Registries are a wedding tradition, not unlike a couple's first dance or the best man/maid of honor toast. But as practical as wedding registries are, many couples approach their registries with a degree of hesitation, fearful that they might appear presumptuous or simply uncertain about what to include on their lists. The following tips can help engaged couples build a registry to relish and utilize for years to come.

Building a Registry

Establish an online registry. Whereas guests once had to visit a couple's favorite retailer(s) and ask what remained on their registry, online registries now allow well-meaning family members and friends to peruse potential gifts from the comforts of home and ship gifts directly to the couple. Online registries even indicate which items have already been purchased, saving couples the trouble of returning duplicates while reassuring buyers that their gifts are fulfilling a need or want.

Share your registry information. Include it on your wedding website if you make one as well as on your wedding invitations. Guests need to know where you are registered, so share that information on your wedding website and include it on your save-the-date cards and invitations.

Register with multiple retailers. By registering with more than one retailer, couples can give their guests more options to choose from. Try to include one brick-and-mortar store, ideally one with a national presence, so guests who prefer to shop in-person won't be forced to buy online.

Don't be afraid to list expensive items. While few guests will break the bank to buy wedding gifts, that does not mean couples should avoid including expensive items on their registries. Some couples might feel it's inappropriate, but it can actually prove practical. Many stores offer couples steep discounts on items they listed on their registries that ultimately were not purchased. If you have your eye on an especially expensive item, include it on your list without worrying about how it may look to your guests, as they will understand when you explain the post-wedding discount you're eligible for.

Don't limit your registry to expensive items. While it's perfectly acceptable to include expensive items on your registry, remember that variety is the spice of life when adding items to your registry. Include items at a range of price points for guests working with various budgets. Don't hesitate to include low-cost items, as some guests may enjoy building a wedding gift basket with various affordable items from your registry.

Remember that no gift is too obscure. Thanks to the internet, just about any item can now be tracked down by ambitious gift givers. If you want to include items that might not be available at run-of-the-mill retailers, choose an online retailer such as Amazon to host one of your registries. Such sites are great places to find specialty items or more obscure offerings that might be out of stock at more traditional retailers.

Encourage donations. If you are truly hesitant to ask for gifts or you're tying the knot later in life and already have everything you need, encourage guests to donate to a favorite charity in lieu of making a donation. Sites like help guests contribute to the honeymoon, and there are a variety of other sites available.

A wedding registry provides a practical way for well-meaning wedding guests to show their love for brides- and grooms-to-be.

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