(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Five independently owned home furnishing institutions are on our list for wedding gift searches, all with lovely wedding gifts and outstanding personal service with a smile. Shop owners who do it right realize there's no reason buying shouldn't be every bit as pleasurable an experience as being on the receiving end when the big day rolls around. A gift purchased from any of these special shops is a win-win.
Sue Fisher King
3067 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
With more than 35 years in this elegant shop, nobody else know the territory better when it comes to wedding registry and wedding gifts. Take a load off your shoulders by letting Sue and her experienced staff come up with the perfect suggestions from among her curated treasure trove of quality linens, champagne glasses and stemware, trays and platters, plush towels, cashmere throws, cachepots and scents that appeal to both men and women of good taste. The only problem could be that you may want everything you see for your own home.
Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture
3095 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Do you know a shabby chic bride-to-be? Rachell Ashwell's eclectic style celebrates vintage. With her sharp artist's eye, she discovers treasures at estate sales, auctions and West Texas prairie antique fairs, refurbishing them and infusing them with love as well as a bit of paint. In the end, the collection is so lovely and lovingly displayed that you could only be in one of Rachel's five shops on two continents; luckily we have one of them here in San Francisco. From trousseau to teacups, this utterly pretty corner shop flooded with light is a bride magnet.
The Antique Traders
4300 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Outside of New York and Paris, maybe London, there's nowhere with a collection of Tiffany lamps, Favrile glass vases and desktop accessories to match this museum-quality selection. In a large shop set on an unlikely corner of Inner Richmond, fine examples of Daum Nancy, Steuben, Emile Gallé, Loetz, Handel, Pairpoint and more fill every square inch of available space which includes the largest stained glass window you'll ever see. Proprietor Alan Schneider is an expert in the field of Art Nouveau decorative arts, trading from this location since 1970. What word sums it up? Extraordinary.
55 Portrero Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Devoted long-time clients of this San Francisco standout shop may recall when Dandelion first opened in Pacific Heights in 1968. "Make a wish and blow," it has been suggesting to customers celebrating life's milestones and special moments ever since, which certainly includes hundreds of couples. Handsome gifts displayed with flair include a wide array of appealing items like books and baubles, crystal candlesticks, dinnerware, teaware, barware and Buddha zinc figurative sculptures to bless the newlyweds' home.
340 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Chances are you've passed by Samuel Scheuer any number of times. It has been tucked away in these Union Square premises for nearly 80 years. For those who know their thread counts, sham flange, embroidery stitches and monogram designs, the art of luxury bedding is the language spoken here. This shop even has a glossary on its website so you can double check your knowledge. Come talk about the ideal wedding gift. If the budget doesn't stretch to ostrich feathers and satin, the staff will show you English scented candles, towels, robes, slippers, placemats and fine soaps.
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.
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