So, I mentioned this to my father last week, hoping he'd have suggestions about where to go. No, he's not a china expert, but that man has some interesting pockets of knowledge. He got back to me later last week with an interesting offer...
My grandmother, my Oma for those who know her, has always said that she wants me to someday take her china set. It's a NEAT pattern, beautiful raised 3-D ivy leaves encircling the borders of each plate, cup, saucer, and serving item. My grandmother doesn't entertain much anymore, and really never uses the set. My father wanted to know if he could drop a few hints to my grandmother about her using that as a wedding gift for us.
I was torn initially... but after talking it over with B, we think it's something to delicately look into. We'd both rather have a sentimental set that was handed down to us. And, if we feel like we need a bone china fine white set with lace-flower embellishments, we've agreed that can be our 5 or 10-year anniversary gift to each other.
There are a few things that need to be done though. Even though my Oma has always told everyone this is for me (I was the one who always oogled over it, ran my fingers over the leaves, had friends over for dinner there and birthdays, etc), I want my dad to run this idea by my sister. Then there's my grandmother... I'd like the idea to come from as if she thought of it, not my dad or me. Also, we'd like her to keep the set until we're in a house. Any entertaining we do before then can be with our daily dishes, and this way, SHE still has them if she does want to entertain (or have my mom entertain for her at her home). This way too, we don't have to worry about the china getting broken with each move (there are at least 2 moves scheduled in the next couple of years). I'd like to have a china cabinet for them in our future house too, ready and waiting for when we finally receive them.
So a lot of ifs, but B likes the set. And you already know my thoughts. It's not exactly traditional wedding china, but I love it. B loves that it has sentimental value, and he likes the unique pattern. Looking at it materialistically, this also does free up a lot of our registry too, so we will hopefully receive more items that we will use on a more regular basis to make our lives more enjoyable belongings-wise.
Here's a picture of the pattern. I'm going off memory, but I believe that's the set. My father is going to investigate further to make sure it is a nice set with replacements somehow available.
It is exciting.