Elegant bride and groom at outdoor fall wedding ceremony
Photo: Lev Kuperman

Creating your wedding registry is an exciting experience—no matter how big or small, decorative or functional, the items your register for will be an important part of your life as newlyweds and will give your home a special feel. When it comes to building your registry, whether in-store or online—or maybe some combination of both—it's all too easy to go a bit overboard, adding items on a whim that you ultimately don't even want. To avoid registry regret (and a whole lot of returns), follow these tips.

CREATE YOUR OWN WEDDING REGISTRY TODAY

Explore your registry options.

Start by doing your due diligence. Read up about what sorts of items and home goods are typically included on a wedding registry, and also familiarize yourself with some registry alternatives, like an online honeymoon fund, which allows guests to contribute to your airfare or buy specific experiences.

Assess what you already have.

Already own plush bath towels and some chef-worthy kitchen gadgets? Cross those off the list. Take an inventory of what you have that you love and is in great condition—as well as what your fiancé may have at his place, if you haven't moved in together yet. You definitely don't need duplicates! 

Make a wish list together.

What sorts of items are a priority for the two of you? Have a conversation with your fiancé to make sure you're on the same page about what registry items are the most essential, then see if you can't eliminate some others. Case in point: If you don't bake much (and don't have a lot of counter space), you might not need that freestanding kitchen mixer just yet.

Build your registries wisely.

Most couples opt for two to three wedding registries, giving guests options for both in-store and online shopping at a range of prices. To avoid duplicates and impulsive additions, try to give each of your registries a focus, whether it's keeping kitchen items together on one registry or making one gift list all about practical essentials and the other about decorative, entertaining, or otherwise splurge-worthy items. In the end, a little organization will make things easier for your guests, too.

This story originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.