With so many stores out there, how are you supposed to decide?
Credit: David Meredith

Registering for gifts is flat-out fun. The thought of friends and family buying you some (all? Yes please!) of the items you've chosen is irresistible. But don't let the excitement of newlywed gifts get you carried away. While it's nice to give guests a few different retailers to shop at, the simple fact is that you can create too many registries. Here are a few things to know before you start scanning.

How many stores or sites should we register at?

Most couples typically register at two or three stores that they love. Choose just one store and guests may run out of options; choose too many and guests will be overwhelmed or feel as if you're fishing for extra gifts.

What's a good way to narrow down which stores or sites to choose?

Pick a national department store that has lots of household basics as well as a specialty store or two. The point is to pick retailers that sell different things from one another. For example, you may want to choose kitchenware and linens from Bloomingdale's, camping equipment from REI, and honeymoon activities at Zola. That'll satisfy your older relatives who want to buy you a traditional gift, as well as your outdoor-loving and experience-appreciative friends.

What about registering at just one store that sells everything, like Amazon or Target?

It's fine to sign up at only one as long as you have enough choices in different price ranges. But why limit yourself? If you're worried keeping track of multiple registries will be time-consuming, sign up with a universal registry like My Registry or Blueprint Registry, which let you add gifts from any retailer all on one website.

Can you just register for practical gifts like coffee mugs and steak knives and skip the china?

Of course. Pick out whatever you currently need, whether it's for your first apartment away from your parents or to replace well-worn items. But do think about the future. Right now you may not have any need or storage space in your tiny apartment for nice dishes, but someday you may own a house with a dining room. Think of how lovely your table would look with fine china when you host a holiday meal.

How many items should we choose?

Register for more gifts than you have guests and pick things in various price points so everyone has several choices. Keep in mind that some of your friends, like your coworkers or his cousins, may want to team up and buy you a fabulous group gift. Be prepared by having high-end gifts as well as low- to medium.


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