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How to make the most of your wedding registry

Registering for wedding gifts can be a lot of fun. I remember the heady feeling that accompanied wielding the scanner gun. Choosing your own wedding presents — what could go wrong?

But my husband and I soon found ourselves pointing the barcode reader at increasingly silly items, some of which we actually received. I’m sad to say that many of the gifts we registered for were donated to the thrift shop two or three years later, after we realized that they were just taking up room in the apartment.

We had a great opportunity to get the things that we needed to help us start our new life together, and we blew it. If you really want to make the most of your wedding gift registry, take the time to really think about what you need.

Useless Wedding Gift Registry Items

“Avoid registering for anything that requires more space than you have to store it,” says Bobette Kyle, author of “Dream Wedding on a Dime: 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride”¬†and the owner of MyOnlineWeddingHelp.com.

High on her list of items that every couple registers for, but probably doesn’t need, is upscale china. Almost everyone registers for china, but do you really need it? If you do not regularly entertain small groups, there’s no reason to register for china or other upscale items, says Kyle.

“If you don’t regularly entertain, there will never be a use for items such as a cheese plate or more than one large platter,” Kyle says.

Kyle also takes issue with faddish small appliances. There always seems to be that one popular item that everyone registers for when they become popular. Quesadilla makers, waffle irons, fondue pots, donut makers, soda makers, and chocolate fountains all make her list of items to leave off your gift registry.

What to Register for Instead

Rather than registering for a bunch of “fun” gifts that you probably won’t use, Kyle suggests you choose items that you will put to work on a regular basis.

If you are moving into a house right away, Kyle suggests that you register for items that will help you keep up the yard, such as a lawnmower, weed eater or rake. For couples who love to cook, a wedding gift registry is the perfect opportunity to ask for a good blender and good-quality cookware such as knives that will be used nearly every day.

Items that make good additions to almost every wedding gift registry include towels, bed clothes, and other linens. You can outfit your home with what you need inexpensively with the help of these items.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a little fun with your gift registry.

“What I would ask for if I got married again is a pizza oven,” says Kyle. “I bought one as a gift for my husband a few years ago. We use it a lot and people are always gushing over it.”

The key to getting the best value out of your wedding gift registry is to really think about what you need and what you will use. If you are going to use that fun item regularly, go ahead and register for it. But if it’s really more of a novelty, or just something that you feel like you are “supposed” to register for, skip it.

This is your big chance to get free items to help you start your married life off right. Make the most of it.

What do you think? What are some wedding gifts you ended up getting a lot of use out of? What were some you wish you would have left off your registry?

(Photo: Flickr user Julian Wylegly)