What is the adult equivalent of being a child in a candy store? Perhaps it’s when you make your wedding registries. When else can you wander around a store, examining precious goods and picking your favorites whilst knowing that you won’t be the one heading to the cash register? For most of us, this opportunity to “set up home” for life only happens once in a lifetime, so it’s really worth spending the time to do it properly. With so much at stake, we’ve consulted with some of the best wedding registry places in town to find out the most important things to remember before you head to the stores.
Tom Cianfichi of Hazelnut
• Set aside enough time before you go out to make the list to agree on the kind of lifestyle you will enjoy. Are you planning a family? Will you host a lot of guests?
• Thinking ahead, you probably won’t be in the first apartment forever, so what kind of home are you hoping to own one day? What will you need?
• Make sure the list is ready in good time; some people look to buy as soon as they see the announcement.
Kay Fausset of Judy at the Rink:
• Don’t choose things because you think you should. How do you like to do things? Do you entertain formally or informally? Select to suit yourselves.
• Put the things you really want first, so you’re more likely to receive them. You can always top up later or buy yourself those towels.
• Whatever you order, make sure you will have somewhere to store your gifts when they arrive.
Kim Duncan of Dunleith Designs:
• What kind of taste do you have as a couple? Have you agreed on colors and styles? You need to know what you like before you’re standing with a salesperson in a store.
• Think about how your choices will all work together; you don’t want to be disappointed and left feeling everything is a bit of a mismatch.
• Can you divide and conquer? Can the bride pick the linens and the groom choose the electronics?
Becky Fleming of Little Miss Muffin:
• Think about your guest list. Make sure there’s a range of price points for, say, the friends of the couple and maybe some larger items for aunts and uncles.
• Make sure you have a range of different types of items; some guests prefer to buy singular individual pieces rather than those belonging to a set.
• Keep checking on the list every few weeks in case you need to add things at a certain price point, want to include some new inventory that has arrived in store or need to replace items that have been discontinued.
Janie Glade of Old.New.Blue:
• Lots of guests have a set budget, so if you’re having lots of different events like bridal showers, bridesmaids’ teas, etc., make sure there are gifts at price points that allow them to divide up their budget.
• If you have lots of guests from all over the country or from overseas then it makes sense to register with one large department store; it makes shopping online and shipping easier.
• You don’t really need to register with more than one big store; having just one list will make it easier with returns and credits.
• It’s always a good idea to include one or two local boutiques, as they’re likely to stock some of your favorite specialty goods and they allow local guests the pleasure of going and buying the items for themselves.
Meri Monsour, a representative for Adler’s:
• When choosing china, flatware or glassware, try to pick patterns that are timeless, as your tastes will change and you don’t want to be unhappy with your choices in years to come
• If you want some trendy pieces, buy them as unique items and accents that will showcase your style over the years.
• Steer towards brands that have been around forever; you want to know you’ll find your pattern in the future and that you can trust your investment.
• Choose a complete set; they’re always in style and it’s never easy to buy yourself a whole set of fine china or crystal.
• If you like intricate patterns, go for it! They are actually more easily matched in the future than plain white with a gold rim!
Some of our favorite local registries and why:
Judy at the Rink (2727 Prytania St., 891-7018, JudyAtTheRink.com)
• It’s a treasure trove!
• New couples can have so much fun choosing gorgeous ceramics, pottery and tableware items.
• They have wonderful ways couples can play with their monograms; you can put your new initials on a modern acrylic tray or beautiful classic stemware.
• They have beautiful bride and groom hand-painted figurines and ways to turn invitations into pretty pieces of art.
• They work with local artists to convert photographs into colorized art and produce beautiful personalized keepsake wooden boxes.
• They stock recognized names such as Annieglass, Simon Pearce and Beatriz Ball as well as local artists such as Steve Hasslock, Monet France, India Stewart and Elaine Gleason.
• With lamps, photo frames, vases, fashion jewelry and scarves, you can be sure to find charming hostess and bridesmaid gifts as well.
• It’s easy to see that Fausset and her staff develop personal relationships with their brides to help both them and their guests enjoy the fun experience of having a registry.
Dunleith Designs (1537 Metairie Road, 272-0879, DunleithDesigns.com)
• They have a unique assortment of both new and antique items.
• They will help couples combine both the everyday practical household items they need and add some rare, special pieces.
• They have lots of items that are hard to find elsewhere.
• Our favorites include: crystal champagne flutes, vintage Cartier salt and pepper shakers and Aubusson pillows.
• The staff offers that personal service to help couples decide what they really want now and what they’ll continue to cherish in the future.
• We love the fact that because it’s a home furnishing store, their design services are available to help couples make sure all their choices will work together when they get them home.
• Plus, the staff can even help the couple design their furnishings around the gifts and vice versa to create a very stylish first marital home.
Adler’s (722 Canal St., 523-5292, (800) 925-7912, AdlersJewelry.com)
• Adler’s is New Orleans’ oldest jeweler (since 1898), so we love the history and the bridal tradition of registering with Adler’s for generations of local families.
• They have such an impressive selection of the world’s finest brands of china, crystal and silver.
