Why you should start thinking about thank you cards BEFORE your wedding

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thank you card ideas on offbeat bride

You ladies know me: I'm really not one to talk that much about “shoulds” or “gottas” around weddings. But there's one “should” that I feel the need to emphasize: You really should send thank you cards for all gifts received during the course of planning your wedding within two months of the wedding itself.

First, a word about why. Yes, it's courteous. Yes, it's a way of showing how much you truly appreciate people's generosity. We all know these things and honestly, they should be enough to motivate each of us to carve out a couple nights to sit down with the new spouse and get to work on some cards.

But in the era of gifts ordered online and honeymoon registries, it's more than just common-sense courtesy: you're letting your guests know that their digital gifts actually arrived. Even geeks who are totally comfortable with online tools want to know, “Did that theoretical bottle of wine I gave them by contributing to their honeymoon fund actually get purchased? Did that money I sent actually get to them? Did that thing from Amazon ever get delivered?” Aunt Nan can sneak over and see if the candlesticks she gave you are in the dining room. Guests who donated to honeymoon funds or gave you the tandem skydiving trip from across the country genuinely have no idea if you received their gift. A thank you is about more than just being courteous, it's about confirming “Yes, it got here.”

Then there's the issue of what constitutes a “gift.” Did your 15-year-old cousin help you with your iPod playlist? That's a gift. Send 'em a card. Did your college friend give you a blender, but then also spend half the reception tending after your vomiting drunk uncle? Send 'em a card, and acknowledge BOTH gifts. Did your coworker who wasn't invited to your family-only destination wedding help you surreptitiously print out programs on the office printer? Send 'em a card. When in doubt, anyone who made your wedding planning easier or smiled at you when you were freaking out? Send 'em a card.

The nice thing about Thank Yous is that they can never be too big … you can never over-thank someone, even if their gift was small. Even if it wasn't a “gift” and they've already forgotten about it.

And if their contribution came via the web or an online registry, you definitely need to let them know that A) you got it and B) you appreciated it!

Even if you're a year out from your wedding, start your thank you list now. No help is too big or too small. Then, a month after the wedding when you're like “Aw man, thank you cards?,” sit down with your list and remember all the little ways that all these people made your wedding planning better. And send 'em a card.

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Comments on Why you should start thinking about thank you cards BEFORE your wedding

  1. I have already started sending out my cards for totally bizarre items! Thank you for helping me look at reception venues. Thank you for letting my fiance take a nap at your house (wedding venue shopping tuckers him out). Thank you for sending me 15 CDs with workout music collected by your Ultimate Fighting husband. Thank you for e-mailing me tons of on-line resources. Thank you for appreciating the music I selected on nearlyweds, (Pussy Control by Prince thankyouverymuch). Besides, I was so excited to get really cool new stationary for this very purpose! I heart new stationary! Everyone loves a thank you note – that's one place where my mother and I are in full agreement!

  2. AMEN. I never consider myself a stickler for the finer points of old-fashioned etiquette, but I've purchased 8 wedding gifts in the last few years, and received two thank you notes. For my college roommate, I can just annoy her and say, "OY. Did you get the mugs and the gift cards, or not?" But for the people who I'm less close to, who I just sent gifts from their registries (without attending the weddings)? I have *no idea* if they ever got the damn silly things or if Crate and Barrel just pocketed my $40 for no reason. I don't want their undying affection; I want to know if they got the punch bowl!

    • So it was because of this post that I discovered people do not in fact order gifts, have them shipped to the gifter, wrap, attach a card, and mail with delivery confirmation. And then call the person to say hey, you have a package in the mail to you, it should be there Friday.

      It was also due to this site that I discovered people don’t get boxes in the mail and immediately text/call/email the gifter and inform them the box arrived.

      I have seriously never encountered this behavior in real life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t do these things. I think I would be overly butthurt if that ever happened to me. I don’t want to know two months after your wedding that you didn’t get the gift I sent for your shower! I want to know the Friday it was supposed to have been delivered at 4pm and wasn’t!

