A few years ago we came across a Craigslist posting from a woman who had decided that instead of renting dinnerware for her wedding, she would just buy it all from IKEA and then take a stab at reselling it. We just happened to be the suckers who snatched up all that she had to offer and we currently have place settings for 165 people. No paper plates at our house!
Our original purchase also included silverware, cups and mugs, but we donated those to our local church as it was just too much to store. But the plates we kept. After moving twice (that's a ton...literally... of dishes to move!) we came close to reselling them, but we figure we can silkscreen them up as Christmas presents before it comes to that.
For now we love knowing we never have to pick up plates for our parties. There is just something satisfactory about the tactile experience of eating off a real plate. It's a good thing.
So next time you're cruising Craigslist, don't be afraid of bulk purchases, they can yield great rewards!