By Azure Nelson,
Published Sep 10, 2009
You don’t have to know which fork to use to benefit from this week’s Amazon Wedding Registry Tip!
Get rid of those mismatched flatware hand-me-downs, and get set for a well-dressed table fit for your most important guests: Mr. and Mrs. You.
Focus on Flatware
Like your dinnerware, you'll want to choose both a formal flatware pattern and a casual one. And also like fine dinnerware, there's no reason not to use fine flatware every day, if you wish. In fact, extended use will only improve the appearance of silver plate and sterling silver.
Serving Utensil Showdown
Along with your place settings, you'll need a variety of serving utensils in order to dish out all your food. Most manufacturers group the main pieces in handy sets: hostess, entertaining, and serving. You'll want one of each to match your fine flatware, and at least a hostess set for your casual setup. In addition to the basics, there are myriad other specialty pieces to choose from. Depending on your entertainment needs, you'll want to register for anything from asparagus servers to sardine forks.
The Main Materials
Before you set out into the world of flatware, take a quick turn through some of the materials you're likely to encounter:
is the most durable material used in tableware. It is marked by the manufacturer as 18/10 or 18/8, with the first number indicating the percentage of chromium, and the second number indicating the proportion of nickel. Both are added to increase corrosion resistance and luster, and the more nickel, the more lustrous. Stainless steel is available in shiny and satin finishes and may occasionally be accented with gold plate.
is created by applying a layer of pure silver to a base metal. This base metal adds durability though does not lend itself to the intricate designs found with sterling silver.
is an alloy of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper, with the copper adding strength and durability. It is softer than stainless steel and silver plate but lends a richer tone to a formal table and can be decorated in intricate motifs.
is typically used as an accent material, though it is occasionally applied to the whole piece. A standard of 24-karat gold is layered on top of a base metal. Gold plate is tarnish-resistant and durable and adds elegance to formal settings.
For more wedding gift registry tips, check out our past posts.