Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Service of Mood Change: NYNow and Then

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Witloft leather apron

Witloft leather apron

 

What a difference a market—or six months—makes. It’s as though a shade came down over the gift show—called NYNow—my overall impression of exhibited products was such a dramatic gear shift last week from last August.

I’d characterize what I just saw as visually quiet, matte in texture, mostly natural colors—lots of gray–and booths filled with linen, cotton, wood, ceramics, straw or products made to imitate them. Patterns were tribal-inspired. The few vibrant colors, flamboyant patterns and sparkles jarred.

Last week we were at the farm; last summer we prepared for an elegant party.

Walter GWhen I wrote about my last visit in “Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday,” I was taken by the abundance of shiny things–highly polished stainless steel, aluminum, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware.

The reason for the shift could be timing. In August exhibitors/manufacturers are thinking of winter and holiday decor while a winter market dresses stores with summer goods. But glorious hot days can also call for all things sunny, crisp, clean and bright—they weren’t.

As always I warn that my impressions are made from largely visiting the Home section which represents relatively few exhibitors vs the whole, though I cover the same area year after year.

A few examples.

Fog Linen Work’s aprons, table linens and clothing, designed by Yumiko Sekine Farmhouse potteryfrom Lithuanian linen, epitomize the simple, natural style I described above as do Witloft saddle leather aprons from Amsterdam [Photo above] and pieces of Farmhouse Pottery from Vermont [Photo right].

One company, Couleur Nature Paris, true to its name, offered more than earth colors. It looks to the garden for inspiration but there was nothing glossy about its tea towels, tablecloths, market baskets and glassware.

I’ve previously written about washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper totes and sacks. This market there were several in this category. The ones that caught my eye were by Bsimple Creations [Photo below, center]. An Italian brand, Essent’ial, featured paper slipcovers, an introduction for ecoitalystore.com.

hapticlab-sailing-ship-kite-white_d246919f-094e-4480-abb4-a4bd3ef17de1_grandeI was charmed by the handmade sailing ship kites in the Hapticlab booth [Photo left]. They were made, according to the website, “in collaboration with Balinese artisans exclusively for Haptic Lab from locally-sourced bamboo and nylon.” You can also display them as a mobile.

Some of Middle Kingdom’s porcelain vases at the show appeared to be a departure from the spring colors on their website. Oversized pieces with a tribal, ikat motif—especially the ones in a curry color—commanded the booth. Walter G’s hand block printed indigo and white textiles, cushions and napkins are designed by owners Genevieve Hewson and Lauren Emerson in Australia and made in collaboration with artisans from Rajasthan. [Photo above, left.]

Honest wood bowls, boards and accessories filled much of the Javits real estate. Peterman’s Boards and Bowls was just one.

The exhibitors hail from around the world. To what do you attribute such a change in mood to inspire this drastic shift in style or am I overdramatizing standard seasonal fashion tweaks and trends?

Bsimple CreationsBsimple Creations’ tote in treated paper

 

Service of the Comfort of Vintage

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

La la Land movie poster

Whatever “vintage” means to you—if you’re 20, 1980s films, fashion and décor might describe it while if you’re 50, it could be all things 1950. For some there’s comfort and perhaps a soothing visual to live with a grandparent’s furnishings; for others, reminiscences shared with an uncle while watching Audrey Hepburn on Turner Classic Movies brings smiles.

I thought of this after seeing “La La Land,” a movie I enjoyed. The writer/director Damien Chazelle is 31 yet he picked the 1940s/1950s romantic musical genre for the setting of his story. He added zero pyrotechnics, violence or gore and none were missed. The film set a record at the Golden Globe Awards winning seven including recognition for best motion picture—musical or comedy—performance by an actor and actress, director, screenplay, original score and original song.

Elle.com ran a article about what’s in or out in fashion. Nikkitight jeans Ogunnaike reported we should “anticipate a shift toward contrast denim styles in vintage silhouettes.” [This look is in contrast to skin- tight jeans popular today.]

I’d saved a December, 2016 section of The Wall Street Journal‘s “Off Duty,” because of its cover story, “Presents with a Past,” that featured 50 nostalgic gifts “whose origins date back decades and beyond.” The subhead continued that the gifts will “conjure a simpler time when the holidays were lower-voltage, but just as bright.”

