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5 Modern Rules For Wedding Thank-You Notes

Some say thank-you notes are a dying art, but I have to side with Emily Post on this one. Nothing beats a heartfelt and handwritten note to show your gratitude for a gift — especially when it's for your wedding. But that doesn't mean you can't modernize the tradition a tad; here are my five rules for modern thank-yous.

  • Divide the work. Face it: thank-you notes are an act of etiquette often assigned to women, so don't let the task fall solely to you. Split up the list between you and your groom. Better yet, make it fun: bang them out over breakfast at your favorite cafe or while watching your shared guilty pleasure TV shows.
  • Say something specific. Describe the gift and add a bit of flair, such as "we'll think of you every time we use it" or "we'll be sure to raise a toast to you with the beautiful glasses." If it's a gift card or money, say what you might spend it on.
  • But don't lie. Don't say you love the gift if you don't like it. Instead, focus on its unique attributes, the sentiment behind it, or something else entirely . . .

For that something else, and more, read on.

  • Go beyond the gift. This is your chance to tell the givers how much you appreciate their being a part of your celebration. If it's someone you've known for a long time, don't be afraid to utter other heartfelt sentiments, like "your 40 years of marriage are an inspiration to us."
  • Send it ASAP. Experts disagree on the amount of time couples have to write thank-you notes, though within three months of getting a gift is a good rule of thumb. I say, do it as soon as possible, at least within a month. Your gracious guests won't be left wondering if the gift arrived OK, and doing the notes in smaller batches will save you some writer's cramp.


boredgourdless boredgourdless 7 years
Great advice, I'd only argue with the money tip. I wouldn't mention money or what you'd use it for; your guest and you know how much they gave. I ended up writing, "Thank you so much for the incredibly generous gift, and for helping us start our life together as a married couple! [Insert personal message after.]" But certainly cards need to be out within three months. I wish I had started thank-you notes before the wedding, it would have saved a lot of hours hunched over the table, getting hand cramps!
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I did all the cards I could before the wedding and then I spent about 10 minutes every day after the wedding working on the cards for the gifts we got the day of. I got the majority done in about 2 weeks. The labels took a little longer due to technical issues. I think they were all sent out after about a month.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Anon #3 - I can't imagine that anyone is actually going to ask to see their gift in the future.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I have another idea - if you see someone in person shortly after receiving a gift from them, thank them regardless of whether you plan on later sending them a thank you note! I recently went out with two of my bf's friends' wives. Several hours into the night, I asked both of them whether the wedding gifts I sent them ever arrived. They both were like "oh yeah, it came in the mail a couple days ago." If I saw someone immediately after receiving a $100 gift in the mail from them, you can bet that I would take 2 seconds to thank them IN PERSON. I understand that wedding gifts are expected, but I feel as though brides should still act gracious when receiving them.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Word to the wise - if you can steal a couple minutes, send out thank you notes as you get the gifts prior to the wedding to cut down on the amount left when you get done with it.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
Good ideas...I think that the old traditional rule of thumb of "one year" is far too long. We were at a wedding in January and just got the thankyou note about 3 weeks ago (so probably end of April) and I didn't find that unusually long, so 3 months is probably a good rule of thumb. I used to work with a girl who used the "one-year" rule and was all snarky about it, saying she just didn't have time and people would just have to deal with it. I don't find that very gracious whatsoever!
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