Before you start scanning away.

Vintage Wedding China
Credit: Photo: A Bryan Photo

The moment that precious ring lands on your finger, friends and family will want to shower you with wedding gifts. It's a magical (read: overwhelming) thing. They'll want to know where you're registered pretty quickly, and that means it's time to grab that registry scanner and gather up the gift suggestions.

For brides that have never daydreamed about what kind of dishware they'd like to use with Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of their lives, it can be a lot to take in at once. Patterns, eye-popping price points, and all sorts of mix and match options await your quick, yet important, decision. However, newly-engaged brides may forget to consider one very important thing before entering the treasure trove that is the formal china section of your favorite fine goods store: family heirlooms.

Remember those floral patterned, priceless dishes Mama was sweating over using during Easter brunch? The ones that used to be her mother's favorite? What about the delicate set your dad's mother used every Christmas Eve when you were growing up? It's important to understand whom those dishes might be gifted to someday, especially if they might be passed down to you as a wedding present.

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Don't get us wrong, you may still choose to register for formal china even if a fine family set is in your future. Registering for wedding china is a lovely tradition, and those plates will soon become seasoned with fresh family memories. Best yet, you can pick out the exact pattern you want. But, just imagine all of the family laughs and full bellies that have taken place with Grandma's plates in hand over the years. We're willing to bet you'll want to bake a favorite family recipe and serve it to your own on a plate passed down from one generation to the next.