Itís Wedding Season!
It’s wedding season for some. You will either be attending a wedding or you may be in a wedding. For those who are attending a wedding, a gift will be on your To Do list. Many will choose from the mainstream: Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, and Macy’s. However, there are other ideas for sourcing a wedding gift, from antique boutiques or re-gifting a treasure from your home. So if you are purchasing a gift or putting together your bridal registry, think outside the box.
At our shop, "Mitchell Sotka," we not only offer Personalized Bridal Registries, but we can also assist those guests who refuse to purchase from a big box store. In my twenty-two years of being in the antique business, I have always provided guidance to those looking for bridal gifts—both to guests or to the newlywed couple-to-be. The following will provide some ideas for gifts and explain how I gather facts to build a selection.
When you get invited to a wedding, the shops that carry the couple’s registry can be placed in the invite envelope. However, a more traditional method is to ask the bride or groom’s mother. Now that you have located where your couple is registered, head over to your computer. A few clicks of the button will take you to the couple’s registry. All big box shops have easy to access bridal registries and a complete list of gift ideas will appear in front of you. Look at the available and the sold items.
I call them ideas because they provide clues to the couple’s style and needs. Clean lines, tailored, colorful entertaining and cooking pieces all help in identifying what should be a successful gift. If you notice a large selection of table-top items such as china, fine crystal and accessories for the dinner table, an antique sterling silver wine coaster may accent well with their other gifts. However, if they are not wine drinkers, starting the couple off with a collection of silver napkin rings may be better.
Not every newlywed couple lives with a traditional/formal fashion. For those less formal couples, a set of vintage rocks or highball glasses may suit them better. Remember, today’s couples may say that less is more. To make the cut as a successful gift purchased off the registry, remember that the gift should be practical. Sterling demitasse spoons are practical to those who love espresso or cappuccino, but for those who only drink coffee on the go, they are a waste.
So, ideas may come to mind while browsing a registry. More will come to mind when you head to an antique shop. Bring your list in hand and be open to additional pieces. A good salesperson will keep you focused. One way to stay focused is placing the items under consideration on a clean, clutter free surface. This helps you to compare the pieces. Remove the pieces that do not make the cut. Be objective, think of the couple, and remember your favorite gift and your fewer favorites. Will the gift stand the test of time? A successful gift for any occasion should be made this way, but a wedding gift is monumental and should hit all these spots, including a key spot— that the gift reflects you, the giver, as well as the taste of the couple.
When my partner and I got married, we were presented with gifts. There was no registry to work from as we opted to celebrate with family and friends and gifts were not expected. Even though our request was no gifts, we were presented with a fabulous pair of George Jensen sterling silver cheese knives. We use them a lot and remember the day we were presented with the knives and the three friends who gave us this exquisite gift. Cocktail hour is at times a weekly event at our house, and cheese and crackers are a must. So we break out the knives for just the two of us or when we have company. This gift is successful because it’s practical, easy to store, and it is not only a reflection of us, lovers of silver, but also a reflection of our friends as they too love silver.
So just like the Jensen Silver cheese knives, the gifts that are purchased from our store come with history and we try to provide that history to the next owner. They continue to create and to be a part of history and one day you may want to re-gift them to someone special.
Re-gifting can be tacky or thoughtful. First, the re-gift, or more specifically, an item that you personally own, can be given away. It may fall under tacky if you are giving it away because you never used it, maybe it's in your way, or it doesn’t pertain to the couple. However, this gift under different selection can be a true treasure. This would be defined by the following: it is a family heirloom and and there is a tradition to pass it along as a wedding gift, or it is a prized object that one or both persons soon to be married commented on favorably. You may also collect something and the bride and/or groom may have a connection to that collection.
Purchasing or passing along antiques or vintage pieces is not for everyone, but knowing your newlywed couple to even the slightest degree will help ease this process. So, for the next wedding gift, take action and seize the opportunity to find that special gift that is not on the bridal registry.
Mitchell Sotka is the owner of The Eponymous Antique Shop.
Mitchell Sotka is the owner of The Eponymous Antique Shop Owner