Sidney Garber bracelet

Sidney Garber bracelet

Speaking of voltage, most of the suggestions would burn a hole in most wallets. There was a gold bracelet by Sidney Garber reminiscent of flexible metal coils first popular in the 1930s for $12,200; a 3-day slumber party at a historic English country estate @ $15,600/night for 16; Prada’s jewel encrusted mules for $1,150; a $685 pair of retro headphones; a mink stole for $5,500 and a chauffer to drive you from Paris to Versailles in a period Citroen starting at $370.

I don’t spend that kind of money for the loved ones on my list. The Wall Street Journal editors chose a few things under $100 too. There was a box of Turkish delight [$35]; a rubber band-propelled toy car [$25]; an apron [$47]; a ‘70s popular fondue pot [$95]; traditional Belgian speculoos cookies [$20]; a Mickey Mouse wall clock featuring a 1930s style rodent [$65], and an Italian knit necktie [[$90].

The J. Peterman Company catalog seems to be going strong with its focus on vintage-inspired men and women’s fashion.

Have you noticed vintage influences creeping back more now than in recent years? Do you welcome them or consider them old fashioned and therefore not worthy of your attention? Do you think that in turbulent times people look back to what they recall or think may have been a calmer period?

 Belgian Speculoos cookies

Service of Gizmos You’ll Never Use

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Gifts wrapped

Tis holiday gift giving time again so what are you giving the person who has everything? Here are some frivolous things to avoid for folks who like to cook.

Gizmos and gadgetsI’ve written about my pasta maker bought years ago and never used. I had high hopes which never materialized. Who has time, anyway, when a box of excellent spaghetti from Italy costs so little?

I thought of the pasta maker when reading “Don’t Be Such a Tool,” in The Wall Street Journal in which Keith Blanchard writes about “questionable and highly specialized culinary tools.” [The online title: “Why Hipster Cooking Gizmos Are Killing Cooking.”]

The article’s subhead in the print version is: “A humble home chef bemoans the rise of sauerkraut-making kits, mini-donut machines and other dubious cooking gadgets.”

macaronsIn addition to the donut machine he identified a pen to draw a design on cappuccino foam with a spice; a mat to “perfectly size 48 macarons;” an ice cream cone maker [at this time of year?] and a tube you stuff “with rice and blowfish, then wrap with nori” to create your own sushi.

Are you tempted by gadgets for the kitchen or anywhere else in your home or office? Are there any you can’t live without? Are you the first to own the newest and latest? Do you have a robot or drone? Are you planning to give a specialized gizmo to someone this Christmas or Hanukkah?

ice cream cone

Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

 

POLaRT furniture

POLaRT furniture

I visited NY Now recently—formerly the NY International Gift Fair—to report on the kind of present you might receive on your next birthday or anniversary, especially if you like to entertain. As always I caution that my observations are impacted by the fact that I saw only a fraction of the summer market at the Javits Center.

I hope you like shiny things because I saw a lot of highly polished stainless steel, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware. In fact sparkling aluminum was prominent. In addition, there were plenty of nods to the past.

Arthur Court Designs

Arthur Court Designs

Here are a few examples that reflect the show-stopping SHINY TREND:

Aluminum

  • Arthur Court Designs exhibited gleaming sand-cast aluminum platters, serving trays, bowls and beverage servers.
  • Beatriz Ball

    Beatriz Ball

    Julia Knight’s website explains that her collections are “handmade of sand cast aluminum with a signature blend of enamel infused with crushed mother of pearl.”

  • No wonder Beatriz Ball’s bowls and ice buckets, platters and spreaders, wine coasters, frames pitchers and trays shine as they do: They undergo four levels of polishing. The pieces are handmade in Mexico of “molten aluminum poured into sand molds.”

Stainless Steel

  • Mary Jurek Designs

    Mary Jurek Designs

    It was hard to identify the medium just by looking at the exquisite tableware and serveware in Mary Jurek Design’s booth. Could it be silver? Turns out to be hand-hammered stainless steel.

Touch of Gold

  • Yedi HousewaresSome of Yedi Houseware’s porcelain coffee cups—in shapes reminiscent of the 1940s—were dressed in contemporary colors and dipped in gold like a hallmark Dairy Queen is immersed in chocolate [photo left]. Yedi’s traditional silhouettes featured gold rims.
  • Annie Glass enhanced the edges of some pieces in gold.

Precious metals

  • Cannes Fayet

    Cannes Fayet

    Shining silver handles on the canes of Cannes Fayet from France winked at passersby.

  • Also from the République Française I saw Design Sophie Villepique Paris’s decorative elements with dashes of silver, gold, platinum as well as gemstones and Swarovski crystals.

