We're all familiar with the traditional wedding registry packed with blenders and china but in our day and age with more couples living together before marriage than ever, what can non-traditional couples do for gift registries that don't involve a hand-held scanner or bone china? Here are a few creative ideas we've come across that we wanted to share with you.

Wedding Republic

While you wouldn't expect your great aunt to be willing to make a down payment on your new home, what if you could crowdsource your registry and allow guests to chip in on large purchases like a flat screen TV (for cuddling up in front of on those chilly winter evenings) and cooking lessons? What it offers Once a couple has registered on Wedding Republic and chosen gifts, guests can choose any number of "puzzle pieces" to contribute toward the happy couple's new life together. This means better, more useful gifts without the expectation that guests will be expected to fund an entire honeymoon or How it works Check out a sample registry here. Going off the sample, let's say the couple requests $1000 toward the down payment on their first home. Guests go to Wedding Republic and choose however many puzzle pieces they feel comfortable providing. One piece runs $83.33 (roughly equivalent to the price of a high-end toaster), so if your uncle was planning on giving you a $250 wedding gift, he can select 3 puzzle pieces. It's that easy!

Deposit a Gift

The great thing about a town like Washington DC is that you can easily move here for school or work, meet an amazing person, fall in love and get married all before your internship is over. The bad part? You may not want to get loaded down with fine china and housewares if you don't plan on staying in the area indefinitely. That's where a service like Deposit a Gift comes in handy! What it offers Deposit a Gift is a great way for the modern couple to get what they really want - cash. While some wedding purists might scoff at this kind of registry, most guests want their gifts to be useful to the couple they care about. If you think yours is the type of guest list that would not be at all upset by a plea for cold hard cash (in a way that doesn't come off as totally tacky), try this. How it works Instead of actually registering for items, a Deposit a Gift couple registers for virtual items to give their guests an idea of where their money will go. Guests then make a cash donation to the couple which is saved in a special account accessible any time the couple would like to cash out.

I Do Foundation

What about the modern couple who has all the housewares AND cash they need? Why a charity registry, of course! What it offers Couples who register with the I Do Foundation create a charity registry that allows guests to make a donation in the couple's name in lieu of wedding gifts. With tons of different charities to choose from, couples and guests can feel good knowing their gift is serving a cause far greater than $80 toasters. The site even includes financial information for each of its hand-picked charities, so you know the money will be used responsibly. How it works Just like a traditional registry, the couple signs up and shares their special link with guests. Unlike a traditional registry, however, the couple chooses a charity (or several!) near and dear to their hearts. Couples can also register to have a portion of the proceeds from any actual gifts purchased through their unique registry donated to charity should they still need a nice practical toaster and a blender or twenty.

Of course, if you're going the traditional route, this super helpful collection of real registries from The Knot is a good place to start. Remember regardless of the registry you choose, there are certain etiquette rules you are expected to follow based on where you grew up, the family you grew up in and a slew of other factors. In some cultures, it is offensive to mention the registry at all while in others, it should be expected that guests will shower the couple with money or food. The general rule (yes, this is still in play) is that it is unacceptable to mention a registry on your invitations but you are more than welcome to include any registry links on your wedding website or have your wedding party spread the word to your guests.

Happy gift picking!