  3. We had decided to stock up on the thank you cards so we can write them as we receive the awesomeness. We received one gift from our amazon.com registry and were like. Holy Crap! We need to get cards! Of course nothing else has warranted a Thank you card for the last month or so (we are 3 months plus some days from the BIG day now) but I'll be ready!!!

    What I really don't like are generic thank you cards. "Thanks for coming to our wedding" doesn't let me know that you received my gift. We are taking the approach of thanking the contributor then going into detail about how much we appreciate the specific item. Those kinds notes always mean more to me, especially if hand-written.

  4. What my fiancee and I did was create a spreadsheet (nerdy I know!) to keep track of all the gifts received (we already had a spreadsheet tracking the RSVP's, etc so this was easy). This really helped to keep us organized because you will get multiple gifts from the same people for showers, then the wedding gift, etc and you should thank them for all the gifts.

    Also, because we were moving into our house the week after our reception, we forced ourselves to sit down and do all the thank-yous in the days between the move. It worked out well- everyone was impressed at how quickly the thank yous were received, and we didn't have to worry about trying to get it done once we were in the middle of moving! And husbands don't get out of writing thank yous. . . make him do the ones for his family and vice versa!

    • Yep, I had a big old spreadsheet too. In fact, I still have it because it became my address book! I haven't had that many snail-mail addresses in one place since … and I still refer to it five years after the wedding.

        • I took my work up on a free class on how to use excell. They think it was work related… I just wanted to know how to make spreadsheets for my wedding planning!! haha

      • Still use mine rom my 1995 first wedding! When my girlfriend got married in 2009, she had 5 (WTF!) different Word docs with address lists. I stayed up until 4am consolidating them for her. That was her gift 😉

      • I used the spreadsheet from the Offbeat Bride Tribe, and altered it to include other things I wanted to keep track of and I plan on using it after the wedding as my address book too!

    • The wedding is still months away, but for our engagement party we used a spreadsheet to track the presents as we opened them.

      I hand made thankyou notes but the text was printed (I didn’t want to write them all on my own and FH has handwriting designed for ants), so I cheated a bit by using mail merge.
      Name column, gift column in excel becomes (something like this, I can’t remember the exact wording, but it was definitely a bit longer):

      Dear [NAME], Thank you for coming to our engagement party, we hope you had a wonderful night. Thank you for your thoughtful gift, I’m sure the [GIFT] will be very useful in our new home.

      90% of the gifts were kitchen utensils/appliances, so this standard text fit pretty well.

      I then went through and edited all of them to make sure the grammar worked and the names and gifts made sense etc. (thanks for the ‘metal gear thingy for the kitchen’ just wasn’t setting the right tone) and changed the text for anything that didn’t fit the default format (the painting will look great on our wall, the generous gift (i.e. money) will be useful in setting up our future home etc), and changed the start for people had not made it to the party (we’re sorry you couldn’t join us, hopefully we can see you soon).

      It saved my sanity but even so I know there are a couple of people who missed out on thankyous – if you send a gift via my future mother in law two weeks after the other thank-yous have been sent and I’ve never met you and no one has your address, I’m not sure how to respond to that.

  5. Great post! I'm not planning a wedding, but I was recently at a wedding and my friend sent me a thank you email AND card, so I felt really happy about that, cause 1)the email let me know that they received the melon baller and digital timer, and 2)the card did the same plus it just let us know it was really appreciated.

    Not too mention how much she thanked me for doing Bridal portraits, which helped us both!

    Yay for Thank Yous!

