The Do’s & Don’ts of Writing Thank You Notes

Now that your special day is over, it’s time to sit down and tackle the daunting task of writing all of those thank you notes. Here are some tips to keep you from going insane during the process.

altYou have cut the cake, tossed the bouquet and relaxed on the beach in the Caribbean. You are tan, happy and have returned from your honeymoon ready to start your new life together as Mr. & Mrs. But before you get too comfy in your new matching robes and slippers, there is still one very important thing the two of you need to do. You now need to write all of your thank you notes.

In today’s fast-paced, technological world, writing a thank you note by hand may seem old fashioned and a waste of time. You may be thinking, “We said thank you to everyone at the wedding!” or “Why can’t we send a quick but personal email?” The purpose of a handwritten note is to let your friends and family know that you have taken the time to convey a personal message of caring and gratefulness. These are people with whom you’ve have an emotional bond – one that prompted you to invite them to your wedding. You owe it to those who have taken time out of their busy lives – not to mention money out of their pockets – to attend your nuptials and bring (or send) you a gift. As daunting of a task as it may seem to write 150 (more or less) thank you cards, with a positive attitude, your new spouse by your side and these helpful Dos and Don’ts, you will be able to manage the task at hand.

altDO: Use special stationary. This is the first note your friends and family will get from you as a married couple. Get some nice stationery; thick sturdy blank note cards in ecru, personalized folded note paper monogramed with your initials or perhaps even cards that match your invitations. If you are crafty, you may even opt to make them by hand or stamp the cards to give them an even more personal effect. You might want to order photo cards with a beautiful picture of the two of you together on the outside and blank space for writing on the inside. Make your cards as special as your wedding day so the recipient can recollect the happy moment you said “I do” and all of the special festivities all over again.

DON’T: Use pre-printed or fill-in-the-blank cards. That’s just about as tacky and impersonal as you can get.

DO: Send your thank you cards out in a timely manner. According to wedding etiquette guru Emily Post, cards should be sent no later than three months after the wedding. The goal is to get them in the mail within four to six weeks after you return from your honeymoon.

altDON’T: Try to write them all in one sitting. Your cards should be personal, and writing them should not cause you to get writer’s cramp. Do yourself a favor and set a certain number – say 10 – that you will write each day. And if three months do pass and you are not finished…keep writing and send them anyway. A late thank you card is better than no card at all.

DO: Make a copy of your guest list. Make a copy of your guest list with the addresses, and as presents come in or as you open them after the wedding, make a note next to the giver’s name. Try to be descriptive. Instead of saying, “vase,” write “crystal vase with rose pattern.” After you have mailed the thank you card, you can simply put a check mark next to the giver’s name on the list.

DON’T: Wait to send thank you notes for presents you receive prior to the wedding. Not only is it proper etiquette to send a thank you within two weeks of receiving a gift prior to the wedding, it is one less note you will have to write afterwards.

DO: Personalize each note. Another reason thank yous are so important is that they let the giver know you received their gift. Describing the actual gift is crucial. It is much more personal to say, “Helen, thank you so much for the beautiful crystal vase. We love the delicate etched roses on it. We cannot believe how much it looks like our invitation. Every time we place flowers in it, it will remind us of you and our wedding” than to say, “Thank you so much for the vase.” You may have received three or four vases. This way, the giver will know you got their particular vase. Also make sure to let the giver know how you plan on using it, such as, “Thank you so much for the blender. We cannot wait to whip up a batch of margaritas with it! Perhaps you could join us for Cinco de Mayo? By then we should be Margarita experts!” Thank you notes should be three to five sentences long and make the giver feel warm and fuzzy after reading it.

DON’T: Mention the actual dollar amount of checks or cash gifts. It is considered in bad taste to mention the actual dollar amount. Instead, you could say, “Thank you so much for the generous check. We are using it as part of the down payment on a house.”

Now that you have read these helpful Dos and Don’ts, you can go ahead and rip open those presents. Just make sure to have a pen and that guest list handy when you do.


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