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Wedding Buffet Idea: Thrift Shop Fine China Plates

Updated on January 31, 2008
mixed and matched china from various china sets
mixed and matched china from various china sets

Back in September, I flew to Denver to be part of the wedding party in the marriage of two very good friends, Alicia and Shawn Marie. My favorite thing about any wedding (aside from the chance to see two very deserving people joined in love and happiness, of course) is the various personal meanings and individual touches that the couple puts into the ceremony and reception--the more meaningful and unique, the better. I have a lot of very creative friends who aren't scared to step outside tradition, so I am rarely disappointed, and Alicia and Shawn Marie were no exception.

The ceremony was full of meaning and references to their own unique love story, the way they met, and their own spiritual beliefs. The overall effect was stylish, classy, and quite emotionally powerful. I found myself overwhelmed with happiness for them, smiling and crying at the same time. I hope that all of the good will that I could feel tangibly in that room follows them through their lives together.

One particular detail that I loved about their wedding was two different ways in which they used some beautiful china. One was in the ceremony, and the other was afterwards, during the reception.

During the ceremony, the wedding party surrounded the couple in a half-circle. As part of this half circle were two small tables. On each table was a teacup in a saucer, each with a card that read, "In loving memory of," dedicated to a loved one who had passed away, with a brief epitaph. This struck me as a wonderful gesture to give a silent acknowledgement of the people who could not be there to celebrate that day, but who would have loved to be. A small place setting, a marker, recognizing a loss.

The second way in which the couple used china to bring a personal touch to the wedding was during the reception. They had a vegetarian buffet for the reception (and I could write a whole other article about the incredible food on that buffet!). At the end of the table were two stacks of mismatched china, with a sign that read:

"In honor of this delightful occasion and its grand atmosphere, please devour your food on some eclectic and fine china. If you find you have enjoyed the experience, or simply love the plate, feel free to take it home with you."

The plates added elegance to the party that would have been missing (or marred, even) with disposable plates, and I loved the idea of giving china as a keepsake. I liked this idea so much that I asked Alicia about it after the wedding. It had been Shawn Marie's idea, and they had gone to a few thrift and consignment shops in the area to find the eclectic china for very little money. Inexpensive, elegant, and beautiful. I regretted that I had to fly home and couldn't safely take my plate.

What other unique ideas have you seen at weddings and receptions that gave them an extra unique and beautiful touch?


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    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      Hello Miss. ElisaRay. I like your article on the china plates. They are beautiful and your idea too. Thanks.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      8 years ago

      China plates are awesome because you can use them not just for eating. You may order some plain china plates and hand paint them with any pattern you want. You can use them as seat/table number for the reception that can double as your wedding favor.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What a wonderful idea. I am loving your hubs you are so creative.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love the idea, on many counts. At first I thought 200 plates would consume a lot of space, pending the wedding, but no more than paper goods. And if I am 'reading' the photo correctly, it looks as if the mixed china is all saucers? Which would promote return buffet trips and mingling, vs. big fat plate and Chow Down. ;-)

    • Cailin Gallagher profile image

      Cailin Gallagher 

      9 years ago from New England

      Excellent idea! Even beautiful for your own home or holiday meal.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is what we decided on a while ago as we're having our reception at the parish hall and they don't provide dinnerware. It's also cheaper than plastic because you can find a lot of plates for 25-50 cents each

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      We grew our own centerpieces from bulbs.


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