So is registering for gifts before your engagement party so that you can get gifts at your engagement party resourceful or rude? Should anybody really expect a gift? Or a party? And if you are lucky enough to be thrown a party, shouldn't you just accept any gifts you get with grace and dignity and not say "but I really wanted this teapot in red."?
It seems fairly rude to me to register, especially if you are early on in the planning process. I will say that I wouldn't necessarily mind engagement gifts, but I'm not going to register for them! I also am not wild about people buying gifts off registries for bridal showers either, because I feel like that is not the point of the shower. However, the FMIL was saying tonight (she's here in the UK visiting her parents) that when she got married, you got a gift for your shower and then money for the wedding - although this was before people had really particular registries. Which does make sense in the traditional definition of a shower being "lets shower the couple with gifts to start their new lives."
Because of my animosity towards showers that are just a requirement to buy another thing off the registry, I like the idea of a themed shower. My sister's was honeymoon themed, my friend's is lingere themed, some people have book themed showers, etc. For my shower, I have been toying with the idea of something cooking related - possibly either a cooking class, or a potluck in which everybody brings a dish and a recipe for the dish and the gift is some (small) piece of cooking gear necessary to make the dish. I realize that I don't get to pick my shower, and I should appreciate any shower that is thrown for me, but since the MOH has already talked about my shower, I'm expecting one at this point. Anyway, my only hesitation on the cooking thing is that it will look like I want people to just buy things off the registry. So I guess we will see, and I will leave that up to my MOH.