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The Dos and Don'ts of Writing Thank-You Notes

How to make sure you're both polite and efficient.

Follow the below “dos and don’ts” to make sure your thank-you notes are respectful to the gift-giver while not taking up more time than necessary.

Etiquette
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Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss Photography

There are many tedious tasks when it comes to wedding planning and writing thank-you notes might be one of the biggest ones. It’s not that you aren’t grateful for the gifts you receive, but it certainly takes a while to express those sentiments on paper! However, this is a situation where proper etiquette is truly important. Tensions can be high before and after the nuptials, and snubbing someone who gave you a generous present can genuinely have an adverse effect on your relationship with that person.

dos and don'ts of writing wedding thank you notes
Photo by Steve Steindhardt

Follow the below “dos and don’ts” to make sure your thank-you notes are respectful to the gift-giver while not taking up more time than necessary. 

- Do be prompt. Obviously your honeymoon might affect your timing, but you should absolutely send your cards as soon as possible – definitely within three months of the wedding. For gifts sent before your nuptials, don’t wait until after you say “I do.” There is a misconception that you should wait to open early gifts, but it’s better to send thank-you notes within two weeks of receiving a present.

- Don’t use a form. Any sort of pre-printed form letter or photo card without a personal message is completely gauche. You should always address the gift-givers and express your specific thanks.

- Do use a template. It is helpful to have a basic template as a guide of what to write. Think about it like a cover letter: You’re still writing a new individual note, but you know which points you have to hit each time. 

- Don’t mention cost. Many of your guests will give cash or write a check. This is of course still worthy of a thank you, but it is frowned upon to name the specific amount in your card. An alternative idea is to mention what you and your spouse are saving up for, since the money will help in that regard. 

- Do share the work. One person should not write all the thank-you notes. A simple way to split the task is by having each person write the cards to those on their side. Mutual friends can be split down the middle.

- Don’t make excuses. If you fell behind on sending your thank yous, don’t spend a ton of time explaining why you are late. Simply apologize for the delay and carry on expressing your gracious feelings. 

Learn the etiquette of giving wedding gifts and whether you can have a B-list for inviting guests.