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    Vintage China Transforms Special Occasion Tables from the Everyday to the Exquisite

    By Cherry Levin

    Many couples ask me why they should consider vintage china for their special occasion tabletop, and I have several rather personal and heartfelt responses to that question.

    My initial reply is that vintage china reflects the uniqueness of each distinct celebration, and works to make that event exceptional. More than once, I have asked couples why they would consider using nondescript white plates for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Since couples go to great lengths to select their best clothing, search high and low for outstanding caterers to serve the best food, choose just the right wine or champagne to serve their guests, and cap off the evening with the finest dessert, why would they, if the choice was readily available, not use the “best” china?

    Using vintage china evokes memories of the family’s best, not just by creating nostalgia for the past, but also by reminding us of beautiful things made by loving hands and served by caring hearts.

    In addition to the sensory feelings of warmth and family that vintage china arouses, the china itself is uniquely created. The numerous hand-painted urns, scrolls, floral borders, elegant patterns and sometimes woodland features of true vintage china have been eradicated by modern mass marketing techniques. Looking closely at a piece of Spode, Minton, Dresden, Rosenthal, Limoges, Noritake, or my favorite, Meito, (to mention only a few) reveal patterns and designs placed with careful brushstrokes.

    Often, upon close inspection, we notice that the china border is also hand-painted. Again, in modern china manufacture, the thick 22-carat gold, silver, or platinum rims—distinctive markers of vintage china—have been omitted or compromised by mass production. Moreover, vintage china comes in distinctive shapes. During the 19th and early 20th century, when most china imported to the United States was made in England, France, Germany or Japan, the china-makers created a variety of unusual shapes. My favorite are the square luncheon plates. I also love the scalloped and fluted-edged dinner plates, and enjoy mixing   numerous plate sizes and bowls to accommodate a menu that ranges literally from soup to nuts.  

    Another consideration in using vintage china are the vivid colors. From deep rich tones, such as burgundy and cobalt blue, to muted tones of pastel yellow, pink and green, vintage china creates a visual color palate to compliment any special occasion. Adding beautiful stemware in either a complimentary color, or simply elegant silver or gold-rimmed clear water or wine goblets, serves to complete a tablescape developed uniquely for each event. From bohemian chic to rustic industrial, or bold & masculine to simply elegant, vintage china will take your special occasion table from the everyday to the exquisite. 

    Cherry Levin is the founder of Cherry’s Vintage Rentals ( She brings her knowledge as a professional wedding planner to her vintage rental company, and is known among wedding industry professionals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Levin has worked in a variety of venues and with numerous event designers, planners, florists, and other vendors.


    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events ( and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.