Registering an Impact

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.

Personality matters

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

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.

Assorted frames by Mariposa.

“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,; La Bella Vita,, 212.292.3000; Lenox Corporation,, 800.223.4311; Mariposa, Ltd.,, 800.788.1304; or Michael Aram,, 866.792.2726.

Welcome to VOW 2015

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VOW New World of Bridal opens its doors today to buyers from across the country. With unmatched showrooms, runways and essential trends this is the bridal market not to miss. Here are just a few of the top brands you’ll find at Market this week.


  • Watters and WTOO
    Watters is a treasured name in the bridal wear industry thanks to hand-stitched details, luxurious fabrics, and innovative designs. They’ve been designing wedding dresses for 30 years, and continue to evolve with changing bridal trends and style influences. WTOO offers affordable bridal gown and bridesmaids options. (12-E318)
  • Enzoani
    Merging traditional and modern European styles into exquisitely handcrafted gowns, Enzoani is a young, vibrant company that focuses on cutting edge design demonstrating a full understanding of high fashion with rich detail. (12-N100B)
  • Justin Alexander
    Inspired by the 1950s and 60s, Justin Alexander offers the finest vintage and couture wedding dresses updated with modern twists to make them perfect for contemporary brides. (12-W367)
  • Badgley Mischka Bridal
    Design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka have made their name over the past two decades with elegant, stylish, and wearable evening gowns and accessories. Now they’re dazzling the world of bridal with their signature style. (12-N100B)

Watters2EnzoaniJustin Alexanderbadgley mischka

Saborama  ·  Tarik Ediz  ·  Terani  ·  Eleni Elias
SaboramaTarik EdizTeraniEleni Elias

Nicole Bakti  ·  Kourosh  ·  Allure  ·  La Femme

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Find all these lines and so much more September 16-18, 2015 at Atlanta Apparel.

Saying “I Do” In Style

Today, the Atlanta Apparel WORLD OF PROM Market comes to a close, which means that all eyes are on VOW | New World Of Bridal in September. This market will be focused on what’s new and next for all things bridal in 2016.

We’ve researched the trends to give you the latest information on what you can expect to see at Market and in stores for spring and summer of  2016. The trends include classic styles, with modern twists and unique details to make any bride stand out…


A Mix of Colors: It’s not just all white anymore… brides are straying away from the traditional white wedding gown, and going for something with a little more color. If you are in the market for a wedding dress today, you may find it hard to find an all white dress. We are seeing a lot of cream and off-white, as well as very light blue and even hints of black for a little bit of edge!


Expect Embellishments: Embellishments can make a bland dress beautiful in just seconds, and we have seen them all over the runway for 2016 bridal. Expect to see pearls and metallic stones gracing the bodes of many dresses.


Ruffles and Feathers: We’re seeing these features show up on the bottom half of many dresses, creating a more full look on something a little simple.


The Detachable Train: Many designers are bringing this trend back in a more fashionable and updated way, adding attachments to the sides and back of a more slim gown. Brides can easily remove the attachments for light-weight reception attire.


Fancy Florals: Ranging floral patterns are covering the designs of wedding dresses for 2016. Whether it’s a colorful mix, or a detailed embellishment, you are sure to see this trend walking down the aisle.


Showing a Little Skin: No back? No problem. Brides are loving the chance to show off a little skin with a complete backless dress, while still keeping a classic silhouette in the front.


Off the Shoulder: A huge trend in the fashion industry right now is the off-the-shoulder look on tops and dresses. This style shows off the color bone and also allows brides to show off some skin without going overboard. It’s trendy and classic, all at the same time.


Plunging Neckline: The popular, revealing style extends down to the lower waist. This style can be paired with anything from long-sleeves to a strapless, sweet-heart shape. Mesh fabric can also be paired with this style, creating a illusion of more bare skin being shown.

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We look forward to seeing you at VOW | New World Of Bridal, taking place on Wednesday, September 16 – Friday, September 18, 2015.

Looking Back: Bridal Trends at the 2013 VOW | New World of Bridal Market

As we prepare for the upcoming VOW | New World of Bridal Market (September 16-18, 2014) take a look back at these bridal trends from our 2013 Market.

