THE GIFTS

The National - News - Luxury - - WEDDINGS -

While the gi registry is a well-es­tab­lished con­cept in the West, it has not tra­di­tion­ally been a part of UAE wed­ding cul­ture. But a new Dubai-based com­pany is promis­ing to stream­line the whole gi -giv­ing process, of­fer­ing choice, flex­i­bil­ity and a large help­ing of lux­ury.

Po­si­tion­ing it­self as the first per­son­alised lux­ury wed­ding registry in the re­gion, White Al­monds is unique in that it of­fers off­line and on­line ser­vices – mean­ing that the happy cou­ple can cre­ate an on­line list of their de­sired items and well-mean­ing guests can do all their gi shop­ping at the click of a but­ton. In a sump­tu­ous show­room on the 21st floor of Dubai’s Sidra Tower, the founder of White Al­monds, Sarah Farah, of­fers a snapshot of the kinds of gi s her clients can hope to re­ceive. Choose from a range of be­spoke table­top and dec­o­ra­tive pieces by ex­tremely high-end Euro­pean her­itage brands, in­clud­ing crys­tal glasses, flat­ware and sculp­tural vases – and plenty more be­sides.

“When I say lux­ury, I mean lux­ury be­cause of the pro­gramme we of­fer and its flex­i­bil­ity. I can un­der­stand that com­ing in here could be in­tim­i­dat­ing be­cause the brands I carry are at such a level. But I don’t want people to be scared away by that. When some­one does a wed­ding registry by White Al­monds, you are not tied in to what we have here,” says the halfPales­tinian, half-Ir­ish Farah. “We do the tra­di­tional side of things but we are also very, very flex­i­ble. So we have tied up with a num­ber of part­ner stores.” These in­clude fur­ni­ture com­pa­nies, kitchen shops, art gal­leries and even the bou­tique travel agency, Travel At­taché.

Guests can choose to buy one of the items on the registry straight out, or can con­trib­ute an amount of their choice to­wards a larger, more ex­pen­sive item, such as a hon­ey­moon or a sofa. These larger items can be bro­ken done into units, which, rather sweetly, are called white al­monds. “So guests can buy one or two or three al­monds and that’s a re­ally nice way of donat­ing to­wards a larger item. And about 10 days a er the wed­ding, all the cash that is do­nated for the gi s gets cashed on to a card – a branded White Al­monds card that has been fa­cil­i­tated by Visa. The card is valid for a year and acts as a debit card, so you go around to the stores that we are af­fil­i­ated with and you swipe it. And you can keep check­ing your bal­ance so you know what you’re spend­ing.”

Best of all, you can opt to have pa­per­less e-thankcards sent au­to­mat­i­cally to all your gen­er­ous guests. Which is just one less thing to worry about.

Farah recog­nises that there may be some chal­lenges in chang­ing cul­tural per­cep­tions about the gi -giv­ing process. “You don’t have to see it as vul­gar or rude. The wed­ding registry is a tra­di­tion that has been ac­cepted in all kinds of cul­tures, and I am try­ing to show that you can do gi -giv­ing in an el­e­gant for­mat.”

IT’S A WRAP Reg­is­ter­ing for gi s, such as these crys­tal glasses – and hav­ing taste­ful thank-you cards au­to­mat­i­cally sent on your be­half – is now pos­si­ble with the re­gion’s first-ever lux­ury gi -registry ser­vice, White Al­monds.

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