Local Bridal Guide

Build Your Wedding Registry at One of These 8 Philly-Area Boutiques


Scarlett Alley. Photography by Courtney Apple.

Scarlett Alley. Photography by Courtney Apple.

Wedding registries call to mind a familiar scene: an engaged couple, barcode scanners in hand, strolling the aisles of a department store in search of everything they’ll need to furnish their future together. And while that’s one efficient, if not traditional, way of racking up your wish list, it’s certainly not the only option.

The Philadelphia area is brimming with cool, eclectic independent boutiques that offer official registries of their own, complete with personalized attention and a bevy of beautiful items that will turn your house into a home.

Read on to find out where to build your wedding registry, then head to our wedding vendor directory to explore even more awesome local wedding vendors to help you plan your Big Day.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink, Hockessin

The Shop: Tucked away in a delightful little shopping center in Delaware, this expansive shop is a gift giver’s paradise replete with items for every area of your home. You’ll want to carve out a good chunk of time to weave your way around—every room and alcove in this 15,000-square-foot shop is filled with different bits and pieces to add to your registry.
The Goods: As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted by floor-to-ceiling china displays and the crystal room, which showcases vases, champagne glasses and more by Waterford, Simon Pearce and Riedel. The store’s kitchen area is just as swoon-worthy: Here, you’ll have your choice of cookware and accessories galore by the likes of Le Creuset and Cuisinart. Furnishings for your bed and bath are ripe for the picking, too.
The Service: The helpful team here is extremely flexible and will take the time to walk the floor with you whether you make an appointment or not (though you can register online, too!). Bridal registry consultant Bonnie Marsh will be your point person throughout the process, and if there’s an item on your list that isn’t in stock, she’ll be happy to order it from the vendor’s catalog for you.

Home Grown, Haverford

The Shop: This modern boutique is the kind of place where you can spend hours just roaming around, ogling all the pretty things. In 1996, owner Elizabeth Bloom set out to create a shop that offered sophisticated tableware and home accessories of all styles and price points, and this Main Line shop is just that. Soothing charcoal gray walls and bright pendant lighting make you feel right at home as you build your registry.
The Goods: Bloom aims to shatter the notion that certain items are required on a registry, and instead uses your personal taste to guide you to pieces that are easily used, easily stored and timeless: “No need for what we call ‘dust collectors,’” she says. Stunning table settings, serving pieces and eye-catchers such as striking agate coasters and trivets are all available here. Bloom’s favorite registry item: an oversize wooden cheese board for displaying hors d’oeuvres.
The Service: “No one store can fulfill any bride’s entire needs,” Bloom says, “and we want the items you register for at Home Grown to coordinate with those you’ve selected from other stores.” After assessing where you are in the registry process, Bloom will determine which direction to head in, usually turning her focus to the necessities for everyday entertaining. Guests can then shop your registry in-store or online and have their gifts shipped with complimentary wrapping.

Kellijane, Rittenhouse

The Shop: Located in a gorgeous Victorian brownstone off Rittenhouse Square, this luxury linen boutique is a must-see for anyone in search of beautiful textiles for the home. Co-owners Kelly Monk and Pamela Diaconis have created a sleek, welcoming space in which soon-to-be newlyweds can dream up the bed, bath and table linens that will add color and comfort to their new lives together.
The Goods: All of your classic linens, from duvet covers to hand towels and everything in between, are at your fingertips here, plus a few indulgences that Diaconis says are always worth registering for: “Wedding gifts are an opportunity to get items that are of heirloom quality,” she says. “These include sheets by Italian companies that have been making them on the same looms for over a century, and cotton blankets woven by hand in Maine.”
The Service: Every couple who sets up a wish list at Kellijane gets a Pinterest board designed especially for them. All of the lovely sheets, pillows and accessories you select for your registry will be added to your board and updated with notations of whether each item has been purchased. If guests want to split a gift with another invitee, they can mark that on your board as well.

The Little House Shop, Wayne

The Shop: The Little House Shop has come a long way since it first opened in 1934. Nestled in Wayne’s upscale Eagle Village Shops, this one-of-a-kind boutique is a go-to for couples who want to add whimsy, color and creativity to their home. From vibrant pillows and towering candle displays to tables strewn with breathtaking place settings, there’s something new to look at around every corner.
The Goods: The assorted selection of everyday and fine china is definitely worth a gander, but you’ll also want to leave room on your list for the unique upholstered furniture, funky side tables and cool lamps that will really make a statement in your home. Outfit your master suite with monogrammed towels and sheets from Matouk, and stock up on personalized stationery—one of the Little House Shop’s specialties—to use for thank-you notes after the Big Day.
The Service: No appointments are necessary to register here, says the shop’s events coordinator, Samantha Ehlinger, who will work with each couple to create a custom wish list and then upload it to the store’s website. The online registry is just as easy to navigate on your own, should you decide to complete the process from the comfort of your couch.

