Today, most people getting married have lived on their own (or with their partner/fiancee) prior to marriage. Therefore, they don't need household goods like toasters, blenders, etc... to start their new life together. The purpose of such a registry is to ensure the couple has all the necessary household appliances and furnishings to start anew, so gift registration applies to essentially nobody these days.
I've seen such ridiculous gift registrations over the years, it's laughable. Not too long ago, some acquaintances were obviously using their registry to outfit him for his upcoming hunting trip. And none of it was in my price range. I do not want to fund his trip into the woods, thank you very much - aren't I supposed to be buying a gift for the newlyweds?!
Another annoyance is the overpriced gift registry. A couple to whose wedding I was invited registered at some of the most expensive boutiques you could imagine. My budget would have netted them one silver spoon from their entire requested flatware collection. The nerve!!
Overall, I think the process is horrible. Couple walks into store. Couple picks up scanner. Couple spends a day saying "I WANT!!". End of story. How rude!
I've never been ok with someone telling me what to buy for them as my a present/gift to them. It's presumptuous and tacky to simply give your guests a list and say "Buy me something I've requested here. Wrap it and pretend like it was your idea. Oh, and I'll know I'm getting it before you've even written your name on the envelope because I check my gift registry status daily. Thanks."
Here's my take: If you know me well enough that you've invited me to witness your special day, chances are I have some idea of what to get you. If I can't think of something, I'll give you the wonderful gift of cash or a gift card. But let it come from me; let me figure out what to buy you from me. Please.
If I'm invited because I'm friends of the brides/groom's parents, I can certainly address a nice card and stick some cash inside. I don't need to wander all over main street trying to find the only gift in my price range that someone hasn't already checked off your list.
Oh, and there is one exception. If I'm not that great of a friend but you're inviting me because you figure I'll spend more on you than you will on me for the cost of dinner, think again. If there's an open bar, I'll be there. And you will lose in this equation. I'll even buy you a nice set of $10 hand towels from your registry if that's what it takes.
Gift registry is a joke. There. I've said my piece.