The answer to that age-old question—Can I return registry gifts I don't really want anymore?—is yes. But it comes with a caveat. You'll still need to thank the gift-giver for their generous present, and your note should make no mention of the fact that you've returned it (whatever your reason was). If you've asked for too many of a specific item, the thoughtful family member or friend will likely never know the difference, but if it's a niche gift and you've simply decided you no longer want it, they may wonder why it's not displayed in your new home. At the end of the day, it's less of a hassle if you're not in the position where you have to return any gifts you've received. Here's how to avoid that scenario all together.
Only register for what (and how many) you really want.
Why register for crystal barware if you and your crew drink mostly beer and wine, or consider red Solo cups as fancy as you want to get? You say your mother is insisting on you going the traditional route, which means picking out a silver tray or sterling flatware? Compromise—pick out a few 1950s-era wedding gifts that you may think you'll use down the road, and balance those picks with items you'll really do something with, like camping cookware, a TV (group gift perhaps?), and houseplants.
Sign up at an all-inclusive registry.
Nontraditional registries let you pick from an extensive menu of gifts from many different stores—traditional items like china, experiences like sky-diving and SoulCycle classes, honeymoon hotel nights, even charity donations. You'll be able to get a mix of everything in one convenient place.
Ask for cash if that's what you really want.
Why waste your time picking out registry gifts you never intend to use? It's also a waste of time for guests buying you a gift off the registry if you're only going to return it for cash or store credit. Let everyone know your cash preference through word of mouth (not on your wedding website). Have your parents, siblings, and bridal party spread the word, too. Another thing to do is register at a site like Honeyfund for cash gifts—since it's a registry, it might appease Mom!