I can usually tell when a bride is grateful for her family, friends, and vendors... she has a certain glow about her and is relaxed enough to enjoy her day to the fullest. She has let go of the differences and disagreements she may have encountered with all those involved, and rejoices in the true meaning of the day: a commitment to her mate. A grateful bride sees the day as a gift and avoids thinking of what she would have had, could have had, or should have had.
And while it is important to feel thankful internally, it is just as important to share your gratitude with those who made your day so special.
Vendors are the backbone of a successful event. The wedding industry may be a billion dollar business, but it is spread out over millions of small business owners who do what they do because they enjoy lending their talents and creating meaningful celebrations for others. It takes a unique sense of creativity, patience, and professionalism to thrive in this industry. Giving your vendors each a handwritten note of thanks for all they have done is a wonderful way to acknowledge the impact they have made on your day and your lives. Monetary tips are happily accepted, but a sincere note of thanks can often be the best way to show your gratitude for your vendors' hard work.
Another way to thank your vendors is to print a few words of appreciation for their services in your wedding program or menu. Discretely including words of praise in this manner often works best for those vendors who will be present at your celebration, such as your photographer, entertainers, caterer, etc. It will allow them to enjoy your words of thanks while continuing to execute their part of the event.
Your guests increase the positive energy at your celebration, and thanking them for attending your event -- especially if they have traveled a long distance -- is a thoughtful gesture. When it comes to giving favors as tokens of thanks, many couples will agree that they either want to do something beautiful and distinctive, or nothing at all. If making the investment in traditional wedding favors is something you’re considering, think about instead putting the money toward a charitable gift. A donation to a meaningful organization on your guests’ behalf is a special and useful way to show your gratitude. Just make sure your guests are aware of the honor by placing a small card describing the charitable organization at each place setting.
If the traditional route is more your style, go the extra mile and personalize your favors. For example, you might request that your guests share their two favorite candies with you on the response cards. Once your guests take their assigned seats at the reception, their favorite candy will be waiting. Another way to show your gratitude is to have your valet service place a bottle of water and/or a single rose in each guest’s car at the end of the night, with a thank-you note for a wonderful evening.
If you want to forgo favors altogether, consider a touch that a recent client of mine incorporated into her celebration: the cake design included the names of each guest who attended the wedding. The designer monochromatically scripted each name in butter cream and all the names, swirled one after the other, made an extraordinary statement!
A low-cost idea that is sure to keep your guests feeling appreciated is including a handwritten thank-you note on the back of each guest’s escort card (the card that displays the guest’s name and table number). The cards can even be sealed in miniature envelopes, providing a wonderful alternative to the common fold-over card. When one of my clients did this for her guests, I was thrilled to see how the note added a refreshing and touching surprise.
Thanking Your Wedding Party
Once you have selected the individuals that will make up your wedding party, consider sending them all handwritten notes of thanks for their roles of support. Once the wedding day arrives, presenting them with an additional gift is often appropriate to thank them for all they have done for you during your engagement and on your wedding day.
Personalizing these gifts is a wonderful way to ensure that your gratitude is properly communicated, and the recipient will surely notice your thoughtfulness. For your bridesmaids, think about filling monogrammed tote bags with smaller personalized gifts, such as semi-precious jewelry or a pendant with their first initial, an evening bag in their favorite color, a certificate for a spa treatment in their hometown, or any special memento that says, "This is just for you!"
As for the groomsmen, a monogrammed Dopp kit stocked with fine toiletries, a pair of personalized cuff links -- either with their initials or a symbol of their home city -- a tie that they can wear again after the wedding, or tickets to their favorite sporting event or amusement park will go a long way to convey your thanks. One of my favorite wedding party gifts that is suitable for both men and women is personalized stationery. This gift not only shows your gratitude, but also helps continue the flow of gratitude to others in their lives.
Preparing for your wedding day is a time of grand decision-making wrapped up in a journey of much excitement. Remember to include "show gratitude" in your checklist of things to do so that your appreciation of all those who contributed to the experience does not go overlooked.
Opening photograph by Donat Photography