10 Thank You Note Questions, Answered
We’re ALL about doing you in the wedding planning process, and skipping whatever doesn’t make you happy. Hate passed hors d’oeuvres? Toss them aside and do a taco station! Not into the parent-child dances? Go right into the Cupid Shuffle! But the one non-negotiable element of having a wedding, besides making it legal, is expressing your gratitude via thank you notes.
Sure, sending snail mail is a foreign concept in the predominantly-digital world we live in, but that makes receiving a thank you message in the mail all the more special. Trust me, it’s a small gesture with a VERY HIGH return on investment.
Here are some all-too-common FAQs around thank you note writing, so you can send them out in a timely, thoughtful fashion—and with NO regrets.
1. When exactly should we send our thank you cards?
For gifts received before your wedding, send cards within two to three weeks. For gifts received on or after your wedding, send cards within three months. (NOT 12, despite what people tell you about some mythical “you have a year” rule).
2. Who should we send thank you cards to?
In addition to the guests of your wedding events (engagement party, bridal shower, actual big day), you should definitely write special notes to your wedding party, awesome vendors, and even your parents and close family. When in doubt, thank!
3. Who should write the thank you cards? How should we sign them?
Your wedding gifts are for both of you, so your cards should be from both of you, too. Split the writing duties with your partner and sign both of your names. I won’t tell if you both give each other forging permission.
4. What should we actually say in our thank you cards?
Use this easy formula: words of gratitude + why you’re excited about the gift and how you’ll use it + a sweet sign-off (i.e. “Can’t wait to visit soon!”).
5. How do we remember who got what gifts?
Create a spreadsheet to keep track of who got you received. This makes writing so much easier. Taking photos of the gifts as well so you can send a more detailed thank you if quite helpful, too!
6. How do you thank people for a cash gift?
The same formula as #4. Don't forget to get into the details of how you’ll use it!
7. What if we returned the gift we got? How do we word the note?
First, know that you’re both very much entitled to change your mind about gifts, and shouldn’t feel guilty about exchanging anything. Simply don’t include the “how you’ll use the gift” part of the thank you equation, but still reference the original gift so they know you got it. To avoid excessive returning: Register for things you actually want, and consistently refresh your registry so there’s always something for guests to give.
8. What about guests who didn’t get us a gift at all?
Even though you may be baffled, don’t let it stop you from taking the high road. Always send a note! The contents could be as simple as “We loved seeing you on the big day, and really enjoyed our time ______-ing and _____ing with you all.” Plus, keep in mind that some folks purchase wedding gifts after the actual wedding...and it’s not unheard of to get gifts up to a year after.
9. My (or our) handwriting is far from gorgeous. What do we do?
When it comes down to it, the sentiment is what counts here. Not your level of neatness in your penmanship.
10. What if we’re already really late on sending our thank you notes? Is there some sort of cut-off where sending one would make it worse?
Four words for you: Better. Late. Than. Never.