After the wedding and the honeymoon, you have one final chore… writing “thank-you” notes.
The myth that a bride has up to a year to write all her “thank-you” notes is not true. Be prompt in your replies. Start writing “thank-yous” as soon as gifts start arriving. This may mean before the wedding, so be prepared.
While many etiquette experts say that brides have up to five weeks after the wedding, it will be less daunting if you do them a few at a time. According to etiquette guru Amy Vanderbilt, a “thank-you” note should be written within two to three weeks of receiving a gift – six to eight weeks at the very most.
TheKnot.com says, “The rule is that you’re supposed to get “thank-yous” out for gifts received before the wedding within two weeks of their arrival; after the wedding, within a month after you return from the honeymoon. Well, it’s a nice thing to aspire to, but I say if you get ’em all done before (okay, around) your two-month anniversary, you’ll be happy and so will your guests.”
Many brides end up getting stuck with this job. Grooms are equally responsible for this task (no matter how poor his penmanship may be) as they will be receiving 50 percent of the benefit from these lovely gifts. If you take turns writing, your “thank-you” notes will be mailed in no time. One option: He writes to his family, you write to yours, and you divide your list of friends. Another option: One writes and the other addresses and stuffs the envelopes.
Is your hand getting cramps just thinking about it? Set aside some time to reflect about your wedding, pour yourself a glass of wine (or not), get comfy somewhere and begin writing. Set a goal to write 10 “thank-you” notes a day during the week and 20 a day on the weekend until you are finished.
Notes are to be handwritten and personal. People cared enough to shop specifically for you and you should take the opportunity to thank them not only for their gifts, but their attendance on your special day. If the gift was money, it would be nice to mention how you plan to use it. Avoid going into too much detail. “Your generosity will be helpful when we buy our new home,” or “We are grateful that your generosity helped us have a terrific honeymoon,” is a simple way to let the person know how their gift will be used, without going overboard.
OurMarriage.com says, “Never, Never, Never, send a pre-printed “thank-you” card. When you send a pre-printed card, you are telling the person receiving the “thank-you” that their gift didn’t mean enough to you to even receive a mention in your note. A warm personalized, handwritten note, regardless how brief, tells the guest how much you appreciated the gift and how it will be cherished for years to come. Handwritten notes express sincerity.”
Use your invitation list as a handy address book and checklist. “Thank-you” notes should be addressed to the individual(s) who signed your gift card. In the case of a gift from a family, the envelope can be addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Larry James, and the salutation can be “Dear Cheryl and Larry.” You can make reference to the remaining family members in the body of the note: “Please extend my thanks to Kelly and Travis, and let them know how much we are enjoying the wonderful steak knives.”
Keep your notes short and sweet; don’t go over the top, or try to be cutesy and creative. Be brief. The best message will be very direct and will be as specific as possible. It’s okay to repeat certain phrases, since family and friends won’t be sharing their “thank-you” notes with each other. Classy note cards and the perfect, high-quality pen might even make the task more inviting.
Start each note with a heartfelt “thank you,” mentioning the gift by name. Here are a few “thank you” phrases that might come in handy:
• We’ll think of you every time I look at it (or use it).
• What an original gift.
• Thank you for the beautiful card and a present on top of that!
• Thanks for not only taking the time to think of me, but to send (or bring) a gift as well.
• Words cannot express my gratitude.
• Your generosity overwhelms us.
• You can have no idea how much your gift means to us.
• Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
Consider adding a line telling invited guests who were unable to attend the wedding how sorry you were that they couldn’t be there with you.
The real key to writing “thank-yous” is to stay organized – starting when you receive the gift. Keep track of all gifts received in a notebook, your computer, or on index cards. This will help tremendously when you send your “thank-you” notes.
Have a friend present as you open your gifts or give that duty to the husband. Keep excellent notes. They can write down what comes from whom as you open them. You should also hand write a special note inside each “thank-you” card, thanking the guest for their thoughtfulness and mentioning the appropriateness of the gift you’ve received. When you receive more than one gift from someone, each gift must be recognized with its own “thank-you” card.
Every time you open a gift or letter, write down:
• Who it’s from
• What is was
• When you received it
• Whether you’ve written a note yet
• When it was sent
If you dislike a gift or if something is not to your taste, you should still show appreciation for the thought that went into selecting it for you. Never mention that you plan to return it.
Put some thought into selecting the perfect stamp for your notes. It will make a “thank-you” note even more delightful to open. The current “Love” stamp would add a little romance to your notes. Be sure to put your new return address on all “thank-you” cards. Your guests will appreciate having your current and correct address.
It’s good to remember to send “thank-yous” to the maid of honor or matron of honor, the bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer, groomsman, best man, ushers, personal attendants, the wedding coordinator, the minister and anyone else that helped make your wedding day special.
Remember to send “thank-you” notes to friends and relatives who arrange showers and parties for you.
As long as your gratitude is sincere and your message timely, your note is sure to be received warmly. Always remember, an imperfect “thank-you” note that comes with heartfelt sentiment is better than a perfect “thank-you” note that was never written.
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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