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A big to-do list

Take it from me, bridal registries are very important. When my husband and I returned from our honeymoon, we found our tiny apartment filled with small gift boxes. “Great,” we thought, “plates and silverware for our new home!” We were excited to dig into our gifts – that is, until we started opening them. When the smoke and packing peanuts had cleared, we found ourselves with approximately 23 extra-large martini glasses, no place to store them and a bunch of well-meaning friends who prefer Miller High Life to Bombay Sapphire. What were they thinking? How can you avoid barware bumbles and tacky gift troubles?
Investing a little time in creating a registry eliminates these potential gift catastrophes. “Registering makes it easier for family and friends to buy gifts that fit the couple’s personality,” says Fernando Lopez of Auraluz Linens and Gifts. “The couple ends up being happier in the end as well because they receive a gift they really wanted or a gift that matches their décor, color schemes and needs.” Smaller, more intimate shops with bridal registries, such as Auraluz, are a good start for brides and grooms looking for guidance and unusual gift choices. According to Lopez, “We call our bridal registry ‘pressure-free registry.’ If a couple comes in and finds only one or two items to place on their registry, that’s fine because we want them to be happy. It’s all about getting our couples what they want.” Local shops with a wide variety of items can give a couple a nice alternative to the staples they might have previously received at a wedding shower or may already have in their kitchen. “Registry is no longer for the larger stores,” says Lopez. “Let’s face it, we have items you can’t always find in big stores. When you register with a small shop, you will get something unique, and that makes everyone happy.”
While finding unique and unusual gifts is always a fun way to add to a couple’s home, sometimes a bride and groom need the basics as well. And in a town such as New Orleans that really likes to celebrate, necessity can mean plates, dishes, serving pieces and, of course, barware. Generations of brides and grooms have consulted with the bridal registry experts at Adler’s. “We try to help find out a couple’s needs to come up with a look that works for them,” says bridal consultant Elizabeth Johnson. “Some couples come in and know exactly what they want. Some couples come in and have no idea where to get started. We can help both [kinds of] couples put together something that works for their unique needs.” With a wide selection of patterns and styles, Adler’s is the kind of one-stop shop many couples like to go to when putting together their registry. The bridal consultants can look up a hard-to-find pattern, coordinate with a family pattern or create a totally original look. Additionally, Adler’s gift registry allows couples to have flexibility in getting what they want. “Our registry is based on a gift-card system. Family and friends select the item they’d like to give to the couple and a gift card is then sent. A bride and groom then can use their gift cards to complete table settings or for alternative gifts, such as a pretty vase or serving piece.” Gift-card systems work well for avoiding the duplicate sets of chafing dishes, 30 silver teaspoons, or an elaborate coffee set for a couple who only drinks tea. “Each couple we see is completely different from the last,” says Johnson. “We never see the same choices, so it’s very important for couples to set up a selection for gift-givers to choose from. It makes a busy, hectic time much easier for the couple as well as for family and friends.”

Whether registering with a small, local shop or a large chain store, brides and grooms should keep several things in mind:
How do you get started? “We always start by advising couples to take a look at what they already have and what they are going to need,” says Lopez. “That way the couple has a better idea of what they are looking for before they come into the shop.”
How do you let people know where you’re registered? “Word of mouth is always best,” says Johnson. “It is never appropriate for a bride and groom [to] have registry information in a wedding invitation. It is, however, now gaining in popularity for the person hosting the wedding shower to provide any registry information.”
Should a bride register solo? According to Johnson, “All couples are different. About half of the time we see couples come in together. The other half are brides with their mothers, friends or even alone. The couple should talk it over and decide what works best for them and their schedules.”
Should a couple make an appointment or just walk in? “We always recommend that our couples make an appointment. That way we can give them personalized attention,” says Johnson. “It’s usually a good idea to take a look at a shop, get a feel for how their registry works, and see what they have to offer before going in. It can make the difference between an easy and fun experience and a long, difficult one.”
Should a couple register online? According to Johnson, many shops, like Adler’s, now offer registry services online. “After a bride and groom set up their registry, family and friends can go online to see what choices they have. They can then order gift cards online or come into the shop. Ask the shop where you register what all of the gift-ordering options are for your guests for their convenience.”

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