(ARA) - Amanda Davis grew up listening to stories of her grandmother's beloved china. When her grandmother surprised her by giving those cherished pieces to Davis to celebrate her own wedding, the precious gift marked a dream come true.
"I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to receive this piece of family history," Davis says."I can already picture myself as a mother and grandmother pulling this same china out of my own hutch as I tell stories of my grandmother. I hope that in the future my children will feel the same sense of family history and pride and that I will one day be able to pass it on to my own granddaughter. To know that it will be used in future generations of my family in the same way it was used in past generations is an amazing gift."
Davis' grandmother chose the pattern more than 60 years earlier when she married, but unfortunately through the years the cups and saucers were lost. To complicate her story, the manufacturer stopped making the pattern decades ago, which meant the missing pieces seemed nearly impossible to find.
Their search led them to Replacements, Ltd. Known as the world's largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles, the North Carolina retailer specializes in discontinued and hard to find patterns. The company's researchers not only identified the pattern, they helped Davis' family complete the set in time for her big day.
With more than 360,000 patterns in stock, Replacements' bridal registry staff hears from brides looking for something old and something new. The company receives requests for a mix of discontinued heirloom patterns that have been in families for generations, along with those being produced today.
As for current trends, many dinnerware manufacturers are refocusing their pattern mix around brides' changing preferences.
"For the last six years, bridal registrations shifted to more casual everyday dinnerware, but recently we are experiencing a resurgence of brides in their twenties returning to fine china for the clean lines and versatility," says Robin Long, Replacements' vice president of product marketing and business development. "Shades of white are a staple on the tables of new brides and offer a great canvas to add seasonal accent plates which can give a table a whole new look without purchasing an entire new pattern."
Long adds that among current patterns, platinum trim patterns are the best sellers, but gold trim patterns are also high on the list for millennial brides.
"Some of the biggest trends we're seeing are designs inspired by nature, such as flowers and birds. Bridal patterns are moving away from neutrals and pastels; color is everywhere," Long says. "Some of the hottest colors right now include turquoise, lime green and tangerine tango, which the experts at Pantone named color of the year."
For brides like Davis, opting for "something old," Replacements' bridal registry marks a valuable resource in tracking down cherished older pieces.
"We're one of the few retailers brides can depend on for help filling out heirloom patterns because of the breadth and depth of our discontinued pattern inventory," says Long. "Because we offer a mix of old and new patterns, Replacements' bridal selection is truly unmatched. We've put together a group of associates to specifically handle all registry requests. Since this team is familiar with our bridal customers, we can offer more personalized attention. It's almost like having your own personal shopper."
Long adds the company offers other valuable resources for brides. For example, if the bride doesn't know the name of her pattern or the company that produced it, Replacements offers a free pattern identification service. Other tools include dinnerware care tips and place setting guides for various meals on the company's website, along with etiquette and decorating tips on the company's YouTube channel.