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Paul Dean

Here Comes the Bridal Paraphernalia

February 27, 1988|Paul Dean

Sean Penn and Madonna, for better or worse, in wickedness and in wealth, registered their wedding china pattern at this Beverly Drive store. It is not known how many plates remain intact.

In an earlier era of no less impermanent nuptials, Debbie Reynolds serenaded Eddie Fisher (and presumably vice versa) along the store's mirrored aisles as part of their operatic engagement announcement. Tammy sang and no crystal cracked. But a brace of tourists from Phoenix were seen to quiver.

When Maria Shriver married Arnold Schwarzenegger and Demi Moore married Bruce Willis, their silver and crystal were registered here.

So goes the constant commerce in nubility at Geary's of Beverly Hills, scene of today's Bridal Fair, an annual, one-day, public procession of matrimonial wear and wares that has been running longer than Harold Stassen.

An estimated 200 brides (less mates married to CBS and today's third round of the Los Angeles Open) are expected to bubble and browse among what passes for borrowed and blue in Beverly Hills these days--such as a black, miniskirted wedding dress and a Royal Copenhagen china service (plus diamond inlaid flatware and gold stemware) for 12. Choke on your Earl Gray tea and scones. The set costs $105,000. Most divorces are cheaper.

This year--for the first time in its half century of supplying Southern California hope chests and honeymoons--Geary's also is going public with its bridal list.

It's a roster that decrees what is new and popular in carriage-trade wedding gifts (no GE toasters nor Tupperware here) and is culled from customer suggestions, management-observed trends and even the competition at David Orgell's and Neiman-Marcus.

Once strictly an in-house guide for salespeople, manager Rita Gold said, the list is going public "because what is out, is the wedding at the beach . . . what is in, is tradition, a church ceremony, a big reception and gifts of sterling silver, fine china and Lalique crystal."

Matching trays for those first breakfasts in bed, Gold said, is top of the 1988 hot list. They come as an ensemble with his and her's breakfast china, place mats, napkins and rings. "And that has evolved," Gold said, "to where we now have an artisan who can paint the tray to match the pattern on the china."

Wedding boxes, tiny, hand-painted, enameled caches by Limoges or Halcyon Days are popular. "They start at $55 and are rather small," Gold said. "But then you have to consider the size of the check, the diamond or the emeralds that some people put inside."

Picnic baskets--but only for two--can be custom assembled to include everything from champagne flutes through pate knives to a caviar chilling dish. Rubber ants? "If they want 'em," Gold insisted, "we'll find 'em."

Silver frames for the wedding photographs. Tableware designed by architects Richard Meier and Michael Graves. Even a helicopter or a horse and buggy as the extremes for post-reception getaways. All, Gold said, are list gifts promising memories much more elegant than anything by Water Pik.

Geary's, by corporate boast, leaves no sentiment unturned while smoothing customers' ceremonies. Even that last-second upheaval when Penn and Madonna were getting married. Preparations at the Malibu beach house were down to the last dab of after-shave and the first arrival when someone noticed that the wedding cake was missing a major decoration.

It was sans the traditional topknot of a bride and bridegroom.

A call went to Geary's. A Lladro porcelain of a happy couple was found. A salesperson drove it to Malibu and made the ceremony with only minutes to burn.

The reward--as promised by Madonna--was a front and center seat at the wedding and roaming rights at the reception, a position that the National Enquirer would have killed for.

The salesperson is no longer with Geary's.

It is believed she left to get married.

Bridal Fair at Geary's, 351 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. , admission free. (213) 273-4741.

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