Some of you are going to say about the items that were UNUSUAL AND NEW TO ME, “Why that’s been around forever….” I’m not shy in revealing my ignorance: I call out below the glass ginger jars filled with fruit in brilliant colors that fooled me—I didn’t know they were candles—and they’ve been made in the USA for 22 years!

  • Lifetime Candles by White River Designs

    Lifetime Candles by White River Designs

    If I hadn’t overheard another visitor exclaim, “These are candles?!” I wouldn’t have known this about Lifetime Candles by White River Designs’ cylindrical and ginger shaped glass jars and perfume bottles filled with everything from brightly colored fruit and branches to pinecones, butterflies and flowers suspended artfully in clear lamp oil. Headquartered in Harrison, Ark. the company has been around since 1994. [At the booth, the candles weren't lit yet the magnificent jars nevertheless caught my eye.]

  • Tote & Able

    Tote & Able

    Tote & Able canvas flasks in the shape of foil juice pouches were unusual and curious–useful too.

  • Uashmama [pronounced wash mama] washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper that looks/feels like leather is transformed into lunch bags, traditional looking paper bags,  purses wallets, trays and such.
  • I loved watching steam dance out of the Cado Japanese air purifier, which itself was handsomely designed and a far cry from the ugly look of cheap, plastic boxy humidifiers of yore. The steam hitting the air was almost as mesmerizing as staring at a waterfall.

    Uashmama

    Uashmama

  • Sarut’s rubber chicken handbag made me smile. I wonder if it was designed for those who attend countless $250+ per person industry lunches where the menu consists of…rubber chicken?
  • Martone Cycling Co.

    Martone Cycling Co.

    I was surprised to see a bicycle at this show. Martone Cycling Co. stood out both for this reason and for the featured bikes’ clean, vintage design and creative–for a bicycle–colors.

  • Furniture in primary hues at the POLaRT booth [photo at top] made me stop to touch the polymer pieces in Victorian and other historic shapes. The faux button tufting was especially clever.

Do you like adding shiny accents to a dining table or to your décor? Can you point to evidence that some manufacturers, in addition to those I identified, are reaching back for design inspiration not only in decorative elements but also in fashion?

CadoCado humidifier

Sarut

Sarut

 
Julia Knight Collection

Julia Knight Collection

 
 
 

Service of Entertaining: Industry Guru Shares Tops in Table Décor

Monday, June 13th, 2016

F & P kitchen

 

I love to entertain though time and life get in the way so I don’t do it as often as I once did.  One of the most fun parts is to dress my table. Boy am I off trend!

Allison Zisko, tabletop editor at the business magazine HFN, told International Furnishings and Design Association members and guests how folks are entertaining these days and what products they are using to do it. We met in a perfect spot: The month-old Fisher & Paykel Experience Center [photo above] in the Architect’s and Designer’s Building in NYC. 

The venue set the stage. We were surrounded by sleek, high end induction cooktops, convection wall ovens, refrigerators and DishDrawers in a creatively architected space designed to show off the products and welcome visitors. And there was a bonus: We were greeted by Fisher & Paykel’s Paula Cecere Smith who is more than the showroom’s design and architecture manager; she’s also a pro when it comes to entertaining. Her sidekick, executive chef Tagere Southwell, always surprises with imaginative and scrumptious treats–miniature mouthfuls of perfect size made on the spot. She didn’t disappoint.

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

If you’re looking for a hostess or wedding gift or to throw your own party and want to add something new to your table, read on. 

We clearly entertain as we dress–informally.

OUT: cups and saucers and tables set with fine porcelain and silver.

IN

  • Of all categories, beverage and barware sell best i.e. decanters and glasses for specialty drinks. Zisko showed us a whisky glass with a hole to hold a cigar! Cutware, if any, is minimal; glassware is clear and contemporary, dishwasher safe, chip and shatter resistant.
  • Melamine [high end plastic] that sports formal patterns for both in and outdoors: You may grill  or order out but you want to serve a hot dog or pizza on something pretty that’s not paper.
  • As beer styles trend so do different shapes and sizes of glasses to hold ale, stout, larger etc; the same with whiskey.
  • Single bowl meals are big, hence, bowls to house them.
  • Mugs generate huge business.
  • White dishes represent the bulk of sales.
  • Gold finish has outpaced platinum for borders and rim decoration as well as flatware. Copper–warm and rustic–is popular.
  • Gray pops up everywhere in homes including on the table.
  • Farm-to-table influence appears in rustic, artisanal style products.
  • Pieces feature mixed materials such as glass or metal with wood and metal with concrete.
  • Customized tableware—monograms are popular.
  • Manufacturers now pre-mix patterns and sell them in boxes because customers aren’t comfortable doing the coordinating.
  • The number one bridal registry gift is a KitchenAid mixer, as much a status symbol to display on a counter as an appliance for bakers and ice cream makers. Zisko says when not in use the mixer often serves double duty to hold fruit and even mail.

