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Fail and you proliferate the myth that bridal registries are vulgar and exist only to extort expensive furniture from friends and family. Succeed and you make your entire guest list happy and eager to buy you a gift in celebration of your upcoming marriage. It's true that organizing a successful bridal gift registry is a challenge. At the very least, while not turning friends and family against you, you risk disappointment in finding out you didn't receive many presents. Consider four tips that can help make a bridal registry work.

1. Think of something creative.
Registering for unexpected but desirable items is fun for you and your guests. Since it's presumed you'll choose more than just one store for your registry wishes, why not choose a store that offers something unique? Bridal registries can be organized with sports stores, art stores and travel companies. How about a honeymoon registry? It beats tupperware, and some relatives might enjoy buying you something a little more unique.

2. Be "Vewy vewy" quiet.
When gift hunting, it's very important to be tactful and polite when announcing your plans. It is not appropriate for the bride and groom to ask for wedding gifts in any way. So don't include registry information with your wedding invitations. Registry information can be listed on your bridal shower invitations, since it's not coming from you but the party planner. However, an even better way to spread the news is by just word of mouth. If you're really inventive then post the details on a web page. Anything else that doesn't involve impolitely asking for gifts is encouraged.

3. Plan for early and late shoppers.
It's a good idea to start your registry plan following the big "I Do." This gives your guests the option of shopping early, for pre-wedding parties and showers all the way until the wedding day. However, also make plans for late shoppers. A general estimate is one year after your wedding day to keep the registry active. It's the thought that counts and there's nothing so unforgivable about receiving a gift a few months late. (Though three years late, that's another story)

4. Be is a gift!
This should go without saying, but the worst has happened before. Though you have a lot on your mind, with the ceremony, arrangements and accessories, (oh yes, and the whole being given in marriage thing) be sure and thank all of your guests as promptly as possible. Thank you notes can be sent within two weeks for gifts presented before the wedding and thank you notes for gifts received on or after the wedding ceremony should be sent within a month after the honeymoon ends.

Gift giving is always from the heart, whether it's a spontaneous present or cooperating in a bridal registry. Make your guests happy by extending common courtesy and making the wedding an event everyone can enjoy.

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