First let me start by saying thank you notes are a must-do for every wedding gift you receive. I understand after months of planning and the exhilarating celebration, a thank you note can easily be forgotten. But it is one of the most important details, whether someone has bought you a gift, given you money or contributed to your honeymoon, acknowledging a person’s generosity is essential in showing how appreciative you are of their heart felt gesture. And quite frankly, by not acknowledging an act of kindness, is just plain rude!
Sending notes in a timely manner
One of the first questions people often ask is when should they be sent. Sending notes in a timely manner is one of the most critical factors of thank you note etiquette. It’s likely you’ll dash off on honeymoon, or spend weeks reliving the big day, therefore I suggest couples should start to think about thank you notes before the wedding. You may have 100+ thank you notes to write and often this is a daunting task, so plan ahead and aim to write/send a certain number of thank you notes each day. Opinions vary as to what constitutes as a timely manner, some say within 4 weeks while other wedding experts say within 12 weeks. Personally, I think thank you notes should be written/sent within 6-8 weeks from the wedding date.
One scenario that might delay the sending of thank you notes, is you may be waiting for professional photos to come in to use on a thank you card. Many professional photographers will supply taster or sample images from your day while they are editing and combing through the rest of your photos, so if you let the photographer know what you are planning to do, they can supply you with your favourite taster image in a high enough resolution for print. If your photographer doesn’t supply any taster images, make sure you know their likely timescales for getting you the photos, then you can make the decision whether to wait for the photo or just use a more generic design.
What to say
A challenge couples often face is what to write in their thank you notes. The common components are traditionally as follows:
1. Greet the guest and address them by name
2. Express gratitude and say ‘thank you’ in your acknowledgement of the gift. Be sure to mention the specific gift, whether it is a floral china set, money, B&Q vouchers or a contribution towards your honeymoon.
3. Say something nice about the gift, either how much you liked it, appreciated the kind gesture, what you plan to do with it or details about the honeymoon that they contributed to.
4. Add a short sentence with a personal message where appropriate, this might be how you’re settling into married life or even how much you enjoyed seeing them at your wedding.
And don’t forget to sign it from you and your husband/wife.
What format should you use
This can vary greatly from couple to couple and you have a number of options open to you, and in today’s world an electronic thank you is acceptable. Although personally I think a thank you note or card is preferable, the most important thing is showing your appreciation for the gift, money or contribution you’ve received.
You may want to send a handwritten note, a card matching your invitations, a photo card with your favourite wedding photo, a printed note or even an email or Facebook message! I understand after the cost of the wedding, buying cards, printing costs or postage may seem like unaffordable cost, but when 80% of your guest list are likely to have email addresses or a Facebook profile, there really is no excuse for not saying thank you.
In all actuality, it’s never too late to send a thank you note. As embarrassing as it may be, 6 months or even a year is better late than never. It’s always best to send a note starting with “sorry for the delay”, than it is to avoid friends or family at gatherings because you still owe them a thank you note! If you make it charming and apologise sincerely for the delay, you’ll be forgiven, however try to avoid any awkwardness and get those notes out within 3 months.