Editor's note: The Sentinel's 2014 Bridal Guide appears in today's edition.
BLUE EARTH - Bridal registries have been around a long time, but these days they can be as individual as the couples tying the knot.
"A bridal registry is a service provided by a website or retail store to assist engaged couples in the communication of gift preferences to wedding guests," according to Wikipedia.org. "In addition to providing valuable information for the buyer, the system helps prevent the receipt of duplicate or unwanted gifts, potentially saving time for both giver and recipient."
FOR?THE?NEWLYWEDS?— Julie Loge holds a grill topper, a popular item on some engaged couples’ bridal registries at Dikken Furniture & Decorating in Blue Earth.
Dikken Furniture & Decorating Inc. in Blue Earth has been helping couples select potential wedding gifts for more than 10 years, says manager Julie Loge.
"We'll take them through the whole store and help them choose things for their registry," she said. "Point out things that have been popular in the past, or brand-new or new colors.
"We enjoy that time because it helps us get to know the bride or couple a little bit better," Loge noted.
Couples can come in any time, but Loge suggests they register at least six weeks before the first shower to give the store and guests time to look over the list.
Local couples come in, of course, but there are others from farther away. Sometimes, the couple grew up in the Blue Earth area but live elsewhere now, or they just have family in the area and want a convenient place for them to shop.
"The farthest I think was Idaho, Wyoming, somewhere like that," Loge said.
Price is no object.
"We encourage them to choose things from all different price ranges," Loge said.
This helps those buying a gift who are on a tight budget. Or if the wedding party wants to get the couple one expensive gift, they can.
The couple is encouraged to dream.
"There's no limit to the number of things they can register for," Loge said.
As a guest buys something on the list, that item is crossed off and put on another list for items sold. It's a way to double check the registries, Loge said.
Dikken's has a pretty traditional selection but Loge has noticed some trends.
"Back in the day, the crystal was really popular [but] nobody wants it anymore," she said. "Girls today are very practical. If they don't see an immediate use for it, they don't want it."
Another trend is gift certificates because a couple can consolidate them and buy a big item they didn't get or couldn't afford.
But most guests opt for an actual gift.
"People like to give a gift that the couple will remember, 'Ron and Julie gave us this lamp,'" she said.
Popular shower gifts are kitchen gadgets.
"The most popular thing is a silicone spatula," Loge said.
One reason is that they are all one piece, and the rubber head can't fall off, she pointed out. And they come in a rainbow of bright neon colors.
Even traditional choices get modern touches.
"We sell a lot of cookbooks you can personalize," Loge said.
These come empty, and friends and family can fill in the recipes.
"Great under $20 gift and you're gonna have it forever," Loge said. "Get recipes from both sides of the family."
And you have to have plates to serve all those recipes.
"I haven't seen a lot of changes in the dishes," Loge said. "Most prefer a solid color in dishes so they can choose colorful patterned accents. White and cream dishes and change out colors with holidays."
Brides have plenty of opportunity to show their personalities.
"The home decor items, they're very individualized," Loge said.
Brides themselves are changing, she noted. People are getting married later, often after having lived on their own for a while.
"They need more of those fun things because they have the practical items," Loge said.
In the end, what's important is that it's the couple's special time.
"They've been dreaming for years of coming in and registering here," Loge said. "It's fun to share in that excitement with them."