fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

the Gift Registries August 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 5:22 pm

First of all, we want to proclaim that we love used, second-hand, and handmade.  I think of all of our furniture, only three of the pieces of furniture were purchased new, and definitely our most beloved things are things given us by others, or found off the beaten path, or picked up years ago for three dollars at a yard sale.

I would love it if someone went into a junk store and found four disparate tea cups, and gave them to us as a set. Or dug out an afghan they haven’t used in years.  Or made us a painting, basket, table runner, or gave us a stack of second-hand cookbooks.  If you know me in real life, you know I love cake stands, serving pieces, and dishes– and the more (mismatched) pattern the better. If you know me or Matt, you know that we can’t get enough old books.  So if you’re feeling creative, thrifty, or nostalgic, please share found things, used things, or dear things from your heart– and thrill us.


To that end, here are a few things we love, from around our house:

basket coasters

This basket was made by Matt’s Aunt Diana– she is gifted, gifted, gifted when it comes to basket-making. I’m certain her larger baskets would sell for several hundred dollars a piece here in NYC.  It’s unbelievable the details and flourishes she can put in them.  She made these little ones as gifts for some of the out-of-town guests to her son Tom’s wedding last summer.  I could search far and wide, and never find a basket as nice as hers, that I could afford.

Matt’s not sure where the coasters came from, but the are hand-made by someone, and were a gift to him from someone.  We use them daily, and I like them so much more than the ones I’ve seen at stores.


old rose plate

I got this old plate more than ten years ago, when my friend Holly had a yard sale– she had a whole box of little trinket-type things, which I bought. It included this plate.  I usually keep it on top of my dresser or vanity, with a doll’s plate on it and odd pieces of jewelry, but I’ve occasionally used it as a serving piece, when I have something very special that would look just right on it.


knit pot holder

This pot-holder/washcloth is one of my favorite things that Matt brought with him from his kitchen.  He doesn’t know where it came from, but thinks maybe one of his grandmothers, or maybe his Mom knitted it. I love the colors, and it _feels_ better than any other pot holder, and it’s also slightly bigger than most. And I just love how homey it looks–another thing we couldn’t get from any store.  It makes our kitchen look so cheerful.


As we wrote before, we are keeping Matt’s parents’ old dishes: the Village Pattern by Pfaltzgraff.  We’re not registering for it formally, but if someone would like to get us some to add to our collection, we’d welcome it.


As for our *wedding china*, we’ve chosen Chirp by Lenox.  I was surprised that Matt liked it, as I think it’s very “Stephanie”: colorful, whimsical, and sweet.  But it’s the pattern we most agreed upon, and so happily added it to our registry.


full set table chirp

Matt took these two photos last weekend at the big, historical Macy’s downtown.  We rode up, up, up the old wooden escalators to get to the fine china section, and found entire tables set with patterns.


We’ve registered at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Crate & Barrel for most of our wishes, and also for a few extras.  While Macy’s does carry Chirp, Bed, Bath, and Beyond does as well, and we think their prices and customer service are a bit more friendly and accessible.  But don’t be tied down to our registries– we love our guests, and are delighted that you are coming to our wedding, and will be excited by any material things you bless us with, in addition to your presence.


Into the fray: registry “inserts” January 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 8:17 pm
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I have to admit: I have always been interested in etiquette.  I think I’ve read Emily Post’s 1922 book a few times, and noticed scenes having to do with manners in novels and storybooks.  For some reason, as a child, I thought it might be important to _know_ the different places the different knives went.  I also memorized a few key phrases in French, just in case.  (As a child in rural Illinois, who knows when I thought I might _need_ these phrases.)

And because I love parties, and invitations, and stationery, I still pay attention to many of those old-fashioned dictates regarding the rules of style and manners.  Of course, a wedding is the perfect place for all of these “rules” to come together.

Earlier this week, I noticed a post on the Indiebride etiquette board.  The writer was wondering why she shouldn’t put the registry insert into her invitations.  She admitted: I know, I know, it’s supposed to be bad manners, but really–what’s the big deal, and wouldn’t people like to _know_?

For the uninformed: When you register at department stores, they will give you some lovely little cards, on fine paper, with a phrase like, “The bride and groom are registered at Macy’s.”  They suggest that you include them in your invitations.

Also for the uninformed: You are never, never supposed to mention where you are registered, or even _if_ you are registered, anywhere _near_ the invitation.  People may ask those around you, and family and friends may offer the correct information, but to put it with the invitation makes it look like the invitee is required to bring a gift.  Brides and grooms are even discouraged from putting phrases like, “No gifts, please,” on the invitation, as this again assumes that they are getting a gift.

Okay– I get it.  I agree that it’s rude to seem grabby, and I would never want to make a guest feel as though they need bring a gift (or a particular gift, from a particular place) if they want to come to my wedding.  For the record, we probably will not be using the registry inserts.  (Unless the majority of friends and family suggest that they are helpful.)

Onto the dust-up.  As I was reading the writer’s question, I thought to myself, “Yeah.  What’s the big deal?  Given all the other supposed rules we discard when they don’t suit us, why does this rule make so many people upset.”  Because truly– even on Indiebride, these (mostly) women get vicious and name-call-y about the insert rule.  Those who feel it’s tacky will carry no truck with anyone who might even wonder aloud about using them.  Another commenter wrote, for example:

“To include the registry info with the invitation conveys to me that the couple is as interested in getting loot as in having me join the celebration: “you’re invited to give us a present!” And that does bug me. Not that I would cut you out of my life for doing so, but like some others here, the maneuver would reduce my esteem of you…”

I wanted to know why we are willing to suspend other rules, but not this one–why this one matters so much.  So I wrote:


“I have to say… I’m kind of changing my mind on this. 