On Zisko’s radar:

  • Products made of cork.
  • Mugs decorated with recipes.
  • Glasses with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on them.IFDA Fisher Paykel event screen turned

She reported the big news at tabletop market this year was trend-setting 81-year old Michael Fina’s decision to close its 5th Avenue store. There it sold china, glassware, cutlery and jewelry. It is now an online-only retailer partnering with Amazon for distribution.

If you own formal dinnerware, do you use it? Do you like to dress a table or consider it a waste of time? Have you changed the way and place you entertain? Is it easy or difficult these days to find perfect gifts for people who still throw dinners and parties?

 Easter table 2016

Service of Eye-Catching Gifts

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

 

Qlocktwo wall clock

Qlocktwo wall clock

 

I’ve highlighted some of the products that caught my eye at NY Now that ended this week. I’ve covered this tradeshow since well before the International Gift Show changed its name. I’d need more than a day to see everything and I was there only four hours hence the warning: This list is imperfect.

QLocktwo wall clocks by Biegert & Funk  [photo above] were showstoppers. The handsome clocks tell time in words: “It is ten to eight,” for example. The sales rep said they are made in Germany and Switzerland. The exhibit was clearly so popular that the staff had run out of marketing materials. I noticed that there were plenty of other timepieces at the show both to wear and display, a curious trend given the universality of smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, automobiles and televisions all of which also display the time.

A French company, Cookut, introduced Creazy, a cup that you shake to make whippedRenova toilet paper cream in less than a minute. The secret: Three multi-faceted silicone beads. I stopped to admire myrenova’s toilet paper in juicy colors such as Marigold, magenta and lime. At the Ameico booth grownups had fun coloring a 71 x 39-inch coloring wall by OMY Design & Play.

Richard Upchurch founded and runs a two year old Brooklyn-based company, Brandnewnoise. He hand makes voice recorders and sound gadgets in his Red Hook studio.

sagegreenlife Edelwhite hydroponic gardenAt another booth I inspected the hanging indoor hydroponic garden, Edelwhite, made possible by sagegreenlife, [photo left], and had to touch Craft Advisory’s bubble wrap-like glass bowl [photo below] to confirm it wasn’t the real thing.

In the category of familiar if mislaid brands—I’ve not seen Louis Sherry chocolates in stores for years—I was glad that the 135 year old brand continues to sell its sweets in its traditional purple boxes [as well as boxes in other designs/colors]. My mother kept knickknacks in a kitchen drawer in a Louis Sherry tin box.

Whether or not you like to go shopping for gifts what catches your eye: Color, function, pattern, originality, or something else? With time evident from countless devices around us, to what do you attribute the burst of timepieces offered to the marketplace?

 Craft Advisory glassware

Craft Advisory glassware

 

Service of Toys With Consequences

Monday, November 30th, 2015

piles of presents

‘Tis the season. To prove it $billions will be spent between Black Friday and Cyber Monday today–maybe you’ve contributed.

I read about one toy you might want to avoid if children are on your list–hope I’m not too late. I love gifts that involve creativity and no technology. What if the electricity goes out and there’s no way to charge gizmos? What if making something with your hands is a good thing?

BunchemsSo Bunchems sounded like fun. Paul Ziobra described them as “a hot new building toy. Each marble-sized Bunchem has dozens of soft springy hooks that give the multicolored spheres a Velcro-like grip….. Bunchems are meant to be used to build things like bears, snakes and unicorns.” Ziobra wrote that they were introduced at the NY Toy Fair in February, are on Target and TTPM’s top holiday toy lists–the latter is an online toy review site– and, he reported, they are nominated for top toy of the year in the action toy category.

But there’s a sticky snag Ziobra wrote about in The Wall Street Journal article “This New Toy Hit Some Real Snags–in Children’s Hair….. Kids like to build with Bunchems, but some parents have hair-raising tales about the sticky spheres.” He gave some examples of parents who had to use “multiple vegetable oils and hair conditioner, combs, crochet hooks and even forks to get the Bunchems out of the hair.”

