Of course you know you need to thank people for the wedding gifts they give you, but the specific rules surrounding those little notes can be a bit confusing. Don't stress, though. These handy wedding thank-you card etiquette tips will help demystify the process and maybe actually even turn it into a pleasure. Grab a cup of tea and your favorite pen, and let's get started.
Send Wedding Thank-You Cards Promptly
Technically, you have three months after the wedding to send out those thank-you cards, but the sooner you do it, the better. Prompt cards make people feel like their gifts were really appreciated, and writing the notes soon after the wedding also keeps the gift and its giver fresh in your mind.
Give yourself the honeymoon to chill, and then get to it when you get home. If you have a ton of cards to do, break them up into sections and tackle a few at a time. You can also split the task up between the two of you to get it done more quickly.
Remember Everyone Who Gave You Any Kind of Gift
Don't forget anyone who gave you any kind of wedding gift. We're not just talking about the pile of loot on the gift table or the cards in the card box. Think back to all the gifts you may have received surrounding the wedding, including gifts of people's time and service. These are a few to consider:
- People who gave you wedding presents and money
- Those who helped with planning, took special photos, or performed readings or songs
- Wedding vendors that went above and beyond
- People who sent gifts to your home before or after the wedding
- Hosts of showers and other wedding events
- Bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other wedding attendants
Make things easy for yourself by setting up a spreadsheet with the name of the person you need to thank, their address, and what they did for you.
Use Real Thank-You Notes Written by Hand
Sure, a thank-you text or email is nice, but you need to send a real note too. These days, real mail is pretty uncommon, and when you get a letter or note, you know it's something special. Taking the time to actually write a message on actual paper lets the person know how much you appreciate the gift they gave you.
You can use custom wedding stationary with your names or monograms or have notes printed up with a photo from your event. Or you can just go the store-bought thank-you note route. As long as it is made of paper and has your hand-written message on it, you're good.
Write a Meaningful and Specific Thank-You Message
One of the most important wedding thank-you note etiquette tips to keep in mind is being specific. This means addressing the person who gave the gift by name and mentioning the actual gift they gave you and how you'll use it. It's also nice to thank the person for coming if they were at your wedding.
Skip the general stuff like "thanks for your gift" and try structuring your note like these examples:
- Dear Aunt Jane, Thank you so much for coming to our wedding and for your generous gift of a picnic set. We're planning to use it soon to go on a romantic picnic at our favorite park, and we'll think of you when we do.
- Dear Sarah, It means a lot that you came to our wedding last month. We really loved sharing that happy moment with you. We also wanted to thank you for the crystal wine glasses. We can't wait to entertain and show them off to all our friends. They're one of those gifts that will last a lifetime, too. Thanks again!
- Dear Dr. and Mrs. Nelson, Thank you for your generous check. We're saving for a down payment for a house, and it's going to put us closer to that goal. Even though you couldn't be with us on the day of the wedding, it means so much to us to know you were thinking of us and that you wish us well. Thank you again!
- Dear Aaron, You get the award for the most creative wedding gift! We can't believe how lovely the portrait you made of us is. It's hanging on our dining room wall right now, and we will treasure it forever. Thank you so much for sharing our special day, too.
Proofread Your Wedding Thank-You Notes
Before you stick a stamp on that envelope, take a sec to double check everything. It's a pretty major etiquette gaff to thank someone for the wrong gift or get their name wrong, so accuracy matters here. Ask yourself these questions before you lick the envelope flap:
- Did you spell the person's name correctly?
- Did you include everyone from the family who gave you the gift?
- Is the gift you mention in the note the actual gift they gave you?
- Do you have the right address?
If it all looks good, add a stamp and drop it in your mailbox. Then check that one off your list and move on to the next.
The Point of Wedding Thank-You Note Etiquette
Like pretty much all etiquette rules, the dos and don'ts of sending wedding thank-you notes are mostly about taking care of other people's feelings. If you can take the perspective of someone who gave you a gift and make them feel special and seen, you've done a great job.