Haley Kelly knows how to set a table. After years at one of the top event firms in town, she recently struck out to start her own company, Haley Kelly Events
. We were so smitten with this tablescape she and her team fashioned, we asked her to talk about registering for a “real registry,” one that’s current and has a Charleston accent, too. Here’s what she shared.
Charleston Weddings: How does a modern registry differ from those a few generations ago?
Haley Kelly: Registries have changed so much in the last 20 to 30 years. A bride would pick a store in her hometown and register, then guests would bring the gifts to the wedding. Rarely do we ever see gifts brought to weddings anymore. And there are options to register for experiences and aggregate registries from multiple stores. I have also had clients with a “no gift” policy who only accept donations to a specific charity—it’s amazing for the couple who doesn’t need much or who may have already purchased everything they need.
CW: How does this tabletop reflect a “now” registry?
HK: It’s a mix of relevant, usable china pieces as well as timeless silver pieces.
CW: Should you still register for everyday and fine pieces, too?
HK: I prefer it that way because in my home, we have our daily china and our special occasion china, and it makes a difference when we bring out the “good stuff.” We usually entertain on our fine china—when we host a dinner party, celebrate a promotion, or are cooking something extra special.
CW: Silver is notoriously hard to keep polished and fresh in humid regions. Any tips for keeping it in good condition here in Charleston?
HK: Use your silver! The more you use it, the less you need to deep clean or polish it. After a use, clean it right away because foods can be harsh on it. And since moisture is a huge problem here, make sure you fully dry the piece before you pack it up. Last, keep it in a cool, dark place—not your attic.
CW: Is there anything a couple shouldn’t register for?
HK: Think about what you will actually use. If you have lived together for five years and never used (or wanted) a panini press, then you probably don’t need to register for one. Figure out what you will actually use. I wish I would have registered for more serving pieces; we love to have cocktail parties and I am always scrambling to find the best pieces for different dishes.
CW: What are some utterly Charleston things to register for?
HK: Sweetgrass baskets; I love having these around the house for loose items like keys, pens, change, etc. by the front door. The oyster shell salt cellar and spoon set from The Boutique, and anything from The Goldbug Collection’s entertaining items—my particular favorites are the julep cups and cocktail napkins.
Charleston Shop Registries
Love Haley's Tabletop?
➊ Mix materials, texture, pattern, and color. Pottery-style chargers and finely painted china; crystal and cement; silver and pewter: pull a variety of items together to create a collected, curated aesthetic.
➋ Include silver. A little silver on any table dresses up any occasion. Ask family for pieces from local silver and antique shops. Freely mix patterns, time periods, and styles.
➌ Go local but branch out, beyond, too. Zola and Amazon can merge registries from different shops and outlets. The cement planters here came from All Modern; the concrete votives are from Amazon. Zara Home is another of Haley’s favorite sources.
➍ Browse local rental groups for cool, new looks (they update their inventory regularly), and search for like items. If a rental group stocks something, you know it can stand up to wear and tear. These chargers from Snyder Events are akin to the Vietri ones carried at some of the shops mentioned above.