  6. Freakin *awesome* advice. We received an Amazon.com gift with no note or card and I nearly lost my mind for weeks trying to figure out who sent it. (We finally did.) At my shower (bar night!), my mom gave me a wedding album/keepsake thing, and it has pages and pages to record gifts and whether you've sent a thank-you note for each. It's been a huge help (like a spreadsheet, but old-school!). I'm trying to impress on my husband the importance of doing a couple thank-yous each night so they don't build up into a massive pile of stress. FYI: having a "script" can be a big help if you don't know what to write. I did this for him so I wouldn't be writing thank-yous to all his family members (I think it will mean more to them if *he* writes them). So far, so good.

  7. The last weddings I haven't received a Thank-you card for…. which really bugs me, even if I did just give cash! If they have so many guests that they can't do thank-you cards, than that is too many guests! And to be honest, I am not too strict on the card thing… a lunch out with a close friend to say thank-you, or a nice e-mail, or a pleasent phone call…. whatever is most :Dgenuine:D is good for me. But nothing?? I even think people who don't give gifts/money should receive a Thank-you for just showing up and supporting since that is what it is all about!

  8. I sent out thank-you's for my side of the family as the gifts rolled in… my husband wanted to wait until after the wedding to sit down and do his side "together" (I don't know how you write a thank you together, or why, but I agreed to…) Its been more than two months and I can tell how stressed he is that he still hasn't sent his out. But his cousin got married almost a year ago and hasn't sent hers out, so we won't be the rudest people in the family…

  9. Hmmm, I'm thinking you could just add another column or two to the invite spreadsheet list. Then I'd have names, addresses, RSVPs, gifts, and thank you cards all in one place! Cool! (most exciting thing that's happened all morning)

    Several weeks ago I heard some women complaining that their grown children never send them thank you cards for Christmas or birthday gifts. It made me wonder whether they sent their children thank you cards for the same things. If you want to receive thank you cards, you need to send thank you cards.

    • My Mom shames me by sending thank you's for every single thing i EVER send her…LOL
      For our wedding I certainly need to be on top of things~~

  10. YES! One of my best friends got married three years ago and I never got a thank you card. She's normally very polite, so I've always wondered if my gift arrived! There's no tactful way to ask someone if they got your gift. To this day I have no idea if she and her husband received my gift or not and if they didn't I wonder what they thought of me and my lack of gift.

    • "There's no tactful way to ask someone if they got your gift."

      No kidding. You don't want something to vanish into the ether and have THEM think YOU'RE a flake, but if you ask about it, it seems like you're either fishing for a thank-you or accusing them of being the flake instead!

  11. Ariel, I'm really glad you said two months afterwards versus the standard etiquette of one year. One year is so ridiculously long, and by then people already won't have felt appreciated, and they'll have been wondering if you ever got your gift.

    My thank you's caused me to be a rockstar with my parents' after my bridal shower. How?

    I sent them within a week, and the reason it took me that long was because I took a pictures of either me or my fiance with each person's gift. And then I developed the photos, and included a picture of us with their gift in their invite. It's someting easy to make it so much more personalized, and not a mass written thank you. And you have photographic proof that "yes I got your gift, I do know what you specifically gave me, and I really appreciate your thoughtfulness."

    I'll probably not be quite as prompt with my actual wedding thank you's, but I intend on getting them done within the first month. That's my personal deadline. Especially since I'll be repeating my photo idea.

    • A Year seems way too long, I got something in the mail for the guy who lived in my apartment almost a year ago that was either a wedding invitation or thank you card (I think the latter) but I was baffled that the people sending it a) didn't know he had moved or b) had waited until 10 months after their wedding to send thank-yous (I know life moves fast but people move too apparently)!

      Not that he ever changed his address (I get all his mail)

  12. I did a massive spreadsheet for my entire wedding-it literally has like 10 worksheets. It has everything: the guest list, bridal shower guest list invite list with addresses (hooray for mail merge!), table numbers, table arrangements, and now gifts.

    I'm HUGE on thank-you notes. My mom was an absolute stickler for them, and I have vague memories of her taking things away or not letting me do something until I wrote my thank-yous.

