A wedding registry is an efficient way to let guests know which items you want/need to start your life together. A registry also reduces the chance of receiving duplicate items, and may assist in keeping track of who gifted you an item should a card become unattached. Even if you already have all the household items you need, it's still a good idea to register somewhere; think home improvement store, or lawn and garden shops. Guests who wish to buy you a gift will appreciate having such helpful guidance.
Select friends and family may want to get you a gift as soon as they hear about your engagement, so it's best to register for at least a few items early on. If you're having an engagement party or shower, try to register 4-6 weeks beforehand. Again, you need only to choose just a few things; you can always add more items to the list later.
While it is tempting to register completely online, you should visit a store at some point, list in hand, to take a look at - and touch - everything in person. In addition to everyday items such as towels, sheets, and cookware, consider what you may like to have for entertaining and holidays. Now is the time to go for crystal stemware, fine china, linens, and a few pieces of silver serveware. You may also consider items to stock your bar…. and some awesome feather pillows or that amazing Dyson vacuum.
Since managing multiple registries can be tedious when you have so much on your horizon, it may be best to stick to no more than three stores. If many of your family and friends are from different areas, you will want to choose at least one national department stores or chain so they can access and shop from your registry online. These stores (such as Bloomingdales, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, and Crate and Barrel) usually offer a wide range of household basics, and at various price points.
In addition, many couples register at a specialty store, such as a local boutique gift shop that offers unique tabletop pieces, holiday items, vintage finds, or antiques. If your favorite shop does not offer a wedding registry, ask if you can have something set up for you, perhaps making a wish list of speciality items.
Many couples ask how they can discreetly request money, cash cards, or gift cards. While it's taboo to ask for money directly, financial registries try to make this less awkward. For example, couples can now register for their honeymoon through a travel agency or an online service. Some banks have programs that let couples establish a special account to which guests can give money earmarked for a downpayment on a future house. You can also register for furniture, electronics, skis for an upcoming trip, or building supplies and tools. Since home-improvement centers, sporting goods stores, and more now offer registries of some sort, the possibilities are endless.
No matter how efficient it may seem - registry information should never, ever be included in a wedding invitation, even though some stores provide printed cards for this purpose. It is considered in very bad taste, as your guests attendance at the wedding is their gift to you. However, it is acceptable to include information regarding your wedding website with the wedding invitation - which includes directions to the venue, available hotels and restaurants in the area, and your wedding registry information! It is also generally acceptable for the hostess of a shower to include registry details on that invitation (now you can use those cards!) Of course, if you are ask directly, feel free to share the information.
The FAQ's of Setting Up Your Wedding Registry