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.