Wedding Gift Season

Last Sunday, after a fabulous brunch at the Bloor Street Diner, we walked off our bacon & eggs with a stroll through Manulife Centre to William Ashley where (big surprise), we ran into a couple registering for their wedding.

We got to talking to the happy newlyweds and asked them why they chose William Ashley. Their response: “it’s where you go.”

We thought that was an interesting response, so we dug a bit further.


Brides, Made.
Since 1947, William Ashley has been wedding central. And that wasn’t by accident. The store’s founder, a woman named Tillie Abrams, opened the store as a purveyor of fine china, knowing it was the kind of thing newly married women wanted for their homes.

So the story goes, to demonstrate the quality of her product she would routinely hit her plates on the edge of the counter. She never broke a plate.

As William Ashley’s popularity as a wedding registry destination grew, and brides from across Canada expressed interest in certain products, Abrams expanded her offerings to serve the country’s changing tastes, and invested heavily in making registering easy.

Today, the iconic store is one of the go-to’s for newlyweds looking to have their new homes stocked with quality.


A walk through the aisles
We stuck around a bit longer to find out what’s trending in the world of wedding registries, and what the soon-to-be-married set is gravitating towards these days.

In the past, brides looked for sets they would break out once a year, like Christmas dishes. But today’s young people are far more practical.

Many young people we spoke to were more interested in what was going to be on the plate versus what the plate looks like. Yes, they want quality — but they’re defaulting to more simple patterns and styles.

Having said that, there are over 8,000 patterns to choose from in a variety of shapes and textures. That means you’re bound to find a set that suits your taste.

And speaking of taste, many newlyweds are choosing pieces for cooking just as much as they’re choosing pieces for serving. Sometimes, people will go downstairs to the Bloorstreet Market to get inspired, then come up here and start adding items to their registries.

We’re seeing a real creative flare these days among newlyweds.

In lieu of splurging for expensive art, many look to William Ashley’s collections of decorative vases, bowls and tea sets. One of this year’s favourites is a one-of-a-kind wooden salad bowl that can be used for dinner parties and displayed the rest of the time.

Stuff for him
Wedding registries have typically been the bride’s domain, but these days, with men taking more control in the kitchen, grooms are having their voices heard and their choices reflected on registries.

And while you can generally predict what most women are going to add, men tend to go off the board a bit with items like braisers, ramekins and tajines.


The William Ashley vow
It’s pretty simple: their promise is to make the experience easy, and they do it in so many ways, from an easy-to-navigate online registry system to in-person appointments with knowledgeable Registry Consultants, to the Gift Notification service that advises you immediately whenever something’s purchased—giving you ample time to respond with a thank-you note.

But the best is probably the parking at Manulife Centre. You’ll get two free hours if you spend $25 at William Ashley (or any other store). But you’ll ALSO get a parking pass which you can use until the big day.

Free parking at Bay and Bloor? In terms of an early wedding gift, it doesn’t get much #BloorAndBetter than that.

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