    Here's my problem though, as a newlywed (as in this past Saturday): mystery gifts. We have three. I don't want to NOT thank someone for their gift, but there's no tactful way to ask what someone got you (what if they only just came and brought you a card? considering how far some friends had to travel that was a totally acceptable option). Sadly Bed Bath and Beyond couldn't identify one for us, and while we have inklings for the other two they weren't bought off our list. I'm getting the mothers involved to see if they heard anything ("Oh, I hope they like the Crock Pot!"). But I'm not looking forward to writing the thank-yous to some people whose cards didn't have gifts attached, because I want them to know that whatever they got us WAS received and WAS appreciated-even the Crock Pot, even though we already have one. Oh well. Guess we can say something generic like "Thank you SO MUCH for coming, it was fantastic seeing you," etc etc without mentioning anything in particular…….

  13. I recommend shelling out the bucks to buy a TON of stamps ahead of time. I find that if I don't do everything all at once, it does not get done, and my heartfelt thanks end up sitting on a desk for months. So have a stamp ready to stick on that envelope immediately after you write it!

    About 25% more than the number of guests attending your wedding should do it (who doesn't need stamps later anyway?)

    Hand written, personal cards don't mean a thing if they don't get in the mail!

    • If you're doing this, make sure you get the forever stamps. They're not as pretty, but they'll still be valid if the stamp price goes up before you send your mail.

      • My post office had a variety of Forever stamps. I bought 120 (will need to buy more for thank you cards) Forever stamps that were these colorful abstract flower/birds/butterflies that were funky, yet weddingy.

  14. Target, micheals and i'm sure other stores have these sets of 200 notecards/envelopes in all different colors in a pack for like 10-20 bucks! We just got those and a thank you stamp and made a little assembly line. 🙂 Engagement party -thank you's- are all sent!

  15. Even thought it's tedious I totally agree. You've gotta write a note to everyone for everything. A spreadsheet is a MUST. Or you've gotta be uber organized. For me, Google spreadsheets were incredibly easy to use. You can email or share them (other people can update a spreadsheet you created).
    It helped to have everything together: addresses, date gift received, date thank you note was written, number of people RSVPing. I can't imagine doing it any other way.
    Just a note about Carrie's comment…those cards from Target are great, but once I bought a pack that was too slick (in texture) for any pen or marker that I owned. I wasn't able to use them. That sucked.

  16. THANK YOU for this post. I've been to so many weddings recently for which no thank you cards were sent, and I think it's so rude. I'm all for offbeat and unconventional and breaking tradition, but not thanking guests who helped you, celebrated with you and gave you beautiful presents is just rude.

    We got married almost 2 months ago and sent the last of our thank-you cards last week. I would've liked to have sent them sooner but our cards were made from a photo of us taken on our wedding day holding up big signs that say 'thank" and "you!", and we had to wait for our photographer to give us our photos before we could make and send the cards, which delayed us a bit. I think the spreadsheet tip is really good – we used it too! Another tip is to buy cards and envelopes before your wedding and address and stamp the envelopes, so that all you have to do after the weddings is scribble down a message in the card, seal the envelope and stick it in the post. Easy!

  17. At our engagement party, a couple of gifts got separated from cards. We figured one out with help from Mum, but the other was saved by the gift giver. They wrote, in tiny writing on the bottom of the gift "love the pc's". (their initials)
    I'm sure my mum used to do this when we were little, but I'd totally forgotten about it, and will never send a gift without it again.
    I think that prompt Thank-you cards can safely be placed on the "must" list for every wedding, or party or birthday.

    • I tried so hard to get our engagement party thank you’s out quickly but unfortunately having the party on one side of the country and living on the other (where all of the stationary was!) meant they didn’t get out until we got home. But it was under 2 months and I’m pretty sure everyone understood!

