1. Don’t over-think the process.
Between your dress, your showers, your bridesmaids, and everything else there is to worry about before the Big Day, the last thing you need to do is break down in a department store (or at your computer) over which silver frame to choose. You can always take things back!
2. Don't forget about the groom.
They may say they don't care, but that's a big lie! In the midst of the registry mayhem, remember to include your fiancé...that's why you're registering, right? If he doesn't want to join you in the scanning and shopping, ask him if there are any items that he would like for you to add to the list that he would enjoy. (Trust me. You'll earn brownie points for this move.)
3. But...don't go it alone.
Department/retail stores and some of the employees can be intimidating and overwhelming -- especially when you have a million other things on your mind. I took my mom and sisters along, and they were a huge help! While I scanned (or clicked), they held on to the lists of things I had or hadn't already registered for, so the process went smoother than expected. And, we got to celebrate with drinks and appetizers at the end of the day!
4. Don't register at every store under the sun.
Although certain family members may want you to register at places you've never even heard of -- stick to your guns. Pick a few of your favorite stores or boutiques. This will make it easier to register, and much easier to make returns. After all, the gifts will be going in your home, and you know more about your personal decorating style than anyone else.
5. Don't be afraid to work the system.
This is advice that the registry assistant at Macy's told me, and I should have followed it more closely. Many of the larger department/retail stores offer free gifts and discounts with participating vendors (i.e. if you register and receive a knife set from a company, you'll get extra knives for free). Take a few minutes to read the information they give you and plan accordingly.
6. Don't keep gifts you really don't want or need.
I must confess. I went a bit overboard with my registries. For some reason (or lack of reasoning), I thought we would need a place setting , glassware, and appliances from several different shops. And then, when I received the gifts and knew I wouldn't use them, I felt guilty for returning them. But, the fact of the matter is that you can't keep every gift, and you're really not expected to. Don't feel bad about making returns. Everyone does it.
7. Don't return gifts one at a time.
Once you register, you'd be surprised at how quickly the gifts start rolling in. Suppress the urge to take back duplicates or those gifts that "just don't go with your decor," and wait to take them back in bulk...after the chaos of the engagement and wedding have subsided. You'll save yourself time, effort, and most of all, your sanity.
Dawn Williams, Associate Editor