Thank You Note Etiquette: A Tale Of Two Weddings
Thank you notes never go out of style! Whether your wedding is traditional or modern, elaborate or a simple affair, and at every budget – a written thank you to the people who helped you celebrate is always appropriate.
An etiquette myth says the bride has up to one year after the wedding to send thank you notes for their wedding gifts. That’s an unacceptably long time for people to wait to know that their gift was received – and appreciated. But how much time is does a modern bridal couple have to send out thank you notes – and what should they say?
Here’s a real-life example of two modern bridal couples and their thank you note story:
Both the bride and groom had full-time jobs, and on top of that were planning an elaborate wedding, honeymoon and purchasing their first home. The couple discussed the need to send thank you cards and agreed that she’d send thank you notes to her family and friends, and he’d send them to his. And nearly 2 years later, none of his family or friends have received a thank you note for the bridal shower or for their wedding gifts.
When someone on the groom’s side would tactfully inquire if their gift was received, the bride’s answer was, ‘Yes. It was his job to send thank you notes to his family. Sorry!’ And as you can imagine, she said it frequently and without guilt. The groom’s mother is mortified, and the groom simply doesn’t understand what the big deal is.
Both the bride and groom had full-time jobs, and on top of that were planning an elaborate wedding, honeymoon and purchasing their first home. The couple discussed the need to send thank you cards and agreed they should split the duty – but that in reality, the groom would never write or send thank you cards. So the bride took on the thank you card role, and the groom was assigned another job.
Within days after every wedding event, each gift giver received a beautifully handwritten, personalized thank you card that mentioned the specific gift, how much the couple looks forward to using it and that they appreciated the giver’s thoughtfulness.
If you’re planning a luxury wedding with every detail carefully planned, don’t skimp on your thank you cards! A neglected gift acknowledgment can leave a far greater impression than a fabulous wedding celebration – and it won’t be a good impression!
Wedding Thank You Note Tips
1. Buy Two Sets of Thank You Cards
Thank you notes should always be handwritten – someone spent the time and money to choose and send you a wedding gift, an email or preprinted notecard simply is not a sufficient expression of your gratitude! Style matters: you’ve spent a lot of time and money choosing the perfect invitation and wedding decor to represent yourselves as a couple, you should also put thought into your thank you stationery.
Buy one set of notecards monogrammed or personalized with the bride’s name for prewedding gifts, such as engagement or bridal shower gifts and bachelorette party gifts.
Purchase a second set of wedding thank you stationery or notecards with the married couple’s name. This will also tell your guests how you prefer to be addressed after your marriage.
2. Be Prompt
Do yourself a favor and send all thank you notes soon after your receive them – within a week for pre-wedding gifts, and within 2 weeks for post-wedding gifts. Put time on your agendas to sit down and sit write the cards – either one or both of the bridal couple. For wedding gifts, send a thank you when the gift is received – not after the wedding, which could be weeks or even months off. You’ll be thankful you planned ahead.
3. Make It Personal
No one wants to receive a generic thank you note – especially your close friends and family! Personalize your note by including the recipient’s name, the gift you received and a personal message.
4. Divide and Conquer
Two people conquer the gift list thank you cards faster than just one of the bridal couple. If one person has better handwriting, let them write the notes while the other person can manage the lists and tools, address the envelopes and lick the stamps!
5. Don’t Forget To Thank Everyone
In addition to thanking the people who gave you gifts, send a heartfelt thank you to people who went out of their way to make your wedding special, including anyone who hosted or planned one of your wedding events, your wedding attendants, the officiant, vendors who went out of their way to meet your every wedding dream – and of course your parents or other special people who planned, hosted or supported your big day!
6. Outsource If Needed
A beautifully handwritten note is a small gesture for an expensive and carefully chosen wedding gift. But if you readily admit that given your time restraints – or your skill at procrastination – thank you cards aren’t going to happen, hire someone to write them for you. After all, you managed to get the wedding invitations mailed – you can also plan for the gift thank yous! If you decide to have a close friend or family member do the honors or hire an assistant to write beautiful thank you cards for you, it’s better than not sending a thank you card at all!
7. Don’t Stop Until You’re Done
It’s never too late to say Thank You! Sometimes life gets in the way of the best intentions, and deadlines are missed. For Couple 2 above, a 2 years late thank you note is better than never receiving a thank you at all!
Sample Personalized Thank You Notes
A thank you note doesn’t have to be long or fancy – but it should be sincere.
Dear Auntie and Uncle,
Thank you so much for the generous wedding gift! We can’t wait to use all our wedding funds to help us move into our new condo – and we will have you over for dinner soon! We are both thrilled you were able to join us for our wedding day. We had the best celebration and we’re so grateful!
Bride and Groom
I absolutely love the wine glasses! I can wait to see them in our new home, and every time we use them, we’ll say Cheers! to you!
We can’t wait to share our wedding day with you!
Thanks so much for joining my guy’s poker night – and for the great bottle of bourbon! We’re both excited for the big day, and can’t wait to see you dance at our wedding!
Ask Your Wedding Planner!
If you have questions about wedding etiquette or how to realisticly get things on your long to-do list done, just ask your wedding planner! Wedding planners have seen in all – and have solutions for just about everything. At Anna Hess Events, we can help you plan every single detail of your dream wedding, or provide day-of services – and everything in between! We design your wedding, your way – so that you can relax and experience and enjoy your special day knowing everything is taken care of. Contact us to discuss your dream wedding – and how Anna Hess Events can make all your wedding day dreams come true.