Talk about an idea whose time has come. (NASDAQ:AMZN) launched a wedding registry on its site last week. So, what took you so long, Amazon?

Not to be overly critical, of course, but the genius of an integrated online wedding registry that offers the entire spectrum of products newlyweds covet is difficult to deny. When guests increasingly travel for weddings, the idea of a centralized way to buy from afar is hardly rocket science.

This isn't some whimsy on Amazon's part -- it's big business. According to wedding planning site The Knot, 2.3 million people marry every year, and such weddings generate $70 billion in retail sales every year. (Tell me about it, says this Fool, who attended 10 weddings in 2000 alone.) According to CondeNast Bridal Infobank, consumers spent $6 billion on gifts from wedding registries in 2003.

Although easily accessible retailers like Crate & Barrel, Target (NYSE:TGT), and even hardware retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) now have online gift registries (just to name a few), the fact that Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock Amazon aggregates products from home goods to electronics ensures that both the prospective bride and groom can choose a whole array of products for their wedding gift list from the comfort of home.

Despite the goofy graphic of a bride and groom lying carefree in the grass on the wedding registry portion of Amazon's site (I have a hard time with that one), this seems like a super idea. Choosing the right gifts for the newlywed household may seem like an onerous task for some, but Amazon's about to make it a breeze. Guests who are going to do the giving will likely rejoice as well.

Amazon's opening up a new channel, and maybe even a new era of wedding gifts. For any couple who ever wanted to register for a china pattern, a plasma TV, a bread maker, bedding or linens, a home entertainment system, or an entire set of pots and pans, Amazon makes the perfect one-stop shop where guests don't have to schlep. Meanwhile, this might help bolster some of the features that Amazon already has that are meant to help generate gift-giving ideas (and sales, of course), like its Wish Lists. Again, one has to wonder: Amazon, what took you so long?

Long ago, David Gardner made a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. To find out what other companies he favors, try the newsletter for six months risk-free. If you're about to tie the knot yourself, get help with plans on our Wedding Chapel discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.