Where to Register?

Local Wedding Registry Options Popular in Lawrence

| 2016 Q2 | story by EMILY MULLIGAN | photos by Steven Hertzog
 Wedding Registries

Jo Heahl shows a couple options in the houseware department at Weaver’s

When couples get married, not only do they officially join forces with the person they love, but they also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask for every gift they could ever want through a wedding gift registry. Big-box stores and their websites are typically where couples choose to register, but two Lawrence stores have overcome the national competition and successfully provided gift registry for decades.

“Regardless, any individually owned store competes with the big-box stores. People love the Weaver’s experience, and people who come in say that we have the best selection in our home store, even in the Kansas City area,” says Jo Haehl, home shop department head and buyer for Weaver’s.

Weaver’s has offered wedding gift registry for as long as anyone at the store can remember. Winfield House, a home furnishing store, has offered wedding gift registry since it opened 21 years ago.

Both stores say their personal touches and customer service are why couples choose to register at the local stores. Winfield House and Weaver’s also work hard to ensure that out-of-towners will have easy access to the registry from afar, either online or over the phone.

Winfield House interior designers Samantha Campbell and Tiara Gerhardt guide couples through the store to choose items for their registry. “If they don’t even know what they want, we can help them,” Campbell says.

Once the couple chooses all the items they would like, Winfield House puts together a display of their items in the store with the couple’s picture. Campbell or Gerhardt also puts pictures of each item on the Winfield House website and on Facebook with the bride and groom tagged so friends and family who are out of town can see and choose from the gifts. Guests then call Winfield House and purchase the items ahead of time, so gifts will be ready to pick up when they arrive in town. Bonus: Winfield House gift-wraps every registry purchase over $25.

Haehl and her staff work closely with couples in the Weaver’s home store to make sure they are informed about all of the items Weaver’s offers. She says some couples prefer to shop themselves and make note of what they want, while others appreciate the advice about which things to choose.

“Some people come in knowing exactly what they want, and others have no clue. We’ve got all kinds of goodies. I think they really do like the advice and knowledge we have about the products here,” Haehl explains.

Once the couple has chosen the items for their registry, Haehl compiles a list that can be printed and used in the store, and she also enters their registry in the Weaver’s website so out-of-towners can access and purchase items online. Gift-wrapping is free, and customers can pick up their gifts or have them delivered.

So, what do brides and grooms want most? Both stores say couples want items they can use everyday. Fine china and fancy bed linens are things of the past for contemporary couples. At Winfield House, Campbell says most couples register for everyday dishes, silverware, table linens and bedding. At Weaver’s, Haehl says most couples register for cookware, Fiestaware dishes, knives, cutlery, towels and bed linens.

In addition, because both stores have multiple specialties, couples often capitalize on other merchandise that might not typically be on a wedding gift registry. For example, Haehl says that recently, a bride who was having a personal shower did part of her registry in Weaver’s lingerie department. Also, she explains, many couples look around and see the luggage at Weaver’s and decide to register for that. Gift buyers also like to buy Weaver’s gift cards for the couple because they know how varied the selection is and that the couple is sure to find something they will use.

Gerhardt says couples are often drawn to the everyday décor at Winfield House, so they register for artwork or home accessories to decorate their homes.

“Some people don’t cook, but they think they are supposed to register for cooking supplies. Sometimes they register for things they think they will need versus things they can actually use now. Such as, instead they can choose a blanket that looks pretty on the guest room bed,” she says.

Winfield House has also had couples register for area rugs, a dining table and even a sectional sofa, which gift buyers contributed toward with a gift card.

“When you’re registered here, you could potentially get something substantial. It’s not a traditional wedding gift, but it’s something you need and will cherish,” Gerhardt says.

Haehl says more and more brides are in their late 20s and early 30s, so they already have kitchen and home items.

“I find they’re registering for better-quality things and wanting to get rid of older, less-quality stuff,” she says. “A lot of them have a mishmash of pieces, and they want a nice set that matches.”

People also seem to be choosing more health-oriented registry items, Haehl says, including juicers, spiralizers and VitaMix blenders.

She says most couples enjoy the gift registry part of the wedding-planning process.

“Usually, they have a fun time doing their registry. Occasionally, they are panicked and in a hurry, but we try to make it simple regardless,” Haehl says.

 Wedding Registries

Tiara Gerhardt & Samantha Campbell of Winfield House

Carmen Hocking, wedding planner and owner of A Beautiful Wedding, says most of her couples choose to do at least part of their registry at a big-box store. Regardless, she says she always recommends the couple ask guests to send their gifts to the couple ahead of the wedding. Otherwise, when guests bring the gifts to the wedding, other guests and the families end up having to load up and haul the gifts away after the long day.

She says is it OK for the couple to start writing thank-you notes before the wedding, but they should wait until after the wedding to mail them.

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