Bunchems in hairThe manufacturer, Spin Master, warns about keeping the spheres away from hair and claims that most of the time they easily slip out. A Massachusetts mother knows otherwise. Kids will be kids so some kids end up throwing the balls at each other. After all, they are balls. And they might look pretty in hair so after building with them for a while, young imaginations may decide to enhance a friend’s coiffeur. It took the mother four hours to get 60 Bunchems out of her eight year old’s hair in addition to eight pairs of hands and a whole jar of vegetable oil, heated coconut oil and forks. A set of Texas parents worked for hours with the help of a neighbor to clear their child’s hair of the toys, and that of her birthday slumber party guests.

This toy is recommended for children 4 years old and up. Should there be a board that reviews toys? Can you think of others with such potentially unfortunate repercussions? If you were on the committee selecting the best toys of the year, would this report give you pause about selecting this one?  Should the manufacturer go back to the drawing boards and should Target and TTPM review their decision to place this toy on the top 10 gifts for holiday giving or am I overreacting?

back to drawing board

Service of Taking Stock of an Unusual Gift Idea

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Gift card

Here’s a new idea: Spend $29.95 for a gift card [$4.95] worth $25 of stock in a choice of some 20 companies such as Tesla Motors, Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple or Facebook. You’ll find the cards in stores like Office Depot and Kmart [and before the holidays expect to see them in Safeway, Toys "R" Us and Lowe's]. You can also buy cards worth $50 and $100.

To activate the card, the recipient registers it on the Stockpile website. That’s the company that invented the concept. While there are no monthly or activation fees, wrote Robin Sidel in “Shopping List: Milk, Bread, Equities,” in The Wall Street Journal, it costs 99 cents per transaction to sell or buy.

Savings bond“The cards work like traditional gift cards but recipients receive stock instead of merchandise when they cash them in. If they want, customers can swap the shares they have received for other stock.” Sidel quoted a market strategist as likening the cards to savings bonds that children received as gifts in days of yore. [The buyer paid, say, $18 and in x years the recipient could redeem the bond for $25.]

Gift cards are popular with consumers. Last year, wrote Sidel, we bought $93.9 billion worth. “Only 13.8% of U.S. families own stock directly, down from nearly 18% before the financial crisis,” according to the Federal Reserve, Sidel reported.

Two old womenMany years ago a friend gave his elderly housebound mother and aunt, who lived together, small amounts of stock. It gave them something to look forward to: They followed the market daily, and had skin in the game–but not enough to jeopardize their or their nephew/son’s futures. It was a delight to see their enthusiasm on a subject about which they knew nothing before he’d introduced them to stocks.

It’s too early to tell whether the concept will change the investment landscape, wrote Sidel. Do you think it has a chance to do that? Would his kind of purchase appeal to you as a gift? Do you think it will make money for the recipient or just for Stockpile? I wonder what the tax ramifications will be, if any.

Gift card 2

Service of Thank You

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Thank you 1

Niece Alison, 12, at right

Niece Alison, 12, at right

I’ve written about this subject most often relating to those who don’t–for wedding gifts or business support–and those who do extremely well. In a recent radio interview I heard of brides who write one email blast thanking all gift-givers in an e-note.

I enjoy writing thank you notes and this year my work is cut out for me.

Here, first, I wanted to thank you. I am constantly shocked by people who tell me they read this blog and those who suggest ideas for posts and who comment. All give the most precious gift: Time. Between frantically busy lives with deadlines and obligations and communications at warp speed and transportation universally more complicated and time-consuming, I am viscerally aware that every second counts. Can you believe that the blog was five years old in November?

Next I am grateful to my nieces who live far away yet stay in touch. It’s unusual for almost teens/20-somethings to communicate with grownups.

Christmas cards decorate the house. I love the colors and messages inside.

We were spoiled by amazing, imaginative, thoughtful, often handmade and practical gifts–too, too many. My nephew noticed that I freaked when the fresh turkey I bought for Thanksgiving didn’t come with a pop up device to indicate the bird was cooked. One gift he gave me: a package of the pop up timers!

I started to share a list that included homemade jams, sauce, candied fruits, chocolate, whiskey cakes and biscotti to a designed, cross-stitched and framed saying enhanced by cross-stitched hearts and ribbons: “Parcels and packages, silk ribbons tied, eyes filled with wonder to see what’s inside.” But the list felt too much like that wedding gift email blast I criticized in the lead as well as a boast. We are blessed and spoiled.

