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The secret to combining vintage china into unique catering packages

Are you planning a vintage-inspired event and looking for unique catering packages? Combining vintage china pieces can create a one-of-a-kind look that will make your event stand out. In this article, we’ll take a look at the process of combining vintage china into unique catering packages, and share some tips and tricks for creating stunning combinations of crockery.

Joining forces: Monkey Business Catering and Elegant Vintage Hire

When Monkey Business Catering approached us to join them in their catering adventures to supply unique vintage hire pieces it was a resounding YES from us. We were all in! We created some packages immediately and Amy (aka Head Monkey) wasted no time in updating the website with our page going live in February this year.

But then COVID-19 happened. Ample amounts of home time … family self-isolation … and a bundle of kids to homeschool. However, we have not been idle and have spent many delightful hours playing with the china!

The process: Sorting and selecting vintage china by themes

After working bespoke set ups with many talented brides and stylists we thought we had tried every possible combination of our collection. Then along came Amy and asked us to “mix it all up” to work with catering packages. And so, with much thought and attention to detail, we sorted our collection broadly into themes.

The themes include:

  • Pretty in Pink
  • Beautiful Blues
  • Floral Riot
  • Elegant Provincial
  • Dining Drama… and more!

So how have we come up with our packages, and why do our themes work so well? Here is our secret … the process.

To combine china well you need to leave certain design elements out … this is how the magic happens.  

Firstly we need a lot of space to lay out all the dinner plates, cake plates and teacups. We take into account colour palette and  design; that is the value and intensity of the colour, scale of the design, genre, and common pattern styles. For effect we add a few pieces which stand out … mavericks.  

Our “Elegant Provincial” theme represents a paired-back French feel, while the “Floral Riot” and “Dining Drama” themes showcase dramatic intense florals and strong colours that we love.

Once we finish sorting the china, we test each new range as if we were sending it out for hire! We literally unpack a broad sampling and spread the vintage loveliness out “blindfolded”. When we sort things correctly, it creates a delightful effect and results in lovely new combinations of crockery.

Eye candy: The beauty of vintage china laid out in unique combinations

“Elegant Provincial” is my personal favourite. The range includes every small detail that makes vintage china stand apart from the boring plain plate. There are dainty textures and edgings around the rims of plates and cups, and an abundance of rich gold filigree against a muted colour scheme of cream, dusk pink, white, and delicate pastels. We’ve made the range pop with a few delicate trailing florals and some gentle country scenes. Vintage can never, ever be boring or repetitive!

The unpacking and laying out of our beautiful vintage china is the most satisfying part of our work. The resulting eye candy makes the hard work of sorting and storing all those cups, saucers and plates worthwhile.  

Quality control: Testing, storing and brewing tea in vintage pieces

Another fun part of the process is our quality control. Every piece of china and every silver teapot which we send out for hire has been tested, and many have been lovingly included in family celebrations. It’s like a “getting to know you” ritual, to maintain our high standards. We set aside pieces of china that have been too well loved for vintage projects or little gifts (vintage cups make lovely containers on dressing tables). 

We even brew tea in the teapots! Nothing compares to a cup of tea poured from a well seasoned teapot.  Though an antique dealer once told me the sad story of selling a silver teapot to a lady planning a special high tea. They returned the teapot the next day after discovering that tannins had completely blocked the spout (it was extremely antique).

As COVID restrictions change, I have also been part of the ongoing photography food efforts with Monkey Business Catering, Foodie Shots and Little Pig Consulting. Keep an eye out for the wonderful photos and videos that will be released over the coming months showcasing Monkey Business Catering’s food and our gorgeous Elegant Vintage Hire.

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