Selecting potential gifts is fun, but it also requires planning on the couple's part

Who wouldn’t feel like a kid in a candy store? Scanner gun in-hand, free to roam a store’s aisles, capturing data on any and all items that you’d like to receive from your wedding guests.

Establishing gift registries definitely is one of the perks of planning your wedding – and one of the few times you don’t have to whip out your credit card – but you do have to put your childlike excitement on hold long enough to ponder some grown-up considerations, or you could risk ending up with a bread maker you’ve no intention of using, or even alienating some of your guests.

Registries, whereby couples list items they’d like to receive as shower or wedding gifts are an old custom. But while your mother and grandmother [registries used to be the concern only of the bride] sat down with a consultant who helped them indicate specific choice from prescribed categories like “good china” and “table linens,” you’ll probably select together, from a virtual world of possibilities.

“Because of technology, almost anything can be put on your registry,” notes Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com, a universal registry service.

Choice is grand, unless too much of it confuses. Establishing a registry is a catalyst for some serious planning about where and how long you’ll live in a particular place, says Alene Workman, a Hollywood, Fla.-based interior designer.

“If you know you’ll be staying [in your home] five years or more, that makes a difference – you can add more expensive things you‘ll be keeping,” she explains. For those with a short-term horizon, registering for essentials like sheets and towels makes sense.

If each partner has lived on their own for some time, they may have to agree to edit each other’s possessions, coming to agreement on what goes into their married home. Workman advises those couples who already own items to take photos and fabric swatches when they register at a store, “the consultant may help you coordinate with what you have,” she explains. Don’t forget room dimensions, either, since you don’t want to be stuck with anything too big or small.

“As long as you register for items in a wide range of prices, such as a couple of dozen items under $25, and more under $50, $100, and so on, you’re giving your guests a great range of options,” says Sharon Naylor, author of “The Bride’s Survival Guide” (Adams, 2009).

Many people often log onto a couple’s registry for gifts for other occasions, adds Lee. “That’s another reason you would want to have some lower priced items, since people are using registries for housewarmings or birthdays.”

Asking Politely

“It’s still proper etiquette to include a registry card only in shower invitations, never in wedding invitations,” adds Naylor. “However, more brides and grooms are sending ‘Save the Date’ cards that include the URL of their personal wedding website … where there’s a registry link.”

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