I've been invited to two weddings recently. Each young couple had their own ideas when it came to presents. Neither has a registry. Instead, one would like their invitees to make a donation to a charity. The other didn't register at all. I say to this couple to prepare for multiple toasters and blenders. Did they not register because they didn't want guests to think they were getting married just for the goodies? Or did they not register because that was too old school? Or did they prefer money but didn't want to be gauche and say that?
When couples marry, especially young couples, their friends and family want to celebrate their union, they want to help them start up their new lives together. Yvette and I think the right thing to do is to let them have that pleasure. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. There's enough stress surrounding a wedding. Why stress your guests by not letting them know what you need or would like? If you really don't want anything. Then why not just say on the invite, "No presents, please."? Or let your parents and close family members deliver the request.
As for asking guests to give to charity - Yvette and I have issues with that. First, it comes off as self serving. Let your guests decide to whom they want to give and when. You're getting married, be happy and revel in the festivities instead of thinking of the needy. If you wanted to give something, tally up what the cost of the wedding and donate that amount to your favorite charity, sort of a matching fund. No doubt, there is something say for thinking of those in need in these trying times. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and there will always be ample opportunity to give. In all fairness to this couple, they are marrying in another country and I truly believe they are being considerate to guests who will be spending money on travel, hotel and meals - and they probably don't need much. They'll probably receive some presents anyway.
Marriage is about two people embarking on a life journey together. A wedding is about a party to celebrate that union. Your guests will get all gussied up and excited for you and just like you want to show off the beginning of your new life, they want to show off with something that will contribute to that union. it could come in an envelope or in a beautifully wrapped box. There's nothing wrong with a gift of love.