There is nothing more appreciated than a lovely handwritten thank-you note. Some tips from Peggy Post on turning this obligation into a pleasure not a chore.
When should notes be written?
Contrary to popular myth, the happy couple does not have a year’s grace period. All thank you notes should be written within three months of the receipt of the gift. Ideally, a response should be written on the day you receive a wedding gift. If that’s not possible, set a daily goal. It’s a lot easier to write three or four notes a day than to have to write a hundred notes in a month after the wedding!
What stationery should be used?
First of all, stationery is the operative word here: No fill-in-the-blank cards, no pre-printed cards, no phone calls, no emails and no generic post on your website!
Who needs a note?
- Anyone who gives you an engagement, shower or wedding gift, even if you have thanked them in person. Individual notes should be written to people who contributed to a group gift.
- Anyone who gives a gift of money: cash, checks, contributions to savings accounts and donations to charities. Mentioning the amount is optional, but it does let the person know the correct amount was received. You should mention what you plan to do with the money.
- Your attendants. A warm personal note attached to your gifts to your attendants will let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and support on your behalf.
- Anyone who hosted a party or shower for you. Ideally these notes should be written within two days of the event. Each host or hostess should be thanked individually with a note and a thank you gift.
- People who house or entertain your wedding guests. A note and a small gift should be sent to anyone who houses or entertains out-of-town wedding guests.
- People who do kindnesses for you. The neighbor who accepts delivery of your gifts when you are at work; the cousin who supervises the parking at the reception – anyone who assists you before, during or after your wedding.
- Suppliers and vendors. You don’t have to write everyone you hire for services, but anyone who exceeds your expectations will appreciate a courteous note of thanks.
- Your parents or whoever is hosting your wedding.
Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Thank You Notes
- Do personalize your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift.
- Do remember that a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.
- Do be enthusiastic, but don’t gush. Avoid saying a gift is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen unless you really mean it.
- Don’t send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature; don’t use email or post a generic thank you on your wedding web site in lieu of a personal note.
- Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts by sending a note right away or calling and following up with a written note in a day or two.
- Don’t mention that you plan to return a gift or that you are dissatisfied in any way.
- Don’t tailor your note to the perceived value of the gift; no one should receive a perfunctory note.
- Do refer to the way you will use a gift of money. Mentioning the amount is optional.
- Don’t include wedding photos or use photo cards if it will delay sending the note.
- Don’t use being late as an excuse not to write. Even if you are still sending notes after your first anniversary, keep writing!