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I always respect the "no gifts please" request as it relates to the function to which I have been invited, and that extends to cards and notes as well. In my mind, when the celebrant(s) requests no gifts, it also establishes a reasonable expectation that he/she/they will not be saddled with the responsibility to safekeep or otherwise keep track of items during the party. Let's face it, greeting cards cannot be easily tucked into a jacket pocket or any other type of pocket for that matter.

Perhaps I am naive to believe this, but it seems to me that no right-thinking celebrant or host would say "no gifts" and not mean it. It puts guests who honor the policy in a very awkward position and I can't imagine anyone who would intentionally want to create that kind of situation.

Mailing a card or note in advance of the party or on the actual date of whatever the celebrated event happens to be is certainly appropriate. In your particular situation, if you feel very strongly about giving a gift, I would recommend finding a common element between the two such as a gift certificate to a restaurant or a bottle of wine/spirits you are certain they both like, and present it to them on a separate, private occasion and on a date shortly after the party. This demonstrates your respect for their wishes and their other guests but at the same time gives you the opportunity to let them know that they mean enough to you that you did not want to let the occasion pass without giving them a small token of your happiness for their union. After all, that is the reason you would feel the compulsion to give a gift in such a situation.

As far as the birthday goes, I would presume that "no gifts" extends to the entire celebration.
 
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