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Published: Friday, 6/1/2007

New Registry Concept: Think Outside the Place Setting Box

(ARA) - Remember Grandma's cherished wedding china that only came out of the cabinet for holidays or other special occasions? Or the silverware that made an appearance only when it needed to be polished?

Maybe because so many of us have similar memories of underutilized heirloom pieces, modern brides are now opting for beautiful and practical when creating their bridal registries. "Crystal and fine china will always be registry staples, but when I was gathering ideas for my registry, I saw a real trend towards items that combine elegance and utility," says Kristen Beenen, a newlywed from Minneapolis.

More casual items, from flatware to stemware, are gaining popularity on bridal registries. Also in favor are items that offer heirloom-quality beauty and everyday durability. "I think brides like me are now looking for pieces that they will be able to regularly use and enjoy before passing them on as heirlooms to our children," says Beenen.

Now, brightly colored dishes of durable materials from wood to ceramic are appearing on registries beside traditional fine china or porcelain. Silver serving platters are being supplemented by practical aluminum serving pieces. And crystal vases are being joined by everyday counterparts in high-polish, high-endurance metals.

"Today's bride is less likely to be guided by a consultant or her mother when putting together her registry," says Matt Hullfish of Arthur Court Designs. "With the push towards casual, many are skipping the fine china altogether and registering for two casual patterns of dinner ware instead. They are also looking for serving pieces that they can use on a daily basis."

Many brides are choosing more practical versions of classic registry gifts, such as serving platters, vases and dinnerware. Instead of high-maintenance silver platters, brides can select decorative aluminum platters, available in a number of designs that complement virtually any tableware. Or, for something really unusual yet strong enough for every day use, they can opt for trays, platters or cheese servers made of bamboo and trimmed with bright, decorative aluminum touches.

Alternatives to items traditionally made of crystal are also popular registry items. Vases, pitchers, picture frames and stemware are showing up in a myriad of other easier-to-care-for materials, such as aluminum. Designs range from very contemporary to traditional and classic, like Arthur Court's Grape Pitcher, an interpretation of classic grape vine motif rendered in high-polish, long-lived aluminum.

"I wanted my bridal registries to really reflect how we would live day-to-day, rather than an ideal of life for special occasions," Beenen explains. "Modern brides are choosing gift items that we can use to enhance our lives every day, rather than just once or twice a year." Courtesy of ARA Content



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