Many designers took inspiration from the 1920s with lace details, a sweetheart or plunging neckline and long trains.

 floral wedding dress          lace wedding dress

Floral embellishments, a huge trend in ready-to-wear apparel also made an appearance in the bridal collections. On the gown they give ample opportunity to incorporate color schemes. A popular color choice has been coral for bridesmaid dresses and florals.

Flowers with wedding dress          bridesmaid dress with florals

The dress shape that seemed to outshine the rest was the trumpet. The fun skirt flair adds an exciting surprise to the bottom of the gown that draws attention to the eye. It was seen on lace, satin, and beaded gowns.

AWH_PHOTO-9290         AWH_PHOTO-9294 AWH_PHOTO-9320

What trends do you think you’ll see on the runway this September?


Professional Collective photo 3VOW | The New World of Bridal is almost here! For the third year, AmericasMart’s comprehensive bridal market brings the top lines in the industry together in one spectacular event, September 16-18, 2014.

While you’re here, don’t miss The Collective on Floor 12. Hugging the atrium curve, The Collective is a select group of temporary exhibitors featuring fashion accessories, veils, shoes handbags, social occasion apparel, retail resources and services.

Here are some of the lines you’ll find in The Collective:

Alex Evenings
Bella Cole Creations
Bridal Live Software
Carrafina Camo
Carrafina Maids
Carrafina Private Collection Bridal
Cary Lowe and Associates 
Chetta B
Emma Street
House of Lovely
Kay Unger
Rosebud Fashions
Wedding Gown Preservation Co.

Cheers to VOW
Join us for a glass of crisp wine on Tuesday, September 16 at 3 p.m. in The Collective.

Market Tips From Tony Bowls

Tony Bowls speaker at AmericasMartThe VISION social occasion Market kicks off tomorrow. In preparation for this spectacular fashion event, widely successful prom dress designer Tony Bowls has shared his tips for a successful Market experience.

MAKE A PLAN. Decide what you want to accomplish at the Market and share it with your team.This will help you manage their expectations and get more done.

MAKE APPOINTMENTS. Set up a time to meet with your rep in the showroom. If they know you are coming, they will be better prepared to give you their undivided attention and show you looks that are curated for your store.

TAKE THE TIME TO SEE THE WHOLE LINE. Coming to Market allows you to see more of the collection than you can see with traveling reps or online. Seeing a gown on a model or a mannequin can change its whole look.

Tony Bowls Fashion Show at Mon Cheri Showroom At AmericasMartATTEND THE FASHION SHOWS. There is nothing like seeing how a gown moves in person. In addition to the VISION fashion show on Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m., attend in-showroom shows and presentations.

EDUCATE YOURSELF. Use the Market’s educational opportunities to learn tips for growing your business. Atlanta Apparel presents a great speakers’ series – including industry experts like me – that is completely free of charge. I give the VISION Market’s keynote presentation “Retail Success from a Designer’s Perspective” on Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00 a.m. The whole list of Market events and speakers is available at

SHOP OTHER CATEGORIES. It may be tempting to spend your whole market on the social occasion floors, but make time to explore the rest of Atlanta Apparel’s expansive collection. The April Atlanta Apparel Market’s overlap with the VISION market on April 3 allows you to see its complete showroom and temporary collection of apparel, accessories, jewelry, shoes, swimwear, activewear and intimates. Exploring the collection will keep you up to date on ready-to-wear trends and you may find pieces to supplement your social occasion offerings.

USE AMERICASMART AS A RESOURCE. Want to book a hotel for the next market? Looking for a place to have lunch or dinner? Need to find a particular line? The AmericasMart staff is always willing to help. Look for help desks next to the elevators or visit for all of the information that you need.

The new AmericasMart app, available on in the Apple App Store and on Google Play, is also a great resource. Use it to discover new and existing exhibitors, categories and lines and make note of Market events and promotions. On the app you can browse exhibitors by floor map or in a list, record favorite finds, and plan, organize and manage Market details to optimize your visit.

HAVE FUN. Take advantage of networking and social events to get to know your fellow social occasion retailers and celebrate our special industry.


Social Occasion Trends for 2014


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The VISION social occasion market (April 1-3) will be here before we know it. In preparation for the Market, we have compiled the top social occasion trends that we’re expecting to see on the runways. WAIST DEFINING The feminine form … Continue reading