If you've been reading for a while, you know that I fully support my brides and couples when they want to do something untraditional. Wedding invitations, and the etiquette surrounding them, are time-honored traditions, passed down from the generations before us. In the era of modern weddings, I'm all about breaking the mold, and changing the rules to be more relevant and better suited for each couple. Want your guests to RSVP on your wedding website? Great! You want to get rid of inner envelopes to save some money, and some trees? Absolutely! That said, there's one area of etiquette I firmly stand behind: hand-written thank you notes.
Thank you notes are quite possibly one of the most important pieces of wedding stationery you can send to your guests. A verbal thank-you when you see a wedding guest is always acceptable, but should never replace a hand-written note. Emails, text messages and pre-printed cards do not constitute a proper thank-you, and should never be sent to your wedding guests. I actually believe this to be true for ALL thank-you notes, but I'll save that for another post.
Over the last 7 years, I've written hundreds of thank-you notes. Between bridal and baby showers, our wedding, christening's and birthday parties, I'd like to think I've developed a fairly good formula for a thoughtful thank-you. Here are the top 4 things I include in every thank you, regardless of the event or the gift.
1 | THE EFFORT
Before you thank your guest for their gift, thank them first for their effort. While not every guest may have attended your wedding, you should first thank them for thinking of you. Here are two examples:
Dear Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom, Thank you so much for helping us celebrate our wedding day. We were honored to be surrounded by our closest friends and family, and having you there with us made the day even more special....
Dear Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom, Thank you so much for thinking of us and for your sweet note. We certainly missed you on our wedding day, but know that you were celebrating from afar....
2 | THE GIFT & HOW YOU WILL USE IT
After thanking your guest for the effort, you should next thank them for their gift by name. Please don't just include a generic thank you here - your guests will remember what they gifted you, and a reference to that shows you've taken the extra effort to keep track of each gift you received.
Adding a small statement of how you'll use the gift, even for something obvious such as your dinnerware or towels, goes a long way.
... And, thank you so much for your generous gift of our dinnerware. We are so excited to move these into our kitchen, and cook our first meal together. I love how classic they are, and know that we'll cherish them for years to come.
3 | WELL WISHES
Thank you notes are not all about the gift. The people opening them are family and friends, many of whom probably traveled quite a distance to your wedding, and put a lot of time and effort into a gift. Adding a note of well wishes at the end shows that you care about them and not just the gift they chose for you.
We hope you both had fun at the wedding, and can't wait to see you again soon! When you return from your vacation in November, lets try to plan a day to meet for lunch in the city!
4 | FROM THE BOTH OF YOU
This may be obvious, but any thank you note for your engagement party, bridal shower or wedding, should be signed from both you and your husband. I don't believe it's necessary that you both literally sign your own names, but including them both at the end is important. While you may have taken on the job of writing the notes yourself, the gift was for both of you, so please acknowledge that in your note.
Thank you again! All our love, Alyssa and Jon
Thank you notes don't have to be long to have a big impact. Taking a few extra minutes to write them by hand, and to acknowledge the thought and effort that went into your gift, will go a long way!
photos by Steph Schertz