Present Day

updated 07/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nine weeks after popping the question to Amber Brkich during the Survivor: All-Stars live finale, Rob Mariano is preparing for something as potentially perilous as any immunity challenge: choosing the couple's wedding registry. "All the girls I know had to do the registry on their own," says an impressed Brkich, 25, as the couple settled in at a Brooklyn Target, "and he can't wait." Ever the crafty strategist, Mariano, 28, says he has an ulterior motive: "If we're getting free stuff, I want to have a say!" The couple's July 13 registry excursion was just one stop on their hectic schedule (see day planner, below), which has included eight cross-country plane trips and 25 paid appearances, such as the registry gig that promoted a Home Cafe-sponsored sweepstakes. (One marketing exec estimates they would likely command S10,000-S25,000 for a two-hour appearance.) As for a wedding date, "maybe early next summer," says Brkich. Putting their All-Stars smarts to good use, Brkich and Mariano quickly learned that compromise is the key to keeping their registry alliance intact. "She'll start talking about thread count on sheets," says Mariano, "and I'm like, 'Whatever, as long as they're not pink.' "

THEIR WISH LIST

•Plasma TV
•Deli-style meat slicer
•Coffee brewer
•300-thread-ct. sheets
•lroning Board
•Stainless steel trash can
•Office reading lamps
•White and silver picture frames
•Decor baskets
•Magazine holders
•Cookbooks

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