I use to work as a bridal consultant and had to deal with this problem on a regular basis.
To be honest, nobody wants to be *expected* to give money as a gift (unless that is what is culturally appropriate, like within the Chinese wedding tradition). They don’t even want to get hints at it either, it’s just rude and tacky.
But, if you two already have a fully stocked functioning household, I’ll tell you what I usually told other couples in the same situation …
You have several options:
1.) One is not to register at all and just get stuck with whatever someone picks out of thin are for you – because they will, especially long lost elderly aunts. Sometimes you can return these items easily – and for cash, too – like at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. But sometimes you can’t – like at specialty department stores or artisan/custom shops.
2.) Another choice is to have a small registry of only items you have always had your eye on, but don’t “need”. These would be things like funky new throw pillows, wine racks, etc.
3.) A third option is to have the wish list registry (option two) items picked out, plus items that you already have, but that need to be updated. So, the wine rack and throw pillows plus new and/or upgraded pots and pans and a better vacuum. This is a medium-sized registry that sort of allows for wiggle room for those who want to buy a gift, but also kind of hints at “We already have everything we want, just throw cash at us already”.
4.) Finally, the last option is to just make a “regular” registry like most couples do (with enough items for 2-3 gifts per guest, of various sizes/price ranges/styles/etc). See what you get, keep what you want, return what you don’t. You may be pleasantly surprised!
In the end, no matter what you do, people will get you gifts, whether you want them to or not – and whether you actually registered for them or not. But on the bright side, no matter what you do, some people will also give you hefty cash gifts, whether you asked for it outright or not. So, no matter what, it’s a fairly even win-win situation, if you ask me.
Don’t stress over it. Just be happy you are blessed with friends and family who can and want to help you celebrate your Big Day.