What are you most thankful for? Have you received or heard of creative thank you missives?

 

Thank you 3

 

 

 

 

Service of Wedding Gift Etiquette: Experts from Bridal Guide, Huffington Post & liliandloo Chime In

Monday, August 5th, 2013

wedding gifts wrapped

We’re invited—and looking forward to attending–a September wedding. I checked in with a friend who goes to many such events only to confirm that some issues never change. Take RSVPs. Do Wedding invitationpeople not reply because of fear of commitment of their time in hopes that something better will crop up? As long as I can remember, in both personal and business situations, too many remain silent leaving it up to the hosts to follow up.

What about gifts? Like holiday tips, opinions differ. So after sharing hers—send a gift if you’re invited–my pal forwarded two points of view she read on line.

An invitation is not an invoice wrote Robert B. Dimmick of etiquetteer.com, who technically was covering Bar and Bat Mitzvahs but who noted the same goes for weddings.

Katherine Bindley disagreed in her Huffington Post piece. She’d interviewed Emily Post’s great great granddaughter, Anna Post, and Sharon Naylor, author of 35 books about weddings. In “Wedding Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Guest,” Bindley wrote: “Etiquette dictates that if you were invited, you owe the couple a gift, even if you can’t make it to the wedding.” She quotes Post: “‘one invitation to a wedding ceremony equals a wedding gift.’”

Diane Forden, Bridal Guide editor in chief

Diane Forden, Bridal Guide editor in chief

I then turned to Diane Forden, editor in chief of Bridal Guide magazine who wrote in an email: “Technically you are not obligated to give a wedding gift. However, most people today do send a gift even if they’re not attending the wedding.

“Personally, I think it depends upon your relationship to the bride or groom,” the Bridal Guide chief editor continued. “For example, a former assistant sent me an invitation to her wedding and even though I couldn’t attend, I did give her a gift. But if someone I hadn’t seen in years sent me a wedding invitation then I would send a card with a personal greeting but no gift.”

[I still remember a person who came to my wedding and sent neither a gift nor a card so if you want to be memorable, that’s a route to consider.]

The bridal registry for the September celebration included a great looking dinner service so I had no trouble selecting a gift I’d be pleased about but I’ve run into snags in the past where the registry store is a place I won’t support.

Bindley warned that you must shop from the registry. “If you don’t, ‘It comes off as I knew what you wanted but I didn’t care,’ Naylor explained. ‘Or it comes off as I had this laying around and I’m re-gifting, even if you actually purchased a new gift specifically for this couple.’”

Forden wrote: “As far as sending only a gift from the registry, I disagree. Yes, we all know that the items the couple would like to receive have been registered for and if you’re going to the bridal shower you would most likely get a gift from the registry. But you’re not obligated to do so for the wedding gift.

Gift of money“Many people give money while others choose a more unique, creative gift. A friend’s mother once told me that her favorite wedding gift was to give the couple a private dinner in their home prepared by a chef from one of their favorite restaurants. After the wedding and honeymoon and now settled back into their every day routine, what could be nicer than a romantic dinner prepared exclusively for them in their own home? Needless to say, the couples were all thrilled with this special gift.”

liliandloo logoWe asked Melinda Slover, founder and inspiration for one of the east coast’s best gift emporiums, liliandloo in Hudson, N.Y. Along with countless creative, smile-inducing well-priced gifts for all occasions the store also sells furniture and fashion. According to Slover some customers groan to her about a bride’s bland registry choices and tell her that they want to send something stunning. Ducking the registry isn’t isn’t always a good idea Slover tells them and reminds them that the registry represents what the bride would like.

“Before I became a bride,” said LG, [not the bride at the wedding we’re going to] “I thought it didn’t matter but now that I’m getting married, I prefer when friends and family buy gifts from my registry or better yet, give a check. With so many bills to pay associated with the wedding and honeymoon, it’s the one gift that all brides want to receive! If they don’t choose a registry item though, I’ll end up with several of something I already own or worse, something I simply do not want and know I will not use.  Registry or money will also help me not to have to fill in with my own money to complete a set of glasses, dinnerware or cutlery.”

Do you think you’re obligated to send a gift if you’re invited to any formal event, whether or not you can attend? Has what Diane Forden, Melinda Slover, Katherine Bindley or the bride LG expressed changed your mind about using a bride’s gift registry?

Bridal Guide

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