  18. Excellent advice, and something that I wish more couples were good at! Something that we did was make sure thank you cards cheque gifts were in the mail before we cashed the cheque. I haven't formally read that advice anywhere, but to me it made sense that if I had time to go to the bank and cash the cheque, I had time to write a note and get it in the mail.

    We found all of our thank you cards in the discount bin at Chapters (like Barnes and Noble, but in Canada). We got some really nice cards, for much less than full price.

    • As far as the tip to write the thank you before depositting the check, Ariel does have that written in the "Offbeat Bride" book. One of her many useful tips she writes in The Book. Just wanted to give Ariel due credit and to help pimp out her book a little more.

  19. This was a bit of work, but it got a huge positive response. I took photos of me & my guy & the gift and included them with the thank you note. People miss out on seeing your face when you unwrap the present. The thank you photo helps them have this experience and guarantees to them that you got the gift. You can shoot digital and print on photo paper or get a fuji instamatic (the new version of the poloroid). You don't have to look fancy – some of the best photos were when we were exhausted after work and came home to tear into a big package.

  20. So I have a kind of question about this: Am I understanding the post to say you're recommending sending thank-you cards before the wedding? Of course we are going to send thank-you cards, but my intention was to actually write and send the cards after the wedding, so that I could include something about seeing them at the wedding, and include a few photos. Most of the people who sent us gifts are coming to the wedding, so it seems silly to send them a thank-you note now, when I can send a much better, more personalized one after the wedding. The only thank-you cards we've sent so far have been because a) someone sent a check, and we wanted to deposit and thank them for it immediately, and b) they're not coming to the wedding (though for those who aren't coming, we're also sending them a 2nd note later so we can include pictures).

    • Just to echo what Kate (below) said: I'm not suggesting you send out Thank You cards before the wedding — just that you keep a solid list of all manner of gifts (with names and addresses) as you're planning, so that when the time comes after the wedding to send your cards, you don't have to think back and try to remember who helped you with little things.

      • Yeah, I was wondering about this too–specifically regarding a CASH gift we got–like, cash in an envelope, sent registered mail.

        I guess since I had to sign for it, the giver knows it was received–but I’m still not sure whether to sent a thank-you note right away or wait until after the wedding. My inclination is to just send it now, close with “looking forward to seeing you at the wedding,” and NOT send another one thanking him for coming after the fact. Our wedding is in a month, and the cash arrived last week.

        I’m very much not a thank-you-note-sending person (except maybe in email) so it would feel very out of character for me to send two notes to the same person around the same event.

        Does anybody else have any thoughts on this? Care to weigh in?

  21. Erika- No, that's not what the post is saying, just recommending thinking about TYs and getting organized as early as possible.

    The only reason we haven't started working on TYs yet is because our good friend is designing and printing the cards for us (he also did the invites and place cards). I'm really itching to start working on them!

  22. Great point, Ariel! Was it in your book where I read the advice "mail the 'thank you' before you cash the check?" Because it's GREAT advice and just the push some of us need to get them written. I use this with any type of occasion like holidays and birthdays. Tell Grandma Daisy you appreciate it before you accept her money, etc. 🙂

  23. Due to having a destination/elopement/please don't come wedding we got most of our gifts at our engagement party we held 3 months prior. I was pedantically running around with a pen making sure that the second we opened a gift I noted down on the back of the card what it was. That way i could write personalised cards saying thanks for the such and such. When we got money, I made sure I made reference to what we bought with it and how we'd think of the person every time we used it.

    I was very careful to get us a nice, useful and (hopefully) long lasting gift with the money from my Nanna (who's a bit too frail to go shopping).

  24. I think it is fine to post about what is commonly practiced, but complaining about others lack of courtesy is ridiculous… Who cares if there card is months late or you never get it. Did you give the gift to get the thank you? NO! If you did give the gift to receive something in return then you need to tell the people you gave so they can be sure to write the givers with strings attached first.