• They also have a wonderful selection of first-class home décor and entertaining accents.
• We like the idea of being able to tap into all that experience when making such important choices.
• The online registry access is excellent.
• They have a fantastic “Buy 7, Receive the 8th Free” program, where for every seventh setting purchased, the eighth is a gift from Adler’s.
• Their gift card system works really well; when guests purchase an item from the registry, Adler’s sends the couple a card with the item and sender’s information so they can send a thank-you card promptly. Though a couple doesn’t receive the actual gift they can, if they choose, use the entire dollar value from their gifts both at Adler’s and at their sister store, Waldhorn & Adler Antiques.
Hazelnut (5515 Magazine St., 891-2424, HazelnutNewOrleans.com)
• It’s a true treasure trove of the most beautiful items from all over the world!
• It has really stylish pieces both for everyday and for special occasions, so you truly can put together a very stylish first home.
• They have lines we haven’t seen anywhere else as well as some of their own lines, like their exclusive reverse decoupage trays.
• The online catalogue is inspiring and easy to browse.
• You can rely on that wonderful small boutique personal service for which the city is famous.
Little Miss Muffin (224 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-6321, LittleMissMuffin.biz)
• The staff is instantly approachable and helpful.
• They have a wonderful reputation of working with families through marriages, births and special occasions, and for always finding the right gift at the right time.
• The shop is crammed with fun, whimsical items, as well as beautiful home décor lines.
• They see the registry as a work in progress and will continue to talk to brides about updating the list, adding new items and making sure it’s working as hard as possible for the couple.
• They have some really unique items from local artists, such as their “Wedding Pillows,” where the artist uses vintage number stamps to ink the names and date of the wedding on to the pillow as a decorative keepsake.
• They have one of the best ranges of fleur-de-lis items.
Old.New.Blue (6117 Magazine St., 655-0863, OldNewBlueShop.com)
• Recently opened on Magazine Street, you can draw on over 30 years experience of handling beautiful Southern weddings.
• The “Wedding Necessities Boutique and Gift Shop” works hand-in-hand with their wedding planning services.
• We are impressed by their mix of religious objects, gifts for the first year of marriage and items from what they call the “Lagniappe” category.
• We also like the fact that Janie Glade and her partner commission special items from local artists specifically for their clients.
• Finally, and something we’ve heard is really effective in getting the creative juices following, is their “inspiration board,” which they put together with the bride and groom to have the ideas and themes for the wedding in one place.
Orient Expressed (3905 Magazine St., 899-3060, OrientExpressed.com)
• It’s a modern day bazaar filled with all kinds of treasures you’ll want in your home.
• From antiques to porcelain, home accessories and gifts, the friendly staff will take a personal interest in helping choose the right items for you.
• It’s easy to find a good range of price points to suit all your guests.
• We think they have some of the most adorable linens, including napkins, hand towels and pillows, in the city.
Friend & Company (7713 Maple St., 866-5433, (800) 783-5408, FriendAndCompany.com)
• Where else can you find Vera Wang teacups?
• The full-service “Bridal Registry” on Maple Street has a highly impressive collection of the world’s best collections of china, crystal and silver.
• You can find names like Fabergé, Waterford and Wedgewood here, as well as Wang.
• Despite the huge collection, the staff is friendly and accommodating.
Admittedly, there’s a lot to think about. However, the most resounding piece of advice we heard was to have fun. It is such an amazing experience to choose all these beautiful things that you’ll have when you start your life together and which you’ll hopefully use and live with for many years to come. If you agree on the basics at the outset (such as what you need and what you want it to look like), pick good stores to work with and the rest should be pure pleasure.
The Greater New Orleans Federal Credit Union’s “Matrimoney” is a new registry program that enables shower and wedding guests to send a cash gift. The monetary gifts are deposited into the couple’s GNOFCU account by their guests.
GNOFCU provides registry cards for the couple to include in their shower or wedding invitations for guests to submit with their cash gift. The credit union will then send a “gift card” to the newlyweds from their guests to inform the couple of their monetary gift deposit. Clearly cash gifts are often well received by brides and grooms paying for lots of wedding expenses and first home purchases.
If you’re going to register with a national chain such as Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond or Dillard’s, make sure you take a close look at their individual offerings.
They all provide the same baseline benefits: easy online shopping and shipping; hassle-free returns; registry manipulation for adding items and changing quantities; and helpful wedding planning tools. Most also offer a “completion program,” allowing you to buy anything left on your list at a good discount. However when it comes to choosing the right one for you, figure out what you want to receive and then match it with the different incentive programs and offers they’re running.
Macy’s (Macys.com) has an “Irresistible Proposals” program offering discounts, a “Registry Star Rewards Program” and fun “Sip and Scan” events. Be smart and you can enjoy discounts of up to 20 percent as well as free items.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BedBathAndBeyond.com) has a great “Start to Finish” incentive program and a “Completion Program,” which lasts up to three months, plus free announcement cards.
Dillards (Dillards.com) has an incentive program that offers discounts on leading brands such as Calphalon, All-Clad, Cuisinart and Emeril’s, as well as free gifts offers.