paddle. Combined with a fun set of sundae bowls, these can make for a whimsical gift couples will love to receive.

Where Can I Find Affordable Flatware Sets?

Affordable flatware sets are easy to find through major retailers or online. If you’re unable to meet with a registry consultant to choose your flatware, it should still be easy to find beautiful sets on your own. If you do order online or choose a design without being able to touch it, make sure your online retailer has an established return policy. Because so much of choosing flatware is touching it and the feel of it in your hands, you’ll want to make sure to get a set that isn’t too heavy or light for your tastes.

If you do decide to return a set and exchange for a new one, just remember to test it in your hands, but don’t actually use it. Most companies understandably will not accept the return of flatware that’s been used!

Caring For Stainless Steel Flatware

Once the wedding is over and the gifts have been given, stainless steel flatware is easy to care for. With proper care, flatware sets can last a lifetime.

Most sets are dishwasher safe, though it’s a good idea to avoid leaving them in a hot and humid heated dishwasher dry setting. Setting your dishwasher to an air dry setting will save your flatware as well as reduce your electric bill, a win-win situation. Care should also be taken to avoid prolonged soaking and damp storage conditions as this can cause problems like pitting and discoloration. Steel wool and abrasive cleaners should also be avoided as they can cause excessive scratching.

Stains aren’t common, but can be easily removed with a soft cloth and liquid detergent. For water spots, use a little rubbing alcohol or salad oil and a soft cloth. Has your flatware lost its luster? Shine with just a little white vinegar on a sponge – that’s how restaurant flatware is kept looking so nice and shiny. Regular cleaning once or twice a year with a stainless steel cleanser will keep your flatware sets looking like new.

Stainless steel flatware isn’t just a great choice for a great bridal shower or wedding gift. It also makes a beautiful housewarming gift for a family moving to a new house, or even to yourself if you’re the one moving. A new home naturally calls for new housewares and flatware is no exception.

With many styles and choices of flatware sets, the hardest part will be finding just one or two sets to register for or purchase. Choosing stainless steel flatware will give you years of beautiful and functional table settings for formal occasions and everyday use.


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