Once Kevin and I decided to get married, there were two things I was most looking forward to: selecting the venue and registering. And, since I'm not quite ready to share all the venue details, you're stuck reading about our registry endeavor (and, yes, it was quite the undertaking). Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a planner. . . yes, the compulsive, overly prepared type. So it is no surprise that I put A LOT of thought into registering. I started by thinking about my experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) with other peoples' registries. I've had friends get married at all stages of my life: in college (poor), during law school (poorer), while I had a modestly paying full-time job (felt rich by comparison), and most recently when I've had the good fortune to be able splurge for their special day. As a result, I've learned some things: 1) Guests want to buy you a gift that matches your lifestyle. I can recall several registries that contained $300 saucers or $700 chef's knives. That's great if you are likely to earn a spot on Top Chef (and have friends or family with last names such as Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Kennedy, or Walton), but I find it a bit disingenuous if you've recently shared a story with me about how you ruined a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. 2) Guests want to buy you a gift from a store where they are comfortable shopping. Here's where my confession begins: I did it. I registered at several stores. Yes, you heard me: several. But, let me explain. During the entire registry process, I tried to put myself in my guests' shoes. I thought about where my friends and family were likely to shop. My foodie friends know Williams-Sonoma like the back of their hand, while my mom and her friends are known for scoring tremendous deals at Kohl's (which, by the way, has some truly amazing towels by Vera Wang). 3) Guest like to score a good deal. After all, who doesn't? Bed, Bath & Beyond packs the one-two punch of both selection and value. It has everything in all price ranges (nothing is worse than seeing a registry where I can't afford anything) and regularly sends 20 percent off coupons in the mail or via e-mail. Why not help my guests save a little dough? Oh, and don't forget that BB&B will gladly order and ship registry items for free if a guest can't find it in the store, which means fewer gifts to haul back from an out-of-state location. Score! With all this in mind, I grabbed the fiance (who I must say was a willing participant in the madness) and headed out in search of a scanner gun. We looked high and low, considering a number of variables (have I told you he has an MBA in strategy?) as we began our quest for the perfect wedding registry. I had no idea how complex of a journey it would be (let's just say there are multiple Excel spreadsheets involved) . . . If only there was a store that had everything we wanted in one location. Over the course of about two weeks, we visited BB&B, W-S, Kohl's, Crate & Barrel, Macy's, Target, Sur La Table, Herberger's, Pottery Barn, the Container Store, JC Penney, Cooks of Crocus Hill, and surely some other place that I've blocked from my memory. We even went online to look at Amazon and the other online registries that have sprung up. Once the fog lifted, we compared the benefits for our guests and us before selecting the finalists. Some of our choices were simple; we know we love our Calphalon Unisom cookware so registering for additional pieces was a no-brainer. But, oh, how we labored over some of the other selections. The pizza cutter, in particular, was a point of contention (we're serious about our homemade pizza). In the end, we registered for both the industrial-strength rotary wheel and the macheti-style blade (my choice). We knew we'd selected the right places when we went back to undertake the actual process of registering. Our consultant at BB&B didn't flinch when I told him we'd prefer not to register for china (our granite countertops are hard enough on our Fiestaware). At W-S, they didn't press when we told them we could skip the coffee section (Sorry, Dads. You'll still have to BYOC when you come to Minnesota). C&B didn't hound us when we told them we already had enough glassware to outfit an entire bar (or four). And at Kohl's, the sales associate in kitchen understood completely when I told her we preferred Cuisinart-brand electrics that they didn't carry. Registering is an educational experience. It gave us a chance to think long and hard about our lifestyle (even though we've been living together for more than three years). As a couple who cooks all the time, we definitely placed greater emphasis on kitchen items than many couples would, but we are certain our guests will understand why. We also realized that although we love to socialize, we rarely entertain in our home. So, the cute little appetizer spoons and snack plates don't really make sense for us. I certainly don't think everyone needs to be as methodical about registering as we were, but we did want to make sure our guests could find something they were excited about giving us . . . and it turns out our wedding may just be in the nick of time. Now that we've completed the registry process, we've noticed a number of our kitchen items seem to sense their impending replacement and are making their way onto the DL. So please someone, we beg you, don't overlook the can opener!