There aren’t many parts of planning a wedding that I have truly enjoyed, but registering for gifts that others will buy me has been enjoyable. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the registry process, but not to worry, I’ve come up with a list of practical wedding registry tips to keep in mind when tackling this aspect of the engagement adventure.

1. Start with general ideas of what you need.

Go with categories here people. Consider what rooms you need to fill. What do you or your fiancé already have? Where are you going to be living after the wedding? Before you even step foot into a store jot down a list of must have items for both you and your fiancé.

Wanna look over a wedding registry checklist? Here are some helpful links:

Bed, Bath and Beyond Wedding Registry Checklist

The Knot Registry Checklist

 2. Focus on 2-3 places for your wedding registry.

Not all of your guests are going to have the same budget, but many will spend more on you than you would ever spend on yourself. The key here is to give your guests options. The more options you give them the better. Try to select stores that cater to different price points. Also, keep in mind the geography of your guest list. If most of your guest are coming from a ruaral small town that barely has a Target, you probably want to think about registering there instead of that high-end department store in your city.

Before you get all scanner happy, be sure to check out the return policy. Some places are definitely easier to work with than others. My recommendation… Bed, Bath and Beyond. They have a great return policy and the sales associates there are great at helping you get started.

 3. Try to keep an open mind.

You and your soon to be spouse will most likely have different décor flares. Just like marriage the art of compromise will come in handy. If you find yourself at a stand-off there is no rule that says you can’t get more than one.

 4. If you want it, scan it.

Chances are you will be making many rounds of returns later. So, if you are on the fence about an item, my advice is to scan it. This also goes for things you would like, but might feel they are unnecessary (i.e. back massage chair). Scan it anyway. No harm in asking right? If there are certain items you really want be sure to scan them at multiple stores. You’ll have the best chance of getting it this way.

 5. Don’t scan seasonal items and think quality.

Be sure to avoid seasonal or sale items cause they probably won’t be around when your guests go shopping for you. Also, focus on quality. There is only one time in your life that you can ask for free stuff, so why not get something that will last a lifetime.

6. Don’t bring an entourage.

The fewer involved the better…you and spouse, not entourage. The more people that are involved, the more opinions you will have to listen to. These people don’t have to live with this stuff for the next 30 years…you and your spouse will.

7. There aren’t any rules.

Just because your mother is insistent upon registering for some nice china, doesn’t mean you need to do it. Same goes for sales people… take advice but go with gut. You are the ones who have got live with it later.

One final word, registering is time consuming. Be prepared to set aside a good chunk of time. I would say about 2-4 hours. Patrick and I spent 6 hours in the first trip. If you can’t make it that long, then stop. This is going to be a multiple trip process anyway. So when you stop caring, stop scanning. This process can be stressful at times, but in my experience this is also one of the best parts of engagement. So don’t hold back. Scan away and enjoy the process. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find yourself on a roll.

Got more wedding registry tips, let me know in the comments below.