From towels to tongs: U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ wedding registries reveal the colorful and practical

Posted June 27, 2012, at 9:40 a.m.
Last modified July 19, 2012, at 4:20 p.m.
Sen. Susan Collins stands with Thomas A. Daffron, a longtime Senate senior staff member and a consultant.
Susan Collins' office
Sen. Susan Collins stands with Thomas A. Daffron, a longtime Senate senior staff member and a consultant.

In anticipation of her August wedding, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins appears to have registered at the chic Sur La Table and the more modest Crate & Barrel, among other stores.

The couple is after kitchen towels, red and white. A lemon-yellow hand mixer. Blue and white queen-sized sheets.

Her tastes, according to two Maine wedding planners going strictly by the items listed in the online registries: colorful and practical.

Collins, 59, Maine’s junior senator, will marry Thomas Daffron, 73, a consultant and former Senate staffer, in a small, private ceremony this summer. Since announcing their engagement in February, details have been kept under wraps.

However, registries under Collins’ and Daffron’s names have popped up on Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table websites. With more than a month to go, more items have been bought than are left to buy: Someone’s already scooped up the miniature wine cellar, the gas grill and the lasagna spatula.

Prices range from $2.95 for white pillar candles (four wanted, none bought) to $395.95 for the Weber grill. Most items are $10 to $40.

“Crate & Barrel indicates to me that she has a strong sense of value,” said Diane York of Diane York Weddings & Events Inc. in Portland. “It also tells me that she likes color, which I think is very indicative — you see her and she’s always wearing a bright color.”

Amber Small, one of the owners of Sweetest Thing Weddings in Bangor, called the senator’s picks “really sweet and respectful.”

“What she’s doing, which is really, really gracious, if you think about it, she has two very different circles of who she hangs around with, people who live in Aroostook County in Maine and people from D.C.,” Small said.

“There are people from her roots and from her childhood and from Maine who are going to want to buy her gifts, and then there’s people like Hillary Clinton who want to buy her gifts and their means are very different,” Small said. “She’s not playing a Kim Kardashian, where everything is $3,000 for an ashtray.”

Collins’ spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on the upcoming wedding or the registries.

“Sen. Collins appreciates the congratulations and well-wishes that she has received from so many people,” spokesman Kevin Kelley wrote in an email.

Small said the registries indicate a couple who may be planning a fresh start or setting up a new home, with lots of dinnerware, glassware and cooking accessories.

Her take on a $29.95 white ruffle bowl: “Goes with anything; love it.”

Cookie sheets and cake pans: “That shows she’s a good American and bakes.”

A $12.95 cookie dough scoop: “She’s a methodical person, that makes sense. You can’t just eyeball it, you need a scoop.”

“I think she’s showing she’s a normal, average Joe, even though she’s in a high-powered position,” Small said. “Anybody who’s lived in Maine (knows) she’s very practical. It’s very true to her essence that her registry would be practical, as well.”

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