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Ask the Strategist: I Have Very Specific Needs for My Wedding Dishes. Can You Help?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

A version of this originally appeared in our email newsletter on Wednesday, but Emma had more to say on the matter so we’re sharing her thoughts here. But if you want more Ask the Strategist, sign up for our newsletter. If you have an online-shopping question of your own, please send it to with the subject “Ask the Strategist.” We’re here to help.

I’m building out my wedding registry and in the market to upgrade my dishware. I’m loving the idea of a fluted texture for its ability to somehow be minimal, elegant, and retro all at once. I was actually inspired by the piece on Ashley Coiffard’s wedding registry. I realized my set of criteria is pretty extensive and thought it might be a great quest for your team. See below and let me know if you think you might be able to help narrow down the options out there!

1. White with a fluted texture.
2. Can come in a set with dinner plate, salad plate, and bowls.
3. Expect to be in stock for a long time, so I can replace one if it breaks. 4. Dishwasher and microwave safe.
5. Durable enough for everyday wear but lightweight.
6. Not matte- or stone-textured. I would prefer a glassy surface that utensils won’t scrape on noisily.
7. Budget-friendly/decently affordable.

First of all: Congratulations! Second of all: Let’s get down to business. There are so many dishware options out there that finding a sophisticated-but-hardworking set is actually more difficult than it seems. For the sake of narrowing things down, your set of criteria was actually quite helpful. Each of my picks are white and fluted and are able to go with whatever glassware, platters, utensils, and napkins end up on your table over the years. And while not each set hits every requirement you mentioned, I also kept practicality top of mind: None are crazy-expensive, all are dishwasher safe (some microwave safe, too), and all are from larger retailers that — though I can’t see into the future and therefore make no promises — are likely to have these pieces in stock should your inventory chip or break over time.

These plates come with two slightly varying designs that I think hit the mark you’re looking for. One is similar to Ashley Coifford’s dishware that inspired your search — larger flutes around a wide-brimmed lip — while the other features subtler lines that are thinner, closer together, and descend seamlessly toward the center of the plate. Both are simple but chic, made with molds that give them ever-so-slightly varying shapes so they have a handmade quality. Though the pieces are stoneware, they’re also glazed, which gives them a slightly glossy surface (the brand says the glaze was chosen specifically to help prevent scratches). One important note: The bowls, while matching in material and tone, don’t have a pattern on them.

Food52 offers four options for predetermined 12-piece sets that will get you a bit of an overall discount. But even if you register by the type — dinner plates, salad plates, shallow bowls, and deep bowls — they come out to be fairly affordable (the dinner plates are on sale right now for $10 a pop, though even when they’re not, they’re still only $20 each — not unreasonable). You’ll also find matching mugs and a platter. One caveat is that even the individual types are sold in sets of four — kind of a bummer if just one or two pieces chip or break, but also better than needing to replace one giant collection. And because they’re Food52’s own line, they’re very likely not disappearing anytime soon. The final bonus: They’re dishwasher and microwave safe.

These plates, white and fluted around the edges, look similar to Coifford’s, as well. Based on the photos, they show just a bit more of the subtle sandy color from the stoneware underneath the bright-white glaze (though they’re still perfectly neutral and mix-and-matchable). And in this case, the bowls feature a matching fluted design on the outside. Like the Food52 pieces, each different type is sold in separate sets of four or eight.

Speaking of price, they’re quite affordable — also on sale at the moment and, because of that, about $10 a piece (and even less than the Five Two ones if both are at regular price). You won’t get much cheaper than that unless you wade into the pool of cheaply made or bulk restaurant-supply dinnerware (and as a comparison, most handmade ceramic plates will cost you upwards of $40 each, exactly the price of the dinner-size ones in Coiffard’s registry). They’re from a major retailer, too, and while I can’t say for certain that West Elm will carry them forever, they’re certainly more likely to be around than if you buy from a small store. The product description says they’re lightweight and, though not microwave safe, you can throw them in the dishwasher (the more important criterion for everyday use, in my opinion).

Like the Food52 pieces, these Crate & Barrel ones have a slightly more organic shape than those from West Elm (notice how the edges aren’t exactly aligned, which is especially apparent in the bowls). They have an unpatterned rim around the very tops and differ from type to type in how thick, straight, and close together the grooves are. If you’re game for that variation, they’re also affordable ($12 a piece if you divide everything evenly), from a big retailer, and dishwasher and microwave safe.

With these, the biggest plus is that Crate & Barrel sells each piece (and then some) individually — dinner plates, salad plates, tall bowls, low bowls, mini-bowls, the mugs that come in the set I linked to, plus a matching serving bowl and platter that comes in two different sizes. If you need to replace just one item, you can. If you want ten dinner plates but only six bowls, you can do that, too. Big points for flexibility here.

For a more modern look, consider this set that comes with a dinner plate, salad plate, and breakfast bowl from Georg Jensen. It’s made from porcelain, so it has a glossier finish than the previous pieces, and the plates feature a straight-sided lip around the perimeter — a detail that both gives them a streamlined feel and is practical for saucy dishes. They’re dishwasher safe and like the others and the chances of remaining in stock are fairly high (the designer is a big name in homewares who sells through many outlets). One note: They’re on the more expensive side.

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Can You Help Me Find These Very Specific Wedding Dishes?