    "I don't give to receive a thank you, but it is nice to be recognized when I go out of my way." – So you give with the hopes of being recognized? This is not the heart behind giving, nor should it be.

    If you are one of the vain, staunch, self righteous people that give a gift that you know was received, and then say "I just want to make sure you received my gift" as a euphemism for "where is my thank you not" Shame on you!

    The "correct etiquette" on this depends so much on what generation you were born in. Young people getting married today feel the freedom to take their sweet (year long) time to get their thank you's out. Older couples feel it to be more respectful to get them all out within a couple weeks. Both couples should feel the love and freedom from the gift giver to do what they feel is appropriate.

    • "The "correct etiquette" on this depends so much on what generation you were born in. Young people getting married today feel the freedom to take their sweet (year long) time to get their thank you's out. Older couples feel it to be more respectful to get them all out within a couple weeks. Both couples should feel the love and freedom from the gift giver to do what they feel is appropriate."

      Actually, that's not the correct etiquette. Commonly practiced, yes, but not the correct etiquette. I agree that tetimframe isn't so important, but actually getting around to saying thank you is!

      Saying thank you isn't about being greedy, but is BASIC politeness. This isn't about using the correct cutlery and it isn't something that has been out dated. It is saying thanks to somoene who did something for you. People don't do thingsjust to recieve a thank you, but not saying thank you shows an air of entitlement that really upsets me.

    • I disagree, Emily. Part of my point with this post was that it's not about antiquated etiquette — rather, when new technology like online registries and digital gifts get involved, there can be a question as to whether your gift even arrived. I don't think age has a thing to do with that!

  25. These are great ideas! I/We just received our first (two) engagement gifts: a check from my great aunt and a wedding planning book our friends used last year. I love the idea of sending the thank you note before cashing the check. And, while we see our friends often, (and I opened the book-gift in their presence), I still like the idea of a formal acknowledgement of the gift in the form of a hand-written thank you note.

  26. Due to budget constraints, we had a small wedding with close family and a few friends only, then had a very casual cook-out the next day for everybody else (there were two different sets of invitations). We felt a little weird including registry info with the invites because of this arrangement so my then fiance & I put our mothers in charge of spreading the word. Let’s just say that his mom did a better job than my mom. Since the majority of people from my side didn’t know what to get us, they just gave us cash, which we didn’t really expect to happen.

    It actually worked out quite well because we used the money to partly pay for our honeymoon AND to replace an aging 12″ CRT television with a much nicer flat screen (we watch a lot of movies).

    Disclaimer: This may be a cultural thing (I’m Asian-American). I think the tendency for celebrations is to give a bit of cash with a gift. Since my extended family didn’t know what to get us, they just went the cash route.

  27. I’m having a “bring a potluck dish in lieu of a gift!” wedding, but I’ll still be sure to send thank-you cards to everyone for coming even if they’re not spending $50 on a salad bowl like a normal wedding. I’m in the process of starting up a spread sheet to track invites, returned RSVPs, addresses, and what food everyone says they’re bringing. Hopefully, I can thank people specifically for bringing whichever food. I’m sure some people will also bring a card with cash, and some relatives who live too far away (invites sent at the insistance of mom and MIL) will probably send cash….definitely sending thank-you notes for those as well. I almost ordered matching notes when I ordered my invitations….but I think instead I’ll just buy plain ones at a dollar store, and glue my own mini-pinwheels to the front of each one to make them unique.

  28. This isn’t just for e-gifts, either! One of my friends from college got married, and three of us went to thoroughly clean her apartment and move her new husband’s stuff in while they were on their honeymoon, and I left their (handmade) present in the kitchen. I never got a thank-you note, so I have no idea whether she even opened it, or whether she uses it now… I’ve since lost touch, so now I’ll never know… Very annoying!

  29. Would it be best if I wasn’t going to be sending out “Thank You” cards, to mention this early on in the wedding planning/wedsite/etc. and the various reasons for why I wasn’t doing it? Do you think that would help people feel less hurt/upset about not receiving one and help them not see me as being “rude”?

