The most important part of the dining set without any doubt has to be the dinner service. Prices range enormously depending on what your crockery is made from. Sets from the lower end of the scale are made from stoneware. Mid range is probably porcelain, followed at the higher end by bone china. Styles and patterns are numerous too, from the demure plain to the eye catching bright patterns.
The main piece in the set has to be the dinner plate: these are traditionally circular in shape, but more recently the square shaped oriental style has become more fashionable. Next is the side plate. The side plate is smaller than the dinner plate. This is used in conjunction with the dinner plate either being placed at the side of the bigger plate to serve for example bread or by being placed on top of the dinner plate to serve the first course. The last part of the dinner service is the bowl. Again these vary in size and shape. The purpose of the bowl is either for the serving the first course such as soup or for serving dessert.
Another part of the dining set is the glass wear. Glass wear again comes in many styles and types and price ranges. The cheapest being plain glass going up to the top of the scale with cut crystal. There are several styles of glass wear available. The most versatile is probably the hi-ball, which can be used for serving many types of drinks. You can also get tumblers and wine glasses. A lot of modern wine glasses come in various styles and some even come in different colours so you could compliment your dinner service. Champagne flutes or cocktail glasses can also be good if you are serving particular types of alcohol.
Next is cutlery. Cutlery is more than your basic, knife, fork and spoon. There are different types of cutlery for different menus. One of the less popular today is probably the fish knife and fork which speaks for itself. The knife has a slightly curved blade to it and is very broad, whilst the fork has longer prongs than the conventional fork. There are also different types of spoons. Along with your dessert spoon which has a slightly oval shape to it you can buy soup spoons, which are more of a circular shape. Most people tend to choose stainless steel cutlery, but heavier service silver is also an option. You can also have different handles to the metal of your choice. Bone was once a fashionable casing for the handle, but plastic in various colours is your modern day option. This can be matched once again to your dinner service.
Lastly you need something to place your dinner service on. Most people go for heat resistant mats which you can buy in cork, wicker or melamine. Melamine is probably the most versatile as it is easily washed and again is available in many colours and shapes. You can also buy complimenting coasters to place your drinking vessel on.