My biggest regret was registering for camping gear and sporting goods we never use. That includes the wonderful charcoal grill that has never been out of the box because we don't have any outdoor space in which to use it.
We registered for gifts aspirationally, rather than for the life we actually live.
-- stpauligirl, commenting on The Kitchn
Not everyone likes them, but wedding registries, used well, can help ensure you get gifts you can really use. But you'll want to avoid doing what ladyofshalott (another commenter on The Kitchn) did:
I got really ambitious with my gift registry and ended up returning almost half of the items I got because 1) I had no space and 2) I seriously wasn't going to be using some items in the next couple of years. ...Remember that you don't need to use just the traditional registries; all sorts of places have registries now. For example, some museum stores (like this one and this one) offer wedding gift registries.
In hindsight, I definitely would've made the list smaller, and focused on more quality items.
For those who don't want gifts, a nice option is the charity registry. Here's what one bride said about her decision to go this route:
I worked at a non-profit called GlobalGiving, which directly connects donors with grassroots projects. We loved the idea of our guests donating to amazing projects, in honor of our wedding.You could look at JustGive and the I Do Foundation, two organizations focused on charity registries.
My fiance David and I are in our 30s and really don't need stuff -- he's a gourmet cook and has tons of kitchen supplies, I own my own condo which is crammed with furniture and books and clothes.
And some individual causes have registries, too. When some friends of mine got married last year, they registered at Equality California.