my bridal registry day

September 08, 2015

My late summer flower arrangements have almost never varied: faded hydrangeas and faded roses.  I love late summer--in the morning there's a tiny hint of fall's crispness, even though the day might be hot as blazes.  We took stock of the garden yesterday; it's given its all, and it's clearly pooped out.   Shorter days means less growing time and smaller veggies and flowers, plus the drought means everything looks pretty pathetic anyway. The squirrels are going crazy looking for food and water.  They beat us to most of the pears and apples and all of the pumpkins.  We battled all summer over the tomatoes and summer squash.  I think it was a tie.  Tonight's dinner party was after a game of couples golf.  When you all walk in the door at 6 PM, hungry and thirsty, dinner has to be quick and simple, and for the most part, prepared in advance.  With a nod to a late summer bounty, we managed a pretty nice menu.  A friend offered to bring an appetizer, another dessert, and with that and the menu below, plus a few bottles of wine and beer, we were all set for an easy-going dinner.

Goat Cheese with Lemon and Pistachios

Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

Summer Cobbler

I probably don't need to tell you this, but setting a table is a creative outlet for me.  As for the table setting above, the napkins and tablecloth were made from remnants and discontinued designer samples. We've had the flatware, 18th Century from Reed and Barton for 42 years.  I picked the pattern as part of my bridal registry when I was a proper 21 year old bride intent on setting a grand table. Of all the things I chose on that day, this flatware has been the most practical.  My china selection is long gone and my stemware, a pattern from Lalique, is so expensive, that when I break one, and if I were to replace it (which I don't), I'd have to shell out $400 per stem.  They were way less back then, but still expensive, so what on earth was I thinking, and why-oh-why did the sales lady ever encourage me to put it on my registry?  But I smile as I write this, because I'm secretly thankful for the folly of my youth, those glasses are simply gorgeous, and I absolutely love them.  I've posted about them a few times, here, here and here.  The glasses I use most often now are the more practical  Connoisseur Stemware from Cost Plus.  I use the larger Bordeaux for waters, and the smaller Chardonnays for wine.  They are so inexpensive, I don't mind breaking one, but so sturdy, I haven't, and so pretty, I use them often!

Back to that bridal registry, I remember it like it was yesterday!  My mom couldn't come with me, and if I asked my then fiance to come with me, he must have said no thanks.  I made an appointment, took a day off work and went alone.  It was 1973, and while Levi's were my standard apparel du jour, a girl knows when it's important to play dress-up. I would be going to a fancy department store on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills after all.  I even washed my car as I suspected I might have to use a valet!   I made a white eyelet two-piece suit for the occasion with a skirt that was so short-short-short, I blush now when I think about it.  I was just following the trend for all young women in Southern California at the time.  We would look in the mirror and make sure our bottoms were covered.  Was it?  Yes. OK then, it's perfect.  I completed the ensemble with lime green high-heeled sling-back sandals and a matching purse.  I thought I looked fantastic.  When I arrived, my bridal consultant floated out to me and with a very business-like manner, offered her hand.  She was stunning:  angular and thin with grey hair to match her perfectly fitted grey suit, which was calf length, because after all, she was a much older woman.  She was probably 38, geesh. Her perfection made me shudder a bit and I was so intimidated by her I had to rethink my decision to come alone. She started peppering me with questions, but it soon became apparent to both of us that I had NONE clue as to how I wanted my future home to look.  She then sailed me through the silver and china department while I listened carefully to her instructions.  I was to choose 12 place settings of fine china, silver flatware and stemware.  The china and the flatware settings would each include five pieces, but I could get away with only a water and one wine for the stemware, champagnes could come later, perhaps as an anniversary gift.  She assured me that she, of course, would not let me make a mistake.  After an exhausting hour we were done, and she handed me an envelope that contained a half dozen cards with the store's name and address, the words, Fine Bridal Registry, with my name printed underneath, Miss Kristen Hansen. But under no circumstances could I tell anyone where I had registered, this was not done.  Oddly though, my mother could--you see, the cards were for her, plus one for my future mother-in-law, my grandmother and a favorite aunt or two.  THEY could tell people where I had registered.  I kid you not.  To this day I'm still a bit shy about asking a bride where she is registered, but surely that advice I received is considered out of date! I sure hope so!

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  1. 1973 is not that long ago, but a very different world for brides. My first engagement (didn't get to a wedding) was in 1974 and I remember so many silly 'rules' around the whole affair. Makes me shutter! Maybe I called it off because of the expectations. . . and the fact I wasn't ready.😜

  2. Oh, Kristen! As much as I love your table settings, I love your story more! Nowadays, I'm thankful for the transparency of bridal registries (and all other kinds too!). It makes it so much easier to buy a gift I know will be appreciated.


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