Thanks all, so basically you've confirmed my instinct is correct. Just don't mention gifts at all and don't worry what anyone assumes. If anyone asks, I'll just tell them we aren't registering and not to worry about bringing a gift.
I would say my friends will take me at my word but relatives will probably give something anyway and any gifts received will of course be graciously accepted.
We won't be having a wedding website and I'm not particularly comfortable with the charity idea - I just don't really want to direct anyone on how to spend their money.
Thanks for the advice all, I don't want to make my guests lives difficul but we really don't want to register and I do feel most of my friends will take me at my word on not needing gifts or money (especially the two or three that will be travelling for it).
I understand that you probably think you're being virtuous here, but there really is no honor in not wanting gifts. It comes across as pompous and superior. Just because being a gimme pig is looked down upon does not mean that lacking a desire for gifts for gives you the moral high ground. A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given.
I think that's rather a mean way to look at it. I certainly don't view myself as superior and neither I nor Kaymar said a single derogatory word about registries or people who register. All either of us has said is that we don't want to register and we gave no further explanation of reasons why so I have no idea why you would assume that the reason we don't want to register is that we are pompous and looking down on registries.
"A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given" - I agree with you there and don't understand the assumption that we would lack any such gratitude given what each of us has posted on the topic.
The reason I came to this board for assurance is precisely because I can't speak to my friends/family about it as the majority support registries and asking for cash and I wouldn't want to offend them and make them feel looked down on by me going against their opinions.