My boss’s daughter got married recently. I have known my boss for a long time and we are friendly (socialize outside the office a couple of times per year). I was not invited to the wedding but feel that I should send a gift. I was thinking about something off their registry. I do not really know the bride or groom, but I feel weird not acknowledging this happy occasion.
What is the proper etiquette in this situation?
Your intentions are good, but buying a gift for your boss’s daughter and choosing something from the wedding registry seems like an overreach. If you’re invited to a wedding and you can’t attend, yes, buy a gift. If you’re not invited to a wedding and you want to express your good wishes, ask him where his daughter went on their honeymoon and whether he had a good time at the wedding. Giving a gift would likely make your boss feel uncomfortable (at best) and could come across as “you should have invited me” passive-aggressive gesture (at worst).
Even though you’ve known your boss for several years, it’s important to respect certain boundaries. It can work both ways. This man wrote to me last year to tell me that his employer asked him to put up a new employee at his apartment for free. He did it, but told him that it was only for a couple of weeks. Another letter writer felt weird when his boss’s son moved into his building and felt like he was under constant surveillance. As long as he wasn’t coming home drunk every night and making inappropriate comments in the elevator, there was no problem.
Your colleagues may also suspect that you’re trying to curry favor with your boss by sending his daughter a gift. Are we supposed to care what other people think? No. Can we control what they say by the water cooler? No. I once knew of a person who gave her boss a gift certificate to a spa as a Christmas gift. It seemed like a nice idea, given that they knew each other before they started working together, but her boss told her that she couldn’t accept the gift as it could be seen a way to influence her decision-making (promotions, hiring, salary etc.).
Send a card instead.
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