For many years, I would have said it was totally, totally tacky. 
Like, this is how much of a stickler for etiquette I am: you know those tiny pieces of tissue paper that sometimes come with an invitation, inside the envelope? You know what those are for? 
Those are for if your invitations are _engraved_, and engraved only– because the raised, inked letters can rub off, otherwise. And yes, I rub my finger along the back of invitations with tissue to see if they are actually engraved, or just aping the tradition of having tissue. (This is a confession on my part– I would never voice such cattiness in person.)

And yes, I have engraved personal stationery– and when you do, you actually get to keep the piece of metal that is imprinted with your name and information, because the printer can’t use it for anyone else, so she might as well give it to you.

All of that said! I find the outcry over registry inserts kind of self-righteous. Look, if we were being totally, totally upper class (like, out of sight upper-so upper they wouldn’t notice us), we wouldn’t register _at all_. A few discreet shop and boutique owners would know our preferences. Or our preferences would be obvious: Oh, his family has always used this silver. Registering is kind of middle class object collecting consumer-y. (And I’m registering! I’m just playing this out for the argument.)

And if we were totally, totally playing by the strictest manners, we would not be pregnant if marrying, we would not get married in a bar/restaurant or on the beach (unless the family house is already beachfront, and the beach is way down the hill and has been there for a century or so), and we would not be offering menu options, either. Etiquette mavens have ruled out menu options _for years_– because at a dinner you’re giving in your home, you don’t give options; you shouldn’t treat a fine dinner party (reception) like a restaurant takeaway where people _choose_ what they will be given…

I could go on and on. (And seriously, I am never ever this judgmental-sounding–these are just etiquette factoids.) The point is– there are _many_ points of etiquette that have equal footing with the registry insert, and yet the registry insert is the one everyone gets upset about.

I’m just saying… we don’t look at a pink wedding gown and gasp, “Tacky! Strumpet!” or say regarding the bride or groom’s children in the wedding, “How dare they?” 
I know, I know… we have to pretend we don’t want gifts, that we’re not thinking of gifts at all. But isn’t that kind of faux-blushing facade worth re-considering?”


I thought I made sense, and sounded reasonable, and raised an interesting question.  I should have known better about the Internet.  Those who did not agree with me didn’t answer any of my questions, but just continued to insist that registry inserts were tacky; the conversation basically revolved around that point–a few people suggesting that it might be okay in some circumstances, and then others insisting that it is not ever okay.  The conversation continued for another page.  I’m determined to stay out of it at this point, mainly because another person posted a link to a fabulous, funny, and encouraging article by Offbeat Bride entitled, “Your Wedding is Tacky,” which I think sums up my main feeling about the matter.

What do you think?  Is it still a big no-no to be free and easy with the registry situation?  Would you think ill of a friend or family member if, upon opening the invitation, you saw the little card from Bed, Bath, and Beyond?



Look familiar? October 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 8:18 pm
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I’ve never thought much about Matt’s dishes, other than that they aren’t exactly my style (“my style” being, in this case, floral, colorful, heavily decorated.)  But he said he thought they were his parents’ dishes that they got for their wedding, and family dishes are my style.  So I did a little research…

Yes, this pattern: Village, by Pfaltzgraff.  Turns out, Pfaltzgraff started making it in the 1970s; says that it went out of production in 1976, but the Pfaltzgraff website carries tons of it, in every imaginable plate, serving piece, teapot, or snowglobe.  Yes, snowglobe.

I’ve always wanted to be able to say, “Oh these?  These have been in the family for years.”  So, it looks like we’ll be keeping Matt’s dishes.  It won’t match all of our Bodanna china (that we’ll register for), but I think it will look great with the brown pieces.


Ooooh: I can’t wait to do a brown and cream theme for Thanksgiving, or for an autumnal dinner party…  Yay, china patterns!


Bodanna, definitely. And Corelle as well? May 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 4:58 pm
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We’ve long decided on what kind of dishes/china we’d want.  There’s an amazing ceramics studio in town, called Bodanna–all of the pieces are made by NYC Public School students, as part of an apprenticeship program.  100% of the profits go back the the program, and the students.  It’s pretty amazing, especially when you see just how beautiful the pieces are.  We love the idea of students having made our dishes, and all of the profits going back into the program.  We also like that the style of the pottery goes along with the mugs and wine glasses Matt already has from Canada.

I have been thinking about plain white dishes, though.  I like old dishes, the kind you see in stacks in antique stores.  I like mismatched patterns, flowers, castles, maps of states.  Having a small set of plain white dishes would allow me to play with table settings, and mix and match to my heart’s content.

After some research, I’ve found that good old Corellereally is known as the most unbreakable.  It’s interesting to read the history of Corelle on their website.  It’s not “good” china, and I’ve never seen it in a department store, but it seems like many of the real women I’ve known growing up actually had it.  I’ve seen polls on bridal websites, asking brides which china their aunts, mothers, and grandmothers had, that has lasted the longest, and it’s often Corelle–which is nice, because Corelle is always marketed as an “everyday” china option.

They certainly do have nice, crisp, plain white dishes.  But of course my little eye is drawn immediately to the patterns, and to the “Hearthstone” line, which has designs that again match the dishes we like at Bodanna, and the Candian style of hand-thrown pottery.  So maybe I don’t need white dishes.  Or maybe I need white, and all of the ones I’ve already mentioned.  I think the next step would be to look at shelving options to hold all the china I think I need.