Monday, June 26th, 2017

Registry experts will guide you in selecting special wedding gifts

By BETH SCHREIBMAN GEHRING

As President of Schreibman Jewelers East, bridal registry is a subject to which I have devoted my life quite passionately. I want to warn you ahead of time that I’m quite opinionated about it. I still get a thrill, when as a consultant, I can help a young woman create a look that is distinctly her own and not one that can be purchased out of a catalog by just anyone.

I remember when my mother began our bridal registry so many years ago. She was influenced by how she had been brought up; hers was an age of beauty, personalization and exclusivity. I remember her saying to my father that her goal was to create a beautiful, easy and personalized bridal registry experience for each young couple that walked through the doors. So, with the help of my father, they slowly built a bridal registry that by the time we closed our doors in 2003 had demonstrated that philosophy with incredible success.

Our goal was to make sure that no two registries were the same. More than 3,500 brides and their fiancés walked through our doors and we spent hours helping them choose their patterns. We registered them for lots of other gifts too, beautiful and functional pieces that we knew they would need then, but also in 20 or 30 years. We displayed patterns from companies that were exclusive yet affordable and we stocked a wide range of giftware that was chosen not only for its longevity but would accommodate every taste and pocketbook. We did not sell complete sets but instead helped our young brides put together mixed and matched sets for their tables that allowed their creativity to shine through. It was so much fun, definitely not the chore that registering seems to be these days. We wrapped their gifts in gorgeous wrapping paper and often personally hand-delivered them.

Mother and I distanced ourselves from the stampede of marketing that was encouraging our customers to buy only full sets of things. We knew that the emphasis on selling china that way was a by-product of an industry that had learned it was less expensive to sell and deliver all of these products in boxed sets. Now, for the most part, because of an economy that has driven a lot of good specialty stores to have to compete with Internet pricing, the full set has become the industry standard.

Why? It’s more efficient and less costly to sell dishes this way. It’s a philosophy that kills creativity and that thought leads me directly to the point that I wish to make!

So often, customers would come in, look at the registries and say to me, “Beth, I don’t want to be a part of a set. This young woman is so special to me and I want to give her a beautiful gift, something that every time she sees it, will remind her that I gave it to her.”

I believe that a personally chosen gift is more satisfying to the gift giver and in many cases more delightful to receive. There are some wonderful gift stores in Cleveland like Peter Danford, Mulholland and Sachs, Alson Jewelers and La Bella Vita to name just a few that still provide the experience of quality and service that let the bride and her guests know that their happiness is the most important thing while providing the service that demonstrates it.

I’ve compiled several things to keep in mind if you want to purchase a personal gift for someone that is not necessarily on their bridal registry.

If the store’s gift registry is a good one, they will really have captured the very essence of the couple on their registry. Ask to be shown who they are, not simply what they want. At Schreibmans we spent hours “interviewing “each couple to discover their personal likes and dislikes and that’s the knowledge that we brought to each sale.

Even though you want to purchase something unique, let the sales associate show you the pieces that the young couple truly loves. Often you’ll find something right there that resonates with your desire to purchase a truly special gift!

Don’t worry about not being a part of a matched set. Yes, that’s what the bride may think that she wants, but in the end she’s not going to remember who gave her which bread and butter plates. If you want to buy the bread and butter plates that’s great, but it’s not necessary.

In the very beginning of my career as a registry expert, the dishes, stainless and crystal were considered to be shower presents. A bride’s sterling and fine china was usually a gift from the parents or grandparents. The wedding gift was always to be a unique and beautiful demonstration of love. Let that impulse guide your choice and you’ll never go wrong!

Finally, in the end if there is nothing that you like on the list, have fun and buy what you want! It’s up to the young couple to be gracious, write their thank-you notes in a timely fashion and be honored that you took an hour or two to choose something unique just for them!

(Photographs by Beth Schreibman Gehring)

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