Weddings 2012 Planning Guide: Gift Registries
If the household basics are already covered, registering at Birks ensures brides and grooms will get a slew of special-occasion pieces. The venerable retailer, best known for its luxe baubles, also carries a decadent home decor collection. Although couples and guests can view the registry’s status online, the store also keeps an itemized checklist as a fail-safe paper trail. Stemware is always popular, but couples should think beyond glasses, like crystal votives (from $50). 55 Bloor St. W. (at Bay), 416-922-2266; plus six other GTA locations.
With marriage comes household chores, so a gift registry at Lee Valley makes a lot of sense. Specializing in woodworking and gardening tools for the last 33 years, the company’s online catalogue features a wish list that soon-to-be marrieds can use to sign up for everything from block planes to bevel-edged chisels. But handyman toys aren’t the only items for sale. Organized by section, such as kitchenware or gardening tools, Lee Valley has unique gifts that cater to many tastes. Look for sleek kitchen knives made of Japanese 301 stainless steel, croquet sets and steel countertop compost pots for green-conscious newlyweds. Closed Sunday. 590 King St. W. (at Portland St.), 416-366-5959, plus two other GTA locations.
For fans of the simple, naturalistic styles of Scandinavian and Japanese designers, Mjölk is the place to register for high-end cookware, glassware and the sort of furniture that takes a kitchen from meek to mycket bra. Recently married owners Juli Daoust and John Baker provide in-store consultations to make sure you find the perfect pieces for your marital home. Packages come wrapped in custom-made boxes with baker’s twine and waxing paper. Special orders welcome. Closed Monday. 2959 Dundas St. W. (at Pacific Ave.), 416-551-9853.
MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP
Canada is home to over 224,000 square kilometres of national parks, more than a lifetime’s worth of natural beauty to canoe on, climb up, camp in or cycle across. Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Wish List program is an adventure lover’s alternative to the conventional china-and-crystal registry. The registry can only be created, edited and viewed online, and gifts like cozy down sleeping bags ($86–$585), matching headlamps ($16–$85) and tents for two ($149–$349) can be purchased either online or in person from one of the 15 locations across Canada. 400 King St. W. (at Charlotte St.), 416-340-2667.
This home furnishing and accessory retailer has luxurious, historically inspired displays that are influenced by different design trends and periods; it feels more like a well-curated museum than a shop. The Richards’ Trunk collection takes English steamer trunks and transforms them into breathtaking coffee tables, desks and bookcases ($1,695–$4,495). Purchasing items (such as the sumptuous faux fur throws for $79 or the 19th-century mercury glass table lamp for $225) from the gift registry can be done easily in person or online. 2434 Yonge St. (at Roselawn Ave.), 416-322-9422.
In addition to the paintings, sculptures and a brazen new facelift by Frank Gehry, the Art Gallery of Ontario houses a gift store for design-savvy couples seeking housewares with flair. This is where to find Il Caffè/Tè Alessi spoons and a Sagaform silicone bowl and trivet that looks like abstract art. Prices range from around $5 for a demitasse spoon from Sabre to $1,200 for a cerulean blue bowl by Canadian glass artist David Thai. Items can be selected in person or online. From sexy saucers to funky flatware, everything in the store is sure to appeal to newlyweds with unconventional tastes. For art lovers, there is an array of picture books on contemporary icons like Yves Gaucher. This is the registry for people who don’t like registries. Closed Monday. 317 Dundas St. W. (at McCaul St.), 416-979-6610.
No store relishes registries quite like William Ashley. The city’s most renowned source of fine china, crystal and flatware—more than 8,000 patterns—has created a system that’s equal parts science and ceremony. (Couples receive an immediate celebratory gift of champagne flutes and Teuscher chocolates.) If working in-store with a consultant isn’t your preferred route, everything is accessible for viewing and purchasing online, with selections updated daily. There’s even an annual registry magazine featuring houseware must-haves—like the All-Clad stainless steel 10-piece set ($1,078)— as well as tutorials on table settings. 55 Bloor St. W. (at Bay), 416-964-2900.