I spoke to a bride today about a number of details for her wedding and before we parted she asked me how much was too much to register for. She was concerned that her guests would think they were being greedy if there were too many items on their registry. She also wanted to know how many stores she should register at.
It's always a good idea to register at two or three stores. Make sure that between all of the stores your guests can shop online at at least two of them. You can choose stores that all carry the same types of items or you can choose stores that carry different products -- housewares, furniture, special interest.
As for how much to put on your registry, think about how many guests you're inviting to your wedding and don't forget about your engagement party and bridal shower too. Each couple and single guest will buy you a gift for each of these events he or she is invited to. So if you do the math:
100 people at your engagement party = 50 gifts, assuming everyone is there as a couple
30 shower guests = 30 gifts + wishing well items
150 wedding guests = 90 gifts, assuming that you have a mix of couples, singles and families
That's 170 gifts total! And you want to make sure you have a lot of options in items and price points, so register for just under 200 items.
You may not believe me but a registry actually makes it easier on your guests because they know what to buy you and what stores to shop at. So do them a favor and make sure to register and check back to make sure it's updated. Items get removed if they are sold out, no longer available or discontinued - especially seasonal items.