Set your reception tables with mis-matched dinnerware for free and for charity

January 15 | mswolfgang
Gifted dinnerware for reception
Photo from Shannon & Brad's vintage-inspired New Year's Eve wedding by Carretto Studio Photography

A lot of people agree that the random-patterned-dinnerware look at a reception is pretty damn awesome. (Yo. I did it.) But grabbing plates and glasses for a couple hundred people (give or take) can be a chore, not to mention pricey.

Maybe give Shannon and Brad's approach a try! They asked their guests to bring their favorite plate and cup as wedding gifts! Shannon and Brad used the dinnerware for their reception, kept 20 or so of their favorites, and gave the rest to a local refugee resettlement organization. How SPECTACULAR is THAT?!

How are you planning to get your hands on all of your mismatched dinnerware?

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  1. On the one hand, I like the resourcefulness of this. On the other, idk……….I'd feel kinda weird giving mismatched dishes to refugees. I would not not want my contributions to feel like castoffs, and also, one little luxury people indulge in when they get a little bit of change is to buy matching dishware.

    3 agree
  2. I would be super irritated if I gave someone a place setting of my favorite tableware (meaning one of my current correlware dishes from my grandmother), thinking the person would cherish it like it do, and then the person turned it around and donated it to charity. I also agree with the above comment–mismatched tableware is only cute when it is obvious you could have afforded matching if you wanted.

    15 agree
  3. That sounds very complicated and a little inconsiderate. Some people might forget or logistically might not be able to bring their dinnerware if they flew in or something. Also, these people might end up wiping out their own dinnerware set if they brought those things to your wedding. Your friends and family are already spending the time and effort to get to your wedding, probably also bringing a gift, AND you're expecting them to bring their own dinnerware. That's too much, but I'm glad it worked out for that couple.

    5 agree
  4. I think this is a neat idea! There are definitely a few things I would want to do in advance: I'd check with the proposed charity first to be sure this donation would be welcome, and I'd tell guests what would happen to their plates (to ward off the issue around hurt feelings Zach mentions above). And of course this is an approach which would work better if most of your guests are local. But I think as a guest I'd love the feeling of contributing something to the wedding. It sounds like this couple asked people to bring the dinnerware as a gift (so they weren't expecting additional gifts as well) and I think that's also a great strategy for cutting down on costs for your guests. Wedding gifts can definitely be a financial burden, but many people have a stray plate sitting at home which they could contribute to something like this (I know I have a few things that once belonged to a set, and now don't get used because I do like matching plates!). And if you don't own one, it's an inexpensive thing to pick up in a charity shop.

    3 agree
  5. I'm thinking of going thrifting for mismatched tableware and then anything we don't want to keep goes right back to the thrift stores!

    4 agree
  6. find out if there's an org where you can rent mismatched tableware in your area! in moscow, id, there's the plate project ( where you can rent all sorts of mismatched stuff. it's a collaboration between one of the event venues in town and the local sustainability organization.

    1 agrees

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