His & Hers

Don't just blindly zap at the nearest department stores—personalize your registry to let each of you shine.

MARRIAGE MAY BE THE START OF YOUR NEW LIFE TOGETHER, but that doesn’t mean you and your beloved lose your individual identities. Maybe you cook, and he grills. You ski, and he snowboards. You throw girly cocktail parties for your friends, while his like to come over for the Sunday games. Why not celebrate these differences in your gift registry? After all, variety provides the spice in life—and in relationships—and your complementary tastes can forecast a lifetime of sharing and new experiences. We know you’ll hit all the regulars like Bloomies, but check out some of these local stops for gifts you’ll enjoy for years on end—and not just when you’re baking cupcakes or changing the sheets.

For the Entertaining Couple

YOU LIKE PRETTY-PINK FLORALS, HE FAVORS CONTEMPORARY designs. Just as marriage allows couples to blend their different styles into something new, strong and warm, so too can dinner settings complement each other. “We encourage couples to mix and match tableware,” says Panamai Manadee, owner of Newbury Street’s Bliss Home. Manadee recalls one creative couple who paired the archival look of Bernardaud’s Rose Trellis pattern with the architectural greens and golds of Philippe Deshoulières’ Arcades pattern. With the Rose Trellis salad plates set on the Arcades dinner plates, the look was personalized and beautiful. And the range of prices (the Rose Trellis dessert or salad plates are $120, the Arcades dinner plates, $60) gave guests freedom of expression (and purchasing), as well.

Special serving ware can make the evening more festive, and MDF in Harvard Square features a wide range of design pieces. If he’s into modern styling with a savage touch, look to the great designs from Ria and Yiouri Augousti. This Paris-based design couple incorporates bronze, shell and stingray skin into pieces such as beautiful trays (starting at $180) and tables ($1,000 and up). If you want a similarly modern look, but with a bit more feminine refinement, MDF’s Scott Seltzer, a visual merchandiser, suggests stylish martini glasses with a platinum luster, made by Roost ($24 each).

Of course, entertainment doesn’t have to apply only to having friends over. If the two of you don’t need a crowd to toast to your happy life, think about making the merriment last by registering for your favorite spirits. Many couples register for cases of wine, says Howie Rubin, general manager of
Newbury Street’s Bauer Wine & Spirits. And couples can personalize a registry even further: For the sentimental bride, a special bubbly can mark an anniversary, a birthday or even Friday-night takeout. Rubin recommends Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé champagne ($30), or a Veuve Clicquot Rosé ($65). Riedel champagne flutes begin at only $13 each.

His friends, on the other hand, may relish the chance to chip in for a case of Belgian ales, which can run from $50 to about $100. Some of the choices could be the three levels of Chimay ale—Cinq Cents, the lighter tan label; the red Premiere label; or the blue Grande Reserve. Local microbrews are always fun, says Rubin. He’d recommend a case that would include the Farmer Brown Ale from The People’s Pint, of Greenfield, at about $5 a bottle.

For the Cooking Couple

SURE, YOU’LL GET YOUR POTS AND YOUR pans, your spatulas, ladles and pizza cutters, but what about the things that’ll really let each of you shine in your culinary area of expertise? Now’s the time to prepare for your own future Food Network challenges in your new kitchen.

Is he the king of the backyard grill? Consider expanding his repertoire with a fish basket ($11.95) from Progressive. If he tends to return from Boston Harbor trips with his buddies toting tonight’s dinner, Michele Fais, assistant manager of Newbury Street’s KitchenArts, suggests pairing a fish-shaped grill “cage” with a SCI de-scaler ($4.95). And be sure to add an oven mitt or two to the package: Your groom can keep his hands safe—and brag about his latest catch—with a Boston Warehouse fish mitt, in either salmon or trout designs ($8).

Brides who reign in the kitchen will appreciate—and love showing off with—the timeless quality of Le Creuset stoneware. These brightly colored dishes can take a savory chicken or casserole from the oven directly to the table with French style ($25-$55). Add a salad, in a solid cherry Clarendon bowl from Vermont ($24-$300), and you’ve got a balanced diet—and a happy couple.

