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Photo: Target

Registering for wedding gifts is a pretty amazing opportunity—you pick the items you want for your home, your family members and friends buy them for you. However, there are lots of questions that couples frequently ask before they start registering.

Here’s a list of Registry FAQs, along with our answers to help you register for gifts—stress free!

What is a registry?

A registry is a list of gifts that you and your future spouse select—usually a mix of items for your home (think: china, flatware, linens, electronics, luggage, and more). Your guests can refer to this registry when purchasing a wedding gift for you—and the best part is, they’ll know they’re buying you and your spouse something you’ll like and use.

But I already have everything! Why do I need a registry?

Even if you’re more interested in receiving cash, many of your guests are going to want to buy you an actual gift no matter what. It’s best to guide them toward items you want (even if it’s just newer versions of housewares you own already), to make the process easier for everyone. Also, guests will also use your registry to purchase engagement and shower gifts.

When should I start registering?

We recommend starting your registry as soon as possible after you get engaged—believe it or not, your family members and friends are going to want to start buying you engagement gifts right away! You can always update your registry later if your needs change.

How do I know what to register for?

Think about the different rooms in your home—the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and bathroom—and plan on registering for items that would complete each of those spaces. Think appliances and tools for the kitchen, china and flatware for the dining room, and linens and accessories for the bedroom and bathroom, at the minimum. You can also register for home décor items, electronics, cleaning supplies, and luggage, as well as a few items that reflect your interests as a couple (a video game console, DVDs, camping equipment, and more).

How much should registry items cost?

Register for items at a range of price points. The average guest spends about $92 for a wedding gift, but you should register for items both well below and above that. Guests will probably want to spend a smaller amount for shower gifts, or go in on larger, more expensive items in groups.

How many items should I register for?

We recommend registering for at least two gifts per guest. That will allow for plenty of options for your nearest and dearest, and allow for them to purchase multiple gifts (for showers and other events) from your registry if necessary.

Where should I register?

Look for retailers that offer both online and in-person registries so that you can update your registry in the store or at home for your convenience. Larger national retailers with a strong online presence are often a safe bet, as all of your guests will be able to view and purchase from your registry, no matter where they live.

My future spouse and I are pretty laid back people and we don’t entertain much. Do we have to register for fancy china and stuff like that?

When you’re registering for gifts, think about both the present and the future. You may not entertain now, but what about ten years from now? At that point, you may have a family and want to entertain or host holidays. Even if you don’t think you’ll use fine china in the near future, it may be worth it to receive it as gifts now, rather than have to purchase it yourself in a few years.

How often should I update my registry?

Every few weeks, check in on your registry to make sure that your guests have enough gift options. If the registry is looking a little bare (and your wedding is still months away), feel free to add more gifts. You can also swap out items that you don’t like anymore, and replace items that may have gone out of stock since you first registered.

How do I inform my guests about my registry?

While it’s not proper etiquette to include registry information on a wedding invitation, we recommend including links to your registry on your wedding website. Include the URL to your wedding website on your save-the-date or on an insert to your invitation.

What should if I still have gifts left on my registry after the wedding?

Many retailers offer completion discounts that give you an incentive to purchase the remaining gifts on your registry yourself. Target, for example, offers a 15 percent-off coupon following your wedding. It’s a good idea to try and purchase at least some of the remaining items from your registry yourself, since they may go out of stock later on.

What do I do if someone buys me something not on the registry?

There is a good likelihood that some guests will purchase you a gift that’s off-registry. Even if you hate the gift and plan on returning it, you must still write that person a thank-you note. You can say how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness, without referencing the specific gift.