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!

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