 

Manor Home and Gifts, Rittenhouse

The Shop: An extended trip to Italy inspired Barry Terris and Warren Leighton to open Manor Home and Gifts back in 2003. At the time, Italian ceramics occupied half the shop, while the rest was filled with other treasures they imported from abroad. Over the years, the boutique has transitioned its focus to dinnerware, gifts and, of course, bridal registries; Terris says that working with couples has become a very large part of the business.
The Goods: While Terris will direct most of your attention to your dinnerware selections—fine china from luxury brands such as Hermès, Versace and Bernardaud are on hand here—he’s an advocate for a few unconventional pieces as well. “We really stress that couples keep in mind interesting pitchers, barware, candlesticks and trays that can be used all over the house and then pulled together for entertaining.”
The Service: With more than 65,000 products available on the Manor website, many couples who register with this Rittenhouse boutique choose to do it all online. But if you come into the store, Terris and Leighton can work with you one-on-one to guide you toward the most beneficial items for your registry. They also have a scanner system that allows you to look around the store independently and zap what you like.

The Polished Plate, Haddonfield

The Shop: With her degree in interior design and plenty of retail experience in the home-goods industry, it wasn’t much of a surprise that when Barbara Frenzel finally opened her own business, she decided on a tabletop store. The Polished Plate rests on a quaint corner in downtown Haddonfield, and though it may be tiny, the boutique is packed to the gills with all the pieces of a perfect table.
The Goods: Frenzel only fills her shelves with items she personally loves, so you’ll come across a mix of popular brands like Michael Aram and Vietri with a few more exclusive lines, like Jars Ceramics (“They have the most unique and beautiful glazes,” she says), that aren’t as widely distributed. As the name suggests, the star of The Polished Plate is dinnerware—the most important selection you’ll make, says Frenzel, because “everything else follows that decision.”
The Service: If you come into the shop to register in person, Frenzel will walk you through your registry and offer her recommendations for items that are frequently needed but not always considered. But because couples from all over the country register with the shop, it’s simple to complete the whole process online, too.

Scarlett Alley, Old City

The Shop: There’s a reason Scarlett Alley has been a mainstay in Old City since its debut 22 years ago: The boutique’s ever-changing displays are teeming with artisan gifts and housewares you won’t find elsewhere. “We like to say we’ve done the shopping for you by curating our inventory down to the lines with the best value and design,” says owner Liz Scarlett, one half of the mother/daughter duo behind the charming shop.
The Goods: The pieces you’ll find here range from mix-and-match place settings to cozy bathrobes and, new this year, same-sex wedding items. Among the boutique’s most popular registry choices are monogrammed slate boards and glass invitation boxes—though many couples opt to use the Mariposa String of Pearls platter and accompanying etching pen as a guest-book alternative. For something really special, Scarlett suggests a statement mirror hand-made from reclaimed wood by her father, Richard.
The Service: Every appointment begins with a beer and champagne toast (or coffee, on a Sunday morning). Then on to the registry process, which, here, is all about figuring out your style: A look into your everyday routine and how you entertain allows Scarlett to hone in on the items that will suit you best. Couples can also create their registries by themselves online, Scarlett says, but she enjoys “giving them the ‘tour’ just to make sure they know their options.

Teresa Chang Ceramics, Northern Liberties

The Shop: What began as a casual pottery studio in her Brooklyn loft has turned into a full-fledged business in Philadelphia for Teresa Chang. At her NoLibs studio— which is open by appointment—clients get a peek inside Chang’s workspace, where every piece is made to order.
The Goods: Chang’s signature aesthetic is simple and contemporary, taking cues from her background in architecture and early Korean and Japanese pottery. Her hand-thrown porcelain dinnerware is divided into different lines, each with its own distinct style, appearance and texture. “Most households are serving up a diversity of cuisines that a standard place setting doesn’t accommodate,” she says. “Within my collection, you’re likely to find the right ware for your favorite foods.”
The Service: You can tell at first glance that Chang is passionate about her work, and she’s eager to share her many dinnerware tips (“A nine-inch plate is an incredibly useful size,” she advises) with couples who visit her studio. She’ll chat with you about your dining habits and color and style preferences, and she’ll even lend you a few samples so you can get a feel for how they’ll fit in your home (or she’ll pop them in the mail if you can’t make it to the studio). Once your registry is created, it all goes up on her website for your guests to shop from.

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Expert advice!

“Ask yourself some key questions before deciding on dinnerware and cookware: Do you want something to use every day, or only for entertaining? Are you looking for something you can both ‘dress up’ and ‘dress down’? Must it be dishwasher-, microwave-, freezer- or oven-safe? Once you’ve made those decisions, you can focus on selecting things you find aesthetically pleasing.” -Barbara Frenzel, The Polished Plate

“Register for items that you’ll still appreciate 20 or 30 years from now—think beyond the one-bedroom apartment. What will you use in the future for entertaining?” -Barry Terris, Manor Home and Gifts

“It may seem obvious, but select things you like! I have had so many people who got married years ago come into the store and tell me they just picked things to get the registry done and have never actually used any of them.” -Barbara Frenzel, The Polished Plate

“Carefully consider registering for big-ticket items that won’t go out of style in a couple years. While being mindful of your friends’ and families’ budgets, don’t be shy about your selections. This may be the only time in the near future that you can afford the cost of real quality.” -Teresa Chang, Teresa Chang Ceramics

“Couples usually say they’re limited on storage space, but this is the time to get the special items you’ll need for hosting. You’ll be having a family function soon enough, so register for 10 to 12 place settings, not six.” -Liz Scarlett, Scarlett Alley

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2015 issue of Philadelphia Wedding. All photography with the exception of provided photos from Everything But the Kitchen Sink, The Little House Shop and Teresa Chang Ceramics by Courtney Apple. 

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