Bridal registries are great for the couple, sure...but completely lame to give as a gift. Opening a present to find a pizza stone or set of spoons is slightly dull to say the least. The giftcard offers an easy alternative, but again, slightly dull.
May I suggest my recent gifting upgrades? Pairing the registered cookbook with fun pasta or pairing those crystal wine glasses with a local/favorite wine.
Gifts go from impersonal to personal, from lame to totally game. Still the best of both worlds, what they want plus a small surprise! This also allows for a lot of play when the budget is tight. A $15 toaster is not so cheap when paired with some homemade jams, and no one knows your favorite wine is $5 a bottle. Here is a quick list of pairing ideas:
Cookbook > pasta/sauce, or another relevant nonperishable
Wine glasses > wine
Toaster > homemade jam
Coffee pot > your favorite coffee beans
Beer/Margarita glasses > local beer or tequila
Cookie sheets > your favorite cookies or recipe
Tiered serving tray > various candies and snacks
Cloth napkins > napkin rings
Tea kettle > favorite tea
Bath towels > favorite hand soap