While writing thank you notes doesn’t rank high on most brides’ list of fun wedding planning tasks, I think it should – after all, you’re only writing thank you notes because guests have been kind enough to give you gifts! Thank you notes also give you a chance to express your love and appreciation for individual guests, something you might not get to do on your wedding day. Keeping the intention behind thank you notes at the front of your mind should make this task a breeze – yes, hand cramps and all :)
DO thank everyone. Every gift – an item, money, an event in your honor, or a gift of time or talent – should be acknowledged in writing. A personal, handwritten thank you note remains the blue ribbon standard. Remember that an individual note should be sent to each person who contributed to a group gift, and shower gifts should also be acknowledged with a note, even if you thanked the giver in person.
DON’T delay. If gifts arrive before the wedding, open them! A thank you should be sent within two weeks of receiving a gift (one month for a gift given at the wedding). Trust me, thank you notes are much less daunting if you’re only writing one or two a day.
DO put pen to paper. Yes, paper – no emailed thank you notes here! The stationery you choose doesn’t matter much, but save anything with your new or joint monogram until after the wedding.
DON’T do it all yourself. Involve your groom. There’s no rule that says brides have to write all the thank you notes. Ask your groom to write the notes for his side of the family, or write to each other’s families – it could be a great way to introduce yourself! Of course, bridal shower gifts should remain the bride’s domain.
DO acknowledge kindness. Want to go above and beyond in the “graceful bride” category? Weddings are often a group effort; you’ll find that throughout your engagement dozens of people will pop up with acts of kindness – your neighbor who offers you her rose bush blooms for your shower centerpieces, the cousin who supervises guest parking at your reception, the postman who sets gift deliveries on your porch instead of leaving them out in the rain. A thank you note or sweet treat will likely be unexpected by these folks, but gratefully accepted!
Okay — you’re feeling grateful and ready to write some thank you notes! Even the best intentions, however, can wither when faced with a tall, blank stack of notes. Thankfully, after writing piles for my own wedding, I realized there was something of a formula to the gracious thank you note – a recipe, if you will, that helps you cover your bases in each note and also makes sure each gift is acknowledged in the same courteous, generous, and personal spirit in which it was given. Here are my steps:
1. Open by thanking them for their gift. “Thank you so much for the waffle iron and cookbook!” If the gift was cash, I like the line, “Thank you so much for your generous gift!”
2. Elaborate on your thank you. Add a line or two about why you love the item, why you added it to your registry, or how you plan to use it in your newlywed life. For example, “Kip and I are really looking forward to establishing a big Saturday morning breakfast tradition, and we can’t wait to try out different waffle and pancake recipes.”
3. Add a personal note. If the gift arrived before the wedding and you know their RSVP, add a relevant line: “We can’t wait to see y’all at the wedding – just fourteen days to go!” If the gift arrived on or after your wedding day, that gives you an opening, too: “We wish you could have been at the wedding, but we’re so grateful for your support and felt your prayers on that day. We can’t wait to see you at Christmas!”
4. Close with another thank you. Reiterate your gratitude: “Again, thank you so much for the gift and for the sweet wishes in your note.”
The concept of thank you notes isn’t new to anyone – least of all Southern belles – but I hope this post might have given you a few new tips in your gracious tool kit! Wishing you all relaxed hands as you check this task off the to do list :)