Q&A

Q. How do I register for shower gifts? My friends are on a budget and I'm worried that they'll spend too much.

A. Most stores won't allow you to have separate registries for shower and wedding presents. However, if you make an effort to include lots of low-priced items on your list, like picture frames and dishtowels (not just housewares like pots and pans), your pals should recognize that these are meant for the bridal shower. Another helpful tactic: When you pick your fine china, request that the registry make clear that your choices are available piece by piece, as well as in complete place settings.

Q. My fiancé wants to register online, but I really want the whole experience of looking around a store and choosing gifts in person. What should I do?

A. Going to a store to pick your presents is not only an exciting part of getting married, it's a necessity in most cases. No one should decide on something as important and costly as bone china or crystal stemware without seeing it firsthand. That's true even for everyday items: How fluffy are those towels you're considering? How soft are those sheets? How hefty is that stainless-steel knife? Visit a store without your fiancé to see everything, then go online to show him your top choices. You could either go back to the store to register or do it online.

Q. Which are the most essential pieces of cookware? We won't have much space for storage in our home.

A. Even if you're not planning on whipping up six-course extravaganzas to impress your in-laws every weekend, you'll need several pots to make most everyday meals. Register for two 10-to-12-inch skillets: one with a nonstick surface, the other a stainless-steel or anodized-aluminum frying pan. Then select at least one saucepan (the 2-quart size is the most versatile), a 6-quart stockpot and a large Dutch oven made of cast iron or enamel. And don't close out your list until you sign up for tight-fitting lids to match each pansometimes sold separately.

Q. We want to put a DVD player on our list, but the store where we're registering doesn't have an electronics department. What can we do?

A. Set up an additional registry at an electronics store. Just be sure to choose items at various price levels; you don't want people to be frustrated by a lack of moderately priced gifts, or by an emphasis on very expensive merchandise. And though duplication is unlikely, compare your lists from the two stores to avoid ending up with two microwaves, for instance.

Q. How can I make my registry available to friends living abroad?

A. Signing up with stores that offer online registries is the most obvious solution, but don't assume that everyone has easy access to the Internet. You may want to register with a firm that has branches around the world; companies with an international presence include Lalique, Tiffany & Co., Villeroy & Boch, and Bodum. Another option: Enlist one of your pals from abroad to help you register at a store that's conveniently located for most of your foreign contingent. And make sure the shop ships to the United States.

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