    • I honestly can’t imagine why you would not send out thank-you notes. If it’s a question of being environmentally friendly and not using all that paper, then you could consider e-cards or something similar. Otherwise, I think it’s gracious and necessary to send a note of thanks. Your wedding guests are going to a considerable amount of trouble/expense to attend your wedding (particularly if they are also giving you a gift), and it is polite to acknowledge them. Yes, thank-yous are a bother to write and can be tedious and feel artificial at times (“Gee, Aunt Beryl, thanks so much for the crocheted vacuum-cleaner cover! We love having a four-foot-tall duck in our hall closet!”), but it’s recognizing the love that your guests have for you. I know that personally, I always feel annoyed/slighted if someone can’t be bothered to send a thank-you after I’ve bothered to give them a gift. It really is the least you can do.

      • You are right; one of the reasons why I wouldn’t be sending out “Thank You” cards is because of the waste. But there are many, many, many environmentally friendly versions of cards (that are really so cool!) and there’s the e-card type that you mentioned that could be a good alternative.
        My issue really is that the article seems to be saying that a physical “Thank You” card being sent is necessary and that’s what I wouldn’t be doing (but what apparently a lot of people would expect me to do). Here’s why that doesn’t work for me; it just wasn’t something that we ever did in my family. The importance was never pressed upon me (I didn’t actually know it was a thing until I was older). I said thank you when I got gifts or people did things for me and that’s been/was enough. To me, “Thank You” cards always seemed weird (the first time I really had much contact with them was my college boyfriend, he was always made to write them after receiving gifts growing up). You mentioned how you feel the “Thank You”s can feel artificial in the writing/phrasing, well the whole act feels disingenuous to me and most definitely wouldn’t represent my authentic self. I’d only be doing it because it’s a tradition!
        What I think might not have been quite clear from my question, is that I’ll still be thanking people. When I receive a gift in person, I will say thank you. If a gift arrives after the wedding (or I would just not have a chance to personally tell some one thank you at the wedding), I will call or email them and say thank you. One commenter earlier said that they weren’t “too strict” on the card thing and that taking someone out to lunch or calling or emailing was enough of a thank you.
        My issue is with literal “Thank You” cards, I don’t do it, and to do it wouldn’t be me. So…that’s kinda where I’m coming from…is there really no way of making someone happy who doesn’t think a regular verbal thank you or action thank you are enough? And needs a card or else they’re feel hurt/upset? I really don’t want anyone to feel bad if possible. Could my honesty on the topic at least be some what helpful to people, do you think?

        • I definitely think the important thing is to acknowledge the gift and the generosity of the giver. I’m certainly not saying the notes have to be actual literal cards–emails or letters or return gifts (like treating them to lunch) would be suitable in my mind because you are letting the gift-giver know that you are appreciative of their gift. The only problem I have with verbal thank-yous is that they can feel…a little thoughtless? Not sure that’s the right term, but you know, *unwrap gift* “Oh gee thanks, Mabel!” and then just move on. If, however, your way of verbally thanking people is more personal and directed (“Mabel, thank you so much for the egg timer! It’s going to be so perfect for our beat-the-clock Scrabble nights! You know us so well!”) that is better. The nice thing about written thank-yous (be they cards, emails, letters, etc.) is that they allow you a little time to think about specific thanks, instead of being put on the spot!

          Even just a short (personalized!) email would work: “Dear Lucy, It was wonderful getting to see you at our wedding! It was so much fun rocking out on the dance floor with you. Thank you so much for the frying-pan set–Taylor and I are already using it for our Sunday brunches. All our love, Taylor and Gerta.”

          I hope that clears up my stance on the whole thank-you thing! Mostly, the key seems to be making sure you give suitable acknowledgement to the gift-giver.

