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Giving Thanks: How to Write and Send Thank You Cards

nov15-thankyou-01The honeymoon is over, the gifts are open, and you’re settling into married life. Before you can totally move beyond your wedding day, there’s one more important task for you and your new spouse: Thank you cards.

Think about it: Your guests spent time and money coming to your wedding and choosing a gift, even if they shopped from your registry or wrote a check. Those who make etiquette guidelines – think manners gurus Peggy and Emily Post – say you should send a thank you card for every gift received. Here’s more:

Who

You should send a thank you note to anyone who gave you a shower, engagement, or wedding gift. This applies even when you’ve thanked someone in person. The Posts also say you should send a note to each individual who contributed to a group gift or party rather than sending one note to the whole group.

The Posts also suggest sending thank you notes to these people:

  • Your attendants. It’s OK to include the note on your gift to them.
  • Anyone who hosted a shower or party for you.
  • Anyone who housed or entertained wedding guests for you.
  • Anyone who went above and beyond the call of duty for your wedding – aunts who stuffed favors, grandmothers who baked cookies, friends who took care of the parking lot at your reception, for example.

What

The Posts stress that you should send your thank you notes through the mail. Old fashioned, we know, but a hand-written note is more sincere than an email, phone call, or pre-printed card. Buy blank thank you notes – you can even get them personalized to match your wedding invitations – and write a short note to each gift giver. Reference the gift, make a nice comment about it, and thank the person for sharing your day. The notes don’t have to be long.

Some couples get creative and pick up postcards while honeymooning to send as thank you notes. Others buy prepackaged thank you cards at a department store. Either route is acceptable, as long as you’ve written the note yourselves.

When

Guests have up to a year to send a gift after receiving a wedding invitation. The reverse doesn’t hold for newlyweds – you get three months to send thank you cards. It’s easier, the Posts say, to send a thank you card as soon as a gift is received. Write a few a day following your shower, engagement party, or honeymoon, and you’ll avoid having to write dozens all at once.

What to Say

When you write your thank you note, be sure to reference the gift, whether it was an item or money. Say something nice about the gift, or if it was cash, mention how you plan to use it. If you hate an item and plan to return it, don’t mention that.

To make writing thank you notes easier, ask someone to take notes as you open them. Write down who gave the gift as well as some specific details about the gift.