I Do Thank You: Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

If you’re like many engaged or newly married couples, the thought of writing thank you notes can make you cringe. This very important expression of your gratitude, however, can be much easier than you think with a bit of planning and organization. Here are some tips for making the job much more enjoyable.

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Select stationery you love

Have on hand a beautiful supply of {personalized} stationery that you really like and a great pen. You will look forward to the task much more when you love the look and feel of the stationery. Thank you notes for engagement, shower and wedding gifts should always be hand-written! Traditional etiquette calls for the note to be personalized with the name or monogram of the person signing the note, however, people often select off-the-shelf notes that simply say “thank you.” Also, many couples find it more convenient to use notes personalized with both of their names or initials so that either one of the couple can use the notes for wedding-related gifts. Keep in mind that before the wedding, the stationery the bride uses should still reflect her maiden name. Your married name or monogram should be reserved for notes sent after the wedding.

Write Early & Often

If you start to write thank you notes as soon as gifts begin to arrive, you’ll find it much easier to get through them all more quickly and easily. Consider setting a goal of writing three or four notes each day; otherwise, you will quickly become overwhelmed by the volume of notes to write. By sending a note right after receiving the gift, you’ll be better able to remember and capture the feeling of gratitude that you felt when opening the gift. For engagement parties, bridal showers and other pre-wedding events, the thank you notes should be written within two weeks of receiving the gift. For wedding gifts, try to send them as soon as possible but not later than three months after the wedding. {For wedding gifts sent before the wedding, the two-week rule should apply so that the giver is not left wondering whether the gift actually made it to you} Remember that each gift requires its own thank you note, even if you receive a shower gift and a wedding gift from the same person. Similarly, each person who contributed to a group gift should be sent a thank you note. Finally, if you get behind on your thank yous, remember that a late thank you note is always preferable to no thank you note!

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Get Organized

If you have a spreadsheet to track your wedding invitations and replies, add a few columns to the document to track gifts received and thank you notes written. As soon as a gift is opened, add it to the spreadsheet alongside the gift-giver’s name. Then, after the thank you note is written, be sure to mark it off! There’s nothing worse than thinking you wrote to someone, but not being sure. Remember, many couples having large weddings can receive upwards of 100 or 150 gifts! The more organized you are, the better off you’ll be.

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Share the Load

You can get through your list of thank you notes in about half the time if you and your new or soon-to-be spouse split the job. Each of you can send notes of thanks to your respective family, friends and coworkers. Don’t worry if one or both of you have less-than-stellar penmanship. A thoughtful and heartfelt thank you will overcome any thoughts about bad handwriting.productimage-picture-so-sweet-of-you-819

Who to thank

Be sure to show your appreciation to the following people with a hand-written thank you note:

Wedding guests who brought or sent gifts

• Shower or engagement party guests who brought or sent gifts

• Wedding party {each bridesmaid and groomsman}

• People who helped out with the ceremony {officiant, readers, ushers}

• People who helped in some other way {drove people from the airport, made food, helped

decorate}

• Hosts of showers and luncheons

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Words of Thanks

Think back to when you’ve given a gift and what you wanted to know from the recipient: that the person received your gift, that they actually remembered it came from you, and actually appreciated it. That’s what you should convey in your thank you notes. So when writing, picture the gift you received and the person who gave it to you. Be sincere in your gratitude, and speak from the heart. For instance, avoid the generic “Thank you for the wedding gift. We loved it!” Be specific about the gift and note how it may be used: “That vase you gave us was exquisite! It will look so beautiful on our dining room table!” or “We love the new tent you gave us! You know how much we enjoy camping, and I can’t wait to use it this summer!”

If you received a gift of money, don’t feel you need to state the amount of the check, but do describe how you intend to use it. For instance, “We so appreciate the generous check you gave us. We’ve been saving towards a down payment on a house, and this will be so helpful!” Close with a comment about the guest, such as “I’m so glad you were able to share the day with us” or “it was great to see you, Kara, and finally meet Justin.” Finally, never mention that you returned a gift, that you received others just like it, or that it arrived damaged. {The “ignorance is bliss” idea works well here.}

Signing Off

The closing of your note should reflect your relationship with the giver. “Love” is appropriate for family and close friends, whereas “sincerely” may be the best option when writing to your boss or co-worker, or to friends of your parents.

The Heart of the Matter

The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to express your appreciation to all the people who went out of their way, and spent their time and money, to do or give something special for you and your wedding. Remembering the gratitude that you feel for them and their kind gesture will keep you in the spirit and make the process much easier and far more meaningful.

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