        • I understand both sides of the issue. My thank yous (verbal or written) from the early years would not have won any prizes. I believe we both are more likely to show our appreciation via action rather than words. In fact, I don’t even need to hear, “I love you.”

          However for some people, they need the words to feel appreciated. With weddings the emotions are elevated, sacrifices made, money spent, and distances traveled for you, the union of two souls, and possibly two families. Receiving a thank you note is the only way guests feel loved and appreciated. If you are interested, you can read how people have different love languages by author Gary D Chapman.

          While it is a pain for someone who is not verbose, it is better to write a thank you note than to usher ill will. To them the thank you note is more important than the favors, the decor, or even the cake. Some of these people may feel slighted thinking you had time and money to send out invitations, host a wedding, and therefore get gifts – yet you can’t set aside some effort and time to write a thank you.

          While the thank you note may not be a big deal to you, it will be a big deal to your husband’s family and possibly even your own if they don’t receive it. Since it is a wedding, the thank you note is seen as a sign of respect.

          With all that said, I believe one thank you note is sufficient for each person who gave you a gift. If some one assisted your wedding, they should get one as well even if they didn’t give a material gift. I believe one note per household thanking them for their joint effort should suffice.

          I don’t believe kids need a thank you note. It might be nice to show you appreciate them participating in your wedding in a well mannered fashion, remembering their lines, or being able to focus on the task assigned. However, I personally think the kids are not expecting it and the aforementioned joint household note should cover it.

          I don’t believe you should go into debt writing these notes. If you get multiple gifts from the same person or household, you don’t need to write a note each time. A verbal, immediate thank you is enough in the moment. However, a written note should be issued summarizing all the gifts. It is up to you if you want to give notes to people just because they showed up especially if they arrived as some single person’s plus one. I’ve been invited to weddings because the guest didn’t want to be alone – not because there was some great romantic future.

          Your thank you notes need not be long, but please write them. A few words about what was given and how you look forward to using it in what aspect of your life should suffice. “Aunt LuLu thank you for your giving us the blender of our dreams. I look forward to smoothies and increased health.” “Thank you Bob, for your gift of cash. We will use it to pay down our student loans. Thus your generosity will lead us to enjoy greater ease in our married life.”

  30. I love using labels for party invitations and printing out two or three copies for thank you notes!! Save them in your computer or go on and print them!! When I got married, the second a gift arrived, I would send out the thank you note that day!!!
    I hate rules and etiquette but being polite never goes out of style, even for non traditional brides.

  31. I try to send out my thank-yous the same day I receive a gift. After my bridal shower, my notes were written and in the mail within two days (thanks to my wonderfully organized bridesmaids who presented me with a list of who got us what after the party was over). The week after my shower, the fiance and I were at his grandmother’s 70th birthday party, and I got a few compliments on how fast the thank you notes were received. People do appreciate that you took the time to acknowledge them.

    I like to type out a quick paragraph on the computer, then copy it into the card by hand. That way I don’t end up crossing things out or making as many mistakes as I would if I was just winging it.

  32. Have you guys tried out Postable.com? We used it for our engagement party thank yous and it was awesome.

  33. Totally agree on this. I have already made (and shared with the tribe) my thank you notes that have the option of including a picture (something my fiance really wants) but also looks good without a picture because I REFUSE to wait for weeks on end for all our pics to come back before printing them, writing the notes and sending them off. I’m hoping we get a usable pic in the teaser but if not, I’m sending those suckers without the picture.

    I went to a wedding where the grooms basically made it known that cash was preferred. No biggie. I came, card with cash in hand to the at-home wedding. The best man collected them and put them (along with the few boxed gifts) in the bedroom. No one was keeping an eye on these things. Sure- everyone there was a loved one but who knows if someone maybe snuck a few envelopes out? I never got a thank you (I’m sure it’s more awkward to write thank yous for cash) and I’ve wondered to this day if they actually got my gift. So annoying.

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