Entertaining Ideas
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How Many Place Settings/Dinnerware

My husband and I are getting ready to move into our new house in two months and I am going through everything in our house to see what we need, want new things of, etc. My biggest question right now is about dinnerware. I already have a 4 place setting of fine china but the new dinnerware I will be purchasing will be used for every day as well as entertaining. How many place settings do I need? I have looked at registry checklists, TheKnot suggests 12 formal and 12 casual. Should I stick with 12, 24 or maybe 16-18? Any suggestions?

Re: How Many Place Settings/Dinnerware

  • Welcome :)

    It depends on what kind of entertaining you do. 

    I just finished having this conversation with my BIL and SIL (they had wedding GCs to use up).  They insist they'll never ever ever do more than invite 2-3 people over for pizza Confused  That's either a paper plate affair or they can use the 8 place settings they use for themselves.

    I tend to do groups of about 20 for heavy hors d'oeuvres, so I use lots of salad plates and have less need for dinner plates.  I have 12 of my wedding fine china, 16 of my plain white everyday, and 16 of a fall fine china I inherited.  But I often have to pull plates from both sets to make enough for a party.

  • I have 12 settings of each, and then supplemental app plates. If parties get very large, like in the case of our 50+ housewarming, I go with chinet (heavy duty paper) plates.


  • Thank you ladies. I do agree with using nice disposable plates when it comes to having a large crowd of 20 or more. I have kind of figured out what to do. I'm going to buy mismatched plates in black, white and black & white prints. I will have 12 place settings in that and I think I am going to get another set in 12 but with a different color scheme. Maybe have a few appetizer plates in Christmas colors. 

    The house we currently live in is way to small to have large parties, though I have done it before. There is hardly any cabinetry to hold anything so we have to stick with the basics... I am excited to be able to buy serving platters! Needless to say, we do not do much entertaining here, or at least as much as I would like. Growing up, my parents were constantly entertaining. It was their house where the Christmas parties would be held, every Friday we had people over and days in between. That is one reason I am so excited to be moving, we will finally have a house we can entertain in comfortably!  

  • Sounds like a good plan. I have 13 settings of everyday and 13 of our china.  Frankly, I like having the 13 just for life so we don't have to wash as often.  I found some plain clear glass ones for $1 and loaded up a set of 36.  If our families show up we have 31 people so 36 seemed a good number.

    I'll add that I also picked up a set of 36 silverware

  • I have 8 settings of everyday and 8 of china, but a small dining room with a 6 person table and a leaf to seat 8. Our family gatherings are usually 6 or 7 and if they were more, they'd be significantly more, so I wouldn't bother storing all those plates for the rare chance I would need them. I like having 8 though because then I don't have to run the dishwasher every day.
  • We've got 12 place settings. I can't imagine ever having more than 12 people in our apartment at one time--even 8 is pushing it!
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