Nontraditional opportunities for independent retailers to shine
By Jessica Harlan
Not everyone getting married is a cookie-cutter couple in their 20s, and retailers who make sure to address and include couples of all kinds have an opportunity to grow their registry business. It’s important not to overlook couples who are getting married in their 40s, 50s or older; second marriages, and same-sex couples. While these less-traditional pairs might be putting slightly different items on their wish lists, chances are they want the same thing from the retailers where they choose to register: great customer service, plenty of options at a range of prices, an easy-to-use system for their guests, and generous return and completion policies.
For couples who’ve already lived on their own before tying the knot, their registry might be all about “upgrading what they have, as opposed to getting something for the first time,” says Sherri Crisenbery, vice president of Lenox Corporation. She points out that a couple might have been living with inexpensive dinnerware or maybe even hand-me-downs, and a wedding presents the chance to trade up to something they really love, and a higher end choice.
Kirsten Ott Palladino, editorial director and cofounder of the online magazine Equally Wed, which caters to the LGBTQ+ community, agrees. She’s seeing weddings and registry gifts that are truly personal and reflective of the couple.
But whatever life stage they are in, retailers can help couples make their choices based on their lifestyle and entertaining habits. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the registry checklist, but we encourage couples to think about how they truly live,” says Laura Mackin, director of marketing for Mariposa, Ltd.
Beyond the place setting
At La Bella Vita, a specialty retailer in Cleveland, Ohio, owner Barbara Strom says she sees a slight difference in what couples in their late 30s and older are choosing for their registries. “They are more established with their homes and are just looking for accents to transition the two household styles,” she says. “If they are in their 40s or 50s, they are into less serveware and more décor.”
On her list of essential registry items are better dinnerware that can be used every day but also dressed up, good-quality flatware and serving pieces, formal glassware, platters, and serving bowls. Easy maintenance, such as Mariposa Aluminum or Michael Aram metal, instead of sterling, is also a popular choice.
“And don’t forget frames!” says Mackin. “Many couples spend a good amount of time and money selecting a wedding photographer that matches their style. When the wedding is over, show off the photos in beautiful frames.”
Finally, the most important thing for retailers to remember is to provide a welcoming, all-inclusive experience for all couples who walk through your doors.
For more information: Equally Wed, equallywed.com; La Bella Vita, labellavitacleveland.com, 212.292.3000; Lenox Corporation, lenox.com, 800.223.4311; Mariposa, Ltd., mariposa-gift.com, 800.788.1304; or Michael Aram, michaelaram.com, 866.792.2726.