You’re finally married! The months and months of planning came together for the perfect day; the wedding you dreamed about. Now it’s time to sit down and write out that stack of thank you notes. Not the vision of wedded bliss you imagined.
Sure, writing out all those thank you notes by hand may seem tedious and daunting but with limited time to get them out, there’s no time like the present. I promise, you’ll feel so much happier once they are all done and mailed. Remember, you’ve got no more than three months (preferably less) to mail them out.
Handwritten vs. pre-printed thank you notes and why it matters
Proper wedding etiquette dictates that the couple should hand-write their thank you notes. While there are a plethora of pre-printed thank you cards available for purchase, it doesn’t make it right and often these cards can come across as impersonal and even cold. Taking the time to write even just a couple of lines can go a long way toward showing your gratitude toward those you are thanking.
Weddings today are not generally the traditional events of even 10 or 15 years ago. This change has not translated into thank you notes which are still considered by the wedding pros out there as timeless, thoughtful and meaningful. If nothing more, a handwritten thank you acknowledges a gift or help received and reflects the thought and time that went into giving that gift or time.
Beyond just a gift, a thank you note can also acknowledge the travel expense and time. Remind your family and friends that their presence added to your day and how much it means to have them in your life.
Plan and Prepare Before Diving In
I talked a little bit about this last week when I shared tips for Ordering Your Wedding Thank You Notes. The best way to start your thank you note writing off properly is to plan ahead and make sure you have all your supplies ready to go.
Good Planning includes having a stationery design picked out (and even ordered) as well as keeping that wedding invitation address list for gift notes and keeping track of who you’ve sent thank you notes to.
You’ll also want to be sure to have plenty of stamps on hand as well as labels, an address stamp or printer to easily add your return address to the envelopes.
Stay on top of timing too. Proper etiquette for sending out your wedding shower thank you notes is two weeks. You have a little longer for the wedding – no more than three months. Do your best to stay within those time frames but above all remember that late is better than never.
Finally, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Don’t feel bad about breaking up the thank you note over the course of several days. This means you can knock a bunch out an hour a day for a week if you need. Also, split the task between you and your spouse so you don’t have so much to do on your own.
My personal favorite is to write thank you notes as you receive them. Guests that cannot attend the wedding may send gifts early or a certain friend or family member may have helped with the wedding in some way that you may wish to show your gratitude for. This helps cut down the number of cards to be written and sent after the wedding is over.
The simple formula for writing the perfect thank you note.
The hardest part after finding time and gathering supplies is simply what to say in a thank you note. There is no need to write a novel but it is important to personalize your thank you note so it doesn’t come off as pre-written or generic. Be specific by naming the item directly or if it’s money, share how you intend to use it. Also, be sure to acknowledge their presence and how that in itself was a gift.
Taking this a step further, below is the 4-step formula for writing the perfect thank you note:
- Acknowledge that gift
- Elaborate on how you plan to use the gift or why you like it
- Make a personal connection with the giver and/or give them a compliment
- Repeat your thankfulness one more time.
That’s it. Four simple steps and you’ve written the perfect thank you note. Need a little help getting started? Below are a few wording samples to help you get those thank you notes written and in the mail.
Thank You Notes for Gifts From your Registry
For gifts given from your registry, keep in mind these were items you wanted. Express how much you love the gift and how you plan to use the gift.
Dear Aunt Janice and Uncle Robert,
Thank you so much for the serving platter! Andrew and I love to cook and entertain friends and family in our home, and we are excited to be able to serve our guests with such a lovely dish. It will look beautiful on our new dining table. We would love you have you over for dinner over the holidays so you can see how great it looks with our other dishes! Thank you again for being a part of our special day!
Melody and Andrew
Thank You Notes for Gifts of Money
For gifts of money there is no need to mention the dollar amount. Simply share how you plan to use the money.
Dear Great Aunt Alice,
Thank you so much for celebrating our wedding day with us. Kaitlyn and I were thrilled with your thoughtful card and generous gift. Thanks to you, we are now able to do some furniture shopping for our new home. We are looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving!
Josh and Kaitlyn
Thank You Notes for a Gift Giver you Don’t Know that Well.
Parents of the couple may invite friends or colleagues to the wedding that you don’t know well or a friend may have a significant other than you haven’t gotten to know yet. For this scenario, try to mention the person you have in common to make a personal connection.
Dear Mr. Williams,
Thank you so much for the crystal wine glasses. They will look absolutely beautiful on our dining table. It was so nice to see you at the wedding – my father always has such wonderful things to say about you, and Jason was so thrilled to have finally met you in person!
Andrea and Jason
Thank you Notes for a Gift you don’t like, you don’t know what it is or you already have one.
The key here is to not call out your dislike or make the gift giver feel bad in any way. Instead, focus on something positive and be more general in thanking them for the gift.
Dear Kristin and Michael,
Thank you so much for being part of our wedding day and for your wonderful wedding gift. We are so blessed to have such good friends in our lives and we cannot wait to get together with you when we get home from the honeymoon!
Kevin and Malory
Thank You Notes for a Group Gift
Larger items may be shared gifts by a group of people. The simple rule here is to thank each person in the group individually but be sure the mention the group.
Thank you so much for the wine fridge. It is going to look amazing in our home and it will definitely be getting a lot of use! Ben and I are so lucky to have friends that know us so well. We can’t wait to have the whole gang over to hang out and open a bottle or two!
Heather and Ben
Final Tips for Writing the Perfect Thank you Note
I’m sure you’ll have other scenarios that pop up that don’t fall perfectly into the categories above, but as you can see, they all follow the general 4 point formula. Below are a few final tips to make your thank you notes even better.
If you are coming up blank on what to say, ask yourself these questions:
- How did you feel when you opened the gift?
- What plans do you have for the gifts or how do you plan to use it?
- Why is the gift a perfect one for you and your spouse?
- How will the gift make some part of your life better, easier, prettier, etc.?
- Does it remind you of good memories, of the gift giver, etc.?
Not sure what words to use to describe the gift? Try:
Keep it Proper
Be sure that you are using the correct spelling (and form) of your gift giver’s name. If you aren’t sure what level of formality to use, the best thing is to go with their last name and correct title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.)
Close it Warmly
The perfect way to finish off a well-written thank you note is with a warm closing. Below are a few suggestions:
- Yours truly,
- All our love,
- With Love,
- God bless,
- Love always,
- Lots of Love,
- Warmest Thanks,
- With heartfelt thanks,
When Thank You isn’t Enough
“Thank you” may start to feel boring or in some cases, not enough. If you need other ways to show your gratitude, try some of the options below:
- [Jason] and I are so grateful for…
- We really appreciate…
- The [platter] is perfect! You know us so well.
- Your wedding gift means so much to us…
- We love the [mixer]! We’ll think of you every time we bake something yummy!
- We’re blown away by your generosity / thoughtfulness…
- We’ll always cherish [the engraved recipe box]…
- You really blessed us [by sharing our special day with us / with your thoughtful gift]…
- We were touched by your thoughtful gift.
Hopefully you are feeling inspired to sit down and start writing your thank you notes. With a little planning, preparation and some basic points for what to say, my hope is that this task is starting to feel more manageable and less scary.
Next week I’ll be back with some fun ideas for your wedding thank you cards.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about thank you cards, what to say, when to order or anything else, email us or leave a comment below.