For the Nesting Couple

HE LOVES BIG FLUFFY TOWELS, YOU FAVOR delicate linens. Fine fabrics come in varieties for all. For the luxury-loving bather, splurge on oversize bath sheets ($96) from Yves Delorme at Boston’s Linens on the Hill. You’ll love the soft pastels and beautifully embroidered towels; he’ll go for the neutrals. Matching Egyptian cotton terry shawl-collared bathrobes (for him and her) make a cozy set ($300 each), says Lynne Wolverton, owner of the Charles Street establishment.

Even if couples are seeking linens for their table, differing tastes can be accommodated. Wolverton steers couples wanting elegance in both traditional and modern forms to Le Jacquard Français table linens. Cream and white damask offer a classic look. But wild color combinations update the effect, and add a splash of color to your table with tablecloths starting at $183, napkins at $20.

For the Sporty Couple

THE OUTDOORSY DUO MAY ENJOY ALL THE usual registry gifts—but really finds their passion in the wild. “Gifts that encourage a shared love of the outdoors can even bring couples closer,” says Randy Hurlow, a spokesperson for REI, the national outdoor activity outfitters (which has four outlets in Massachusetts). Hurlow cites an REI survey that shows how sharing adventure and getting away from daily worries contribute to lasting romance. Couples seeking this outdoor advantage can find a wide range of his-and-hers gifts, especially now that sports outfitters have begun customizing equipment for the differences in men’s and women’s bodies.

Take REI’s Zephyr +10 sleeping bags (starting at $139). His version remains the straight tried-and-true, but hers has extra room at the hip and a bit more insulation at the feet, because women tend to feel the cold in their toes more than their guys. And since this is a wedding gift, givers will be happy to know that these bags can be zipped together, for added coziness.

If you go for the sea and he for the slopes, that’s fine, too. Consider Ocean Kayak’s Venus kayak for her ($599). Not only is this neat little vessel designed by women for women (it compensates for our wider hips and shorter arms), but a percentage of the proceeds benefits breast cancer research. Plus, the Venus comes in pretty pink and sunny sky blue. His inner mountain man can find himself with MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes ($260).

For the Worldly Couple

A HONEYMOON WOULDN’T BE THE SAME if the bride and groom didn’t go together. But that doesn’t mean that couples can’t register for different types of escapes—or even for two honeymoons (hey, take the second one on your first anniversary)—one that caters to his need for adventure, and the other to her desire for romance.

How it works, says Nancy Greenfield, director of leisure sales for Boston’s Garber Travel, is the couple comes in and picks out their dream trip—destination, flight details, accommodations, amenities (such as a private chef), anything they want—and then guests can simply chip in toward the overall trip by making monetary contributions in whatever amount they choose.

Does he want to see the world? Think about Australia, says Greenfield, who recommends meeting with one of the many specialists in Garber’s 10 leisure offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont to pick a trip—or trips—that will be just right for you. As a sample itinerary, she outlines a two-week escape that includes a stay on Kangaroo Island, where spa treatments and gourmet cooking combine with kangaroos and koalas. Follow up with a few days at the Sea Temple Resort & Spa on the Great Barrier Reef. World-class snorkeling provides the adventure for him, while acres of manicured grounds and spa facilities cater to you. Visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park to see Aboriginal dance performances and then fly to Brisbane to visit the Australia Zoo, made famous by naturalist Steve Irwin. This globe-trekking adventure packs in luxury and wilderness, for approximately $9,000 a couple.

If the past year of wedding planning has been wild enough, consider a week in Punta Cana. This beach area in the Dominican Republic has a phenomenal range of all-inclusive resorts, many with special honeymoon deals. Stay at the Paradisus Palma Real Resort, which is surrounded by water, with multiple pools, fountains and a white sand beach. Try the couple’s massage at this suite-only escape. Rates begin at $3,500 and vary based on season.