Embracing or ignoring the tradition of two sets of dinnerware

I went to a tea party this past weekend in honor of my friend Caroline who is having her second child. The hostess of the party took her china down from the top shelves of her kitchen cabinets for the event and said she was glad to “have a chance to use it.”

I know having two sets of plates is common practice in the U.S., one for using every day and one for using on special occasions, but I’m not a practitioner of this tradition. For starters, we didn’t have cabinet space in our previous home to store more than one set. And, the second reason is because I would rather use my china every day.

Our china is made by Wedgwood and is their White pattern:

The pattern has been produced by Wedgwood since 1920 (not surprisingly, around the same time wedding registries became popular through department stores), so if we need a replacement piece it is extremely easy to find one on Replacements.com. In 10 years, though, we’ve only had to replace one plate. It’s also dishwasher and microwave safe, and bone china is more durable than porcelain and stoneware. Plus, we’ve never had a problem with it staining.

Our 21-month-old son even eats off it.

Most bone china is similar and is made to be used every day. In fact, it can last many lifetimes. The exception to this is bone china with platinum, silver, or gold bands that have to be hand-washed and are unsafe in the microwave.

If you have china in storage, what keeps you from using it? Are you like me and have ignored the tradition of having two sets of dinnerware? I’m interested in knowing what resides in your cupboards.

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