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The ins and outs of wedding registries: Why most gifts collect dust

Before you impulsively tack another request onto your wedding gift registry, think again - most of the items that you think you'll need end up with a much longer shelf life than you'd initially suspect.

It's no secret that couples tend to ask for gifts they'll never use, but author Stephanie Coontz is delivering us new insight as to why we can't help ourselves when it comes to these things.

"We have these tapes in our heads about how the wedding itself should be conducted, and what you should ask for. It's very common for people to think, when I'm married I will be like my mother or grandmother or like the fantasies I had when I was 10," she told the Boston Globe.

Coontz also pointed out that registries hail from a time when women moved directly from their parents' homes to the house they shared with their husbands, and with couples waiting longer to get married, it's often the case that they've already accumulated enough household goods.

What's a girl to do? Changing your approach to gift requests might help - asking for a CD you've desired for your music collection would be a good place to start. Then again, why not give back to your guests? Send them home with wedding favors that they'll use over and over again, such as bottle openers, salt and pepper shakers or fancy coasters.