In spite of what you might have read in this thread, I am not opposed to wedding gifts. In fact, a young fellow I work with, whom I like and respect very much, is getting married soon. I don’t think they’re hurting for money, they aren’t asking for anything from anyone, and I’m not even invited to the wedding (fine with me, I would have to find a graceful way of turning them down if they did invite me).
Nevertheless, I would like to give them some cash, which I hope they will be able to enjoy on their honeymoon, or salt away in the bank, or whatever.
To avoid embarrassment, I would like to make the gift anonymous. I am concerned a bit with the safety of the cash. I would like it so that either can use it easily (so I’m not sure if a Visa gift card in one name would work, can you do a card in both names?).
Anyway, what’s your best suggestion for an anonymous cash gift?
Don’t give them anonymous cash - if its too awkward, don’t give them anything at all or give them an appropriate donation or… But to give something anonymously is only going to add to their stress - “who gave it? why? Is this from Aunt Tillie who didn’t give us a gift? Is this from my little sister who is broke and we told not to give us a gift?”
I agree that it has the potential to introduce drama if it’s purely anonymous. If you were a friend I might say offer to pay for wine at the rehearsal dinner, or some other element that they’ll never see the pricetag of. But if you’re a coworker who doesn’t see them outside of work then there’s a lot of potential for that still to be awkward.
I think your best bet is to just tell him he’s someone you respect and wish the best for. Add in a handshake and a card and maybe a bottle of wine. Knowing you have the respect of your coworkers is worth something on its own, and if you give anonymously then that sentiment is lost.
There is never anything off or strange about a congratulations card, and if you want to add some cash, go ahead. Mailing saves any awkwardness of handing it over, and makes the response obvious - a standard thank you note.
If you’re worried they will feel obligated to invite you (I don’t think that would happen, but I understand the concern) send the card on the day of the wedding or a couple days before, so it gets there around the wedding day.
We had a nice gift (a rug costing $125 or so) arrive without any shipping information whatsoever (normally the name of the sender is on the packing slip) and it was a cause of some concern. I had a guess who might have sent it, a friend from college who couldn’t make the wedding, but he didn’t remember buying us a gift so… yeah, I’m still a bit worried someone went unthanked. (because this friend is a hair flakey and well off financially, that didn’t mean he DIDN’T buy us the rug…)
You said he’s a co-worker. If I couldn’t get a money order without having who it is from put on it (don’t know the rules down in your neck of the woods) I’d let my devious nature have full rein and hide cash some place only he would find it in his work area (be careful not to be TOO devious - you do want him to find it). For instance, if nobody else ever touches his work mail, but it in a plain envelope inside one of those big interdepartmental mail envelopes (assuming you use them) with “Joe Blow - Confidential” on it and leave it with his work mail. He’ll get the present a little early or a little late, but that shouldn’t matter.
Definitely! I was thinking this as I read the OP. Don’t give it anonymously (which as others have pointed out is just weird), but if you give it before the wedding, the co-worker may see it as a ploy to get an invite, putting him in an awkward position.
Some cash, or a gift card to a multi-purpose store (Bed Bath and Beyond, etc) in a nice “Congratulations on your marriage” card, after the event, is the way to go, imho.
Darryl nailed it. As a recently married person, let me tell you what anonymous gifts do: they make you and your new spouse spend hours, days or even weeks of valuable newlywed fuckin’ time going over your guest list to see who you forgot to send a thank you card to.
My wife and I got five anonymous gifts, and as a result we haven’t had sex since the honeymoon.
I appreciate all the suggestions. I’m afraid my problem with this gift goes deeper than I let on at first.
First, some history: my father liked to give people money, but only so they would feel some kind of debt to him. He never gave much to people who could afford to give back. No, he gave to people who really needed it. He would give more than they needed, and more than they could ever repay. He didn’t expect to be repaid. He expected to have permanent, inviolable gratitude from them. If they ever fell short of his expectations of endless gratitude, he would accuse them of being only interested in him for his money, and he would cut them out of his life.
This dynamic has left me with a horror of doing anything that even hints that I expect any gratitude at all. Hence the desire for anonymity. This guy at work isn’t a buddy of mine or anything like that. He’s a young man starting out, I’m nearing retirement, and I have enough so I can afford to give him something. I work with him every day, I respect him and like him, but we don’t socialize. Partly I’m afraid that me giving him anything at all will seem weird. Mostly I’m afraid of acting like my father.
So, having written all that, I realize that I am still letting my father’s faults run my life, and I don’t want to do that, at least not in this case. So I am going to man up, buy a wedding card, put some cash in it, and give it to him on his last day of work before the wedding.
I give anonymous gifts on occasion to folks who are having a hard time. I do it anonymously so that the recipient doesn’t feel beholden to me or feel the need to reciprocate. However, weddings and births are two occasions where gifts can be given freely, without fear that you’ve created an imbalance in the relationship, because it’s the social norm.
So I’d wait til after the wedding and then send him a nice card saying just what you said to us: “I’ve always enjoyed working with you and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you both a long and happy marriage.” Then enclose the cash (or check) in the card.
As long as you aren’t overly extravagent (I’d say $50 or less), then the couple would undoubtedly be grateful (and touched) without feeling guilty. Any more, though, would be kind of odd and they might be embarrassed for not including you in the wedding.
Sounds like the OP has this worked out but another idea would be to make an extremely low key attempt at a collection at the office, gather dozens of signatures on the card a d include as much cash as you like. Presto, semi-anonymous.
Aaaaahhhhh, as a broke and in debt office worker, I’d like to veto the collection-at-work idea, pretty please. There really is pressure to give, whether it’s overt or not. Getting everyone to sign a card is perfectly fine, though.
Yeah, really, that’s the way to go. Anything else is contrived. Go with the natural. I don’t see why it involves “manning up” though, since it’s also the simplest option.