Narrow down your list to two or three stores that reflect your style, and take a moment to consider your guests when making a final decision about where you'd like to register. If many of your friends and family live in a remote area, you might want to include a local specialty shop in addition to one or two department stores. Make sure at least one store offers your full registry online so that guests are able to point, click and easily purchase a gift from home. Ask if online registries update immediately when a gift is purchased. If they don't, be sure to check your registry regularly and mark off the items you've received.
Aim to register at least four to six months before your wedding so guests have plenty of time to buy you shower and wedding gifts. If a friend or family member is hosting an engagement party, you can register for a few items before the event takes place in case guests want to bring a gift. Don't worry about finalizing your registry right away; you can usually edit it as many times as you like throughout your engagement.
Finally, keep in mind that you should never publicize your registry on your wedding stationery. Guests can contact someone in the bridal party or one of your parents to find out where you're registered, and bridesmaids or friends hosting showers can certainly print it on those invites. Even though some department stores offer tiny insert cards stating where you are registered, resist the temptation to include them in your invitations. However, if you wish, it's always appropriate to add registry information on your wedding Web site.