You Know It's a Big Southern Wedding When You See Christmas China on the Registry

Why ask for one pattern when you can ask for two or three?

Christmas Posy Table Decor
Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Design: Kathleen Varner

A few weeks ago, I was on a friend's wedding website selecting a gift from her registry. She and her husband-to-be had asked for crystal, china, kitchen utensils, party supplies, and items at a range of price points for guests of all ages and budgets. They had done a nice job of registering for not only their style and life together, but also for their guest list.

There were plenty of options to choose from, and as I scrolled through the registry, it became clear that this was going to be a BIG wedding. They had asked for not one but three full sets of china—one informal, one formal, one Christmas—and the gifts were very much accounted for. So much so that I made a joke to my sisters, texting, "You know it's a big Southern wedding when there's Christmas china on the registry."

I was half kidding at the time—and also, slightly jealous, making a mental note that I, too, want a set of Christmas china—but it got me thinking: Why do couples register for a holiday china pattern? Is this a trend for bigger weddings when couples know they can complete multiple sets? Is it an additional pattern they're hoping to add to an existing collection? Is it a fun alternative for a wedding during the holiday season?

To discuss, I called on the best source I could think of: Tara Guérard, wedding planning extraordinaire and owner of Tara Guérard Soiree in Charleston. She immediately told me that she is a BIG believer in registering for china, saying it's still very much a tradition in the South even if the practice is waning elsewhere. "Buying vacation trips as a gift just isn't the same," she argues. "This will be something the couple will have for a lifetime and even get to hand down for generations."

While less common than registering for a traditional china pattern, asking for holiday china can be a great idea for a number of reasons. And the reason is different for every couple, as I learned from speaking with Guérard as well as from polling friends. Some are asking for two full sets of formal china—one traditional, one holiday. Others are leaning into a holiday wedding date or are looking for an alternative if they've already inherited a set of formal china from family. And a few just have an affinity for holiday gatherings, and say why not register for a seasonal pattern?! "It's a great way to start a new tradition, with a new set of china that can be used at family gatherings and passed down for generations," adds Guérard.

A holiday china pattern—whether Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter—can be an especially smart addition to the registry for those hosting a large event. "With a big wedding, you probably have enough guests to get your formal, everyday, and Christmas china," Guérard notes. She says go for it, no minimum guest count, though. "Think about it—it would be such a treat because you would probably never buy for yourself. I still don't own a holiday pattern!"

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