Low cost “Think Local” bridal shower gift ideas

It’s nice to spend the months leading up to a wedding celebrating the bride and groom at various showers. But no one wants to impose upon their guests to bring multiple wedding gifts to multiple pre-wedding events while still expecting a wedding gift in honor of the main event. A great solution to this is to host a low cost “Think Local” recipe shower. The premise is easy; ask the guests to bring a wedding shower gift that costs under ten dollars and bring along a recipe that incorporates this item. Short of ideas for fun gifts in that price range? Check out some of these great low-cost shower gifts at www.poladora.com, a consolidated wedding registry where you can one-stop shop for products from local Chicago stores.

For $5, present the bride with a Pie Bird from P.O.S.H. Used since Victorian Times, Pie Birds are “vents” placed in the middle of fruit pies to prevent the pie from boiling over. Simply add your favorite apple or cherry pie recipe and you’ve got a unique and low cost wedding shower gift. Or, if you are cookie expert, give a package of parchment paper.
Printed with a baker’s dozen of bold bull’s-eyes, Bulls Eye Baking Parchment paper sheets priced at $6.95 from Northwestern Cutlery make it easy to perfectly align cookie dough and baked treats. And, unlike a roll of parchment paper, Bulls Eye Parchment paper sheets store flat in a resealable envelope making them easy to store in smaller kitchens.


And if you are feeling particularly generous, splurge and spend $14.00 on a White Hen kitchen timer by Mackenzie-Childs from Crosell & Co. and then add a recipe for the perfect egg salad (complete with the perfectly timed hard boiled egg). Or Folding Hardwood Salad tongs from Sawbridge Studios ($15.00) would make a delightful shower gift when paired with your secret Caesar Salad recipe.

And remember, all recipes don’t have to revolve around the actual food. Think about giving your friend a pair of Foot Petals Tip Toes ($6.95) from The Left Bank that will perform double duty and cushion not just her wedding shoes on the Big Day but will go great with a recipe for cooking any meal that requires the cook to wear high heels (anything French!).


And last but not least, Couple name address labels ($8.40) from Pixie Chicago combined with a recipe for writing a winning thank you note can add a polite and useful touch to your low-cost recipe shower. Bag all the gifts for the bride, place all the recipes in a binder signed in Sharpie by all the attendees, and the happy couple can easily invite their guests to more wedding events without worrying about draining their wedding gift budgets.


Product spotlight – for the true Chicagoan

We could not be a Chicago wedding gift registry if we did not have some typical Chicago items to register for.  So this week’s product spotlight is centered around all things Chicago.  Fortunately for us our partner retailers have a lot of Chicago products and here are some of our favorites.


Not Your Mother’s Wedding Gift Registry – Guest blogger

When I got married in 1986, my mother basically took me by the hand and told me what items my future husband and I would be needing. I created wedding registries at a number of Chicago-area stores. My mother guided me in the categories and choice of stores but left the selection to my questionable taste (my husband, known as my fiancé at the time, couldn’t have cared less). Every day china, Waterford goblets and stainless steel flatware we found at Marshall Fields; formal china in a Wedgwood pattern from Tiffanys. And, of course, I needed to register for my sterling silver flatware from Spaulding & Co., a Chicago-based purveyor of fine china, silver and jewelry that went out of business a few years after I married. The silver was expensive – roughly $250 a place setting. I hesitated to even register for it but my mother told me I would use it for years and years and should have something fine. Maybe someone would buy me a tea spoon or a fork. But I was fairly certain that any dinner I hosted for more than one person would see the table set with my everyday stainless flatware.

Ultimately, the bulk of wedding gifts we received came from my wedding registry at Marshall Fields in Chicago. There were many advantages to having a gift registry there. One was that they had a great variety of products in a wide range of prices. Even though I didn’t really need them, I was encouraged by recent brides to register for a number of smaller items; toaster, coffee maker, waffle iron (I received two and don’t eat waffles!); popcorn popper, oven mitts, covered casserole dishes and a bundt cake pan. The idea, recent brides explained, was that I could return for cash any items I didn’t really want (but were particularly attractive for gift givers due to either price or sentimental reasons) and put that cash towards some of the bigger ticket items I probably would not receive.

After my wedding, I think I returned ten crystal bowls, multiple salt and pepper shakers and a number of kitchen items I never had any intention of using (and in many cases, hadn’t registered for). These returns involved a number of weekends and a lot of dragging large boxes to downtown Chicago and waiting in line at customer service to return them. And what did I do with the cash? I walked down Michigan Avenue to Spauldings and purchased six place settings of my English sterling silver flatware.

Poladora would have made all this so easy. A consolidated online wedding registry that aggregates products from a local network of partner stores under one website, Poladora allows a couple the option to literally aggregate the credits from their gifts and use them towards any items within their network of partner stores. No time-wasting returns, no fears about registering for an expensive item at a smaller store and only receiving one place setting while unable to use credits from the big box store where you got the bulk of your gifts. Because, if it’s within the Poladora network, you can just reallocate your gift credits towards whatever items you want – be it a side board, payment towards your wedding cake or maybe even sterling silver flatware. Poladora; many gifts…one site…and it’s NOT your mother’s wedding registry!

Poladora is live

After working on this idea for some time now we finally launched the Poladora in the fall of 2011.

What is Poladora you ask?

Poladora represents a network of local Chicago retailers for gift registry purposes.   We have partnered with several local boutiques and stores in the Chicago area; where we reference all their products on www.poladora.com and people can register directly for any item of our partner retailers through the site.

In creating the network of retailers we were looking to find niche boutiques with unique items or experiences.  We believe that should not be limited by traditional registry choices and conventions and should be able to break free in order to get what they really want and need.  That is why it was important for us to have a wide range of retailers and not just tableware and homeware.  We wanted experiences such as Cooking Classes and Spa Services, Food and Wine, and Furniture.

Poladora is a Consolidated Registry; we wanted to make sure that the people who register get what they want that is why when people buy a gift it does not get shipped right away.  Instead we hold it as a central Poladora credit and the couple chooses how and when to fulfill irregardless of which store the initial gift originated from.  Like this a couple can consolidate several small gifts and purchase a big ticket item like a dinning table or make sure that they don’t end up with incomplete sets of plates and cutlery.

I founded Poladora in 2010 after unsuccessfully looking for a registry that would  allow me to have more flexibility and with less traditional items.