Maid of Honor Advice
The Maid of Honor's Wedding Gift for the Bride
Amidst all the other sometimes stressful things the maid of honor does for the bride, when it comes time for the bridal shower, and then the wedding, she still needs to come up with a thoughtful gift or two. This inevitably poses the question of whether or not to stick to the bridal registry, a particularly tricky question for the maid of honor because, as a close friend or relative of the bride, there's a lot of pressure for her to give the perfect gift.
One thing to keep in mind as you're agonizing over the gift choice, speaking as a former bride, is that as time passes the bride will fondly remember how wonderful the maid of honor was at the bridal shower and wedding. What the maid of honor bought as a gift will occupy a much less important place in the bride's future memories. So don't stress about it too much! It's just a gift.
Of course, this still doesn't answer the registry question. For the bridal shower, I think it's much less important for the maid of honor to limit her gifts to the registry. Instead of giving the bride a place setting or towels, it might be WAY more fun to select a spa gift certificate (which the maid of honor and bride could use together!), a naughty little number from Victoria's Secret, or other romantic gifts. A friend of mine received a gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride at her bridal shower, which is pretty cool in my book. They'll be plenty of time for dishes later on!
Of course, the counter argument is that no one really wants to buy the inconsequential gifts like spatulas, garlic presses, or pot holders, but the bride still needs or wants these things. So perhaps a thoughtful maid of honor would take this into account. Or maybe a combination of the two is best. You could use a new pot as the ideal wrapping to contain a sexy thong or two. And it's sure to make the bride laugh!
As for the wedding gift, the maid of honor could go in with another bridesmaid or two to purchase a really expensive item from the bride's registry. I'm a fan of giving newlyweds their pretty new wine glasses because I know they'll have a lot of fun using them. On the other hand, the maid of honor is really the one perfect person to buy something that is NOT on the registry since she knows what the bride likes better than almost everyone else! At the end of the day, it isn't the most important decision you'll make. So spend that time on something the bride will remember, like the bachelorette party!