Think wedding stress ends with “I do”? The idea of returning from your honeymoon and, like kids on Christmas, ripping through all your gifts sounds great! But beware: Your post-present high will likely be killed when you realize that you have one final chore…thank-you notes. The task of writing a personal note to ALL of your guests is definitely daunting, but it’s not impossible!
To help you out we have complied a handy survival guide:
Many couples are surprised to find out that the wedding thank you card preparation begins at the same time as they are contemplating their wedding invitations. There are several reasons for this. The first is that when you are gathering all of those addresses for the invites don’t forget to save them for later, because you will need them to send those thank you notes! The second is that once your invitation goes in the mail, often times gifts will start arriving from family and friends who cannot make it. So it’s best to have thank you notes on hand right away! Because of this we recommend that you consider ordering your thank you notes along with your wedding invitations. This is especially important if you want to ensure that your thank you notes to match your wedding invitations.
Do yourself a big favor: Save that list you complied when you were gathering addresses for your invitations. You will need it later! Make a copy of it at invitation time and put it away. Before you start opening all your gifts, find the list and record what each person gave you next to their name and address. It might sound tedious but it will save you time, and stress, in the end!
Set up a designated writing area. Make sure it’s a comfortable place, not too far from the kitchen or bathroom, with a TV or radio nearby.
Equip yourself with pens that you like to write with. Stay away from the cheap supermarket variety that make big ink blobs when they’re overused. Go for a more grown-up writing instrument — roller-ball pens are much smoother.
Write your notes in smaller batches. No one can write 100+ wedding thank you’s in one sitting! Better yet, write your notes as the gifts come in, instead of saving all your correspondence for after the wedding.
Address the giver by name and make sure to reference the gift they gave. Avoid generic notes at all costs! Speaking of generic, the rumour is true; wedding thank you notes should always be hand-written.
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. To be honest this is a nice thing to aspire to, but we say if you get them all done before (or around) your two-month anniversary, you’ll be happy and so will your guests.
Traditionally, thank-you notes are written in blue or black ink on folded ivory or white notepaper. If you choose, you can have your married name or monogram embossed on the note (but you shouldn’t use notes with your married name on them until after the wedding).
Be sure to write a few words about the gift so you don’t get confused and be specific: “Waterford Balmoral vase.” If the gift was money, mention how you plan to use it: “Thank you for the generous check. We are using it as part of the down payment on a house.”
Put a big check mark next to the guest’s name when the thank-you note has been signed, sealed, and delivered — this is the part you’ll enjoy most.
Lastly, don’t forget postage! Pre-order your postage and make sure your notes aren’t delayed by this final detail
Who Gets A Thank You?
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.)
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.
Thank You Wording Samples
Someone gives you money (note: make sure to mention how you plan on using the money)
Dear Aunt Melissa and Uncle Marc,
Chris and I were thrilled with your generous and thoughtful gift. You’ve brought us one step closer to our dream house. Looking forward to seeing you again when we’re back home for the holidays!
You don’t know the person who gave you the gift (note: mention that you are looking forward to meeting them)
Dear Mrs. Bergen,
Thank you for the gorgeous crystal bowl. It will look absolutely perfect on the coffee table in our apartment. My mother has always spoken so fondly of you — Chris and I look forward to finally meeting you at the wedding.
You don’t know what the gift is (note: focus on their kindness rather than the mystery of what it was)
Dear Jane and Tom,
Chris and I want to thank you for the wonderful wedding gift. You are such a creative, caring couple, and we feel lucky to count you as friends.
You already have one – or already exchanged it (note: don’t tell them you plan on exchanging it just talk about the gift itself)
Chris and I want to thank you for the vintage cocktail shaker. The Art Deco design is so sleek and handsome — you are clearly a man with good taste! We’re so happy you were able to make it to the wedding.