Ultimate guide to thank you notes

The task of writing stacks of thank-you notes may seem daunting, but consider it a great opportunity to thank all of your friends and family for being part of such a special time. You’ve already spent countless hours deciding on flowers and favours, so think of it as another essential item on your to-do list. Especially in today’s digital age, a proper thank-you note feels extra special and is a step you certainly should not skip.

No matter how formal or casual your wedding is, you should always acknowledge gifts with a handwritten note — after all, guests took time and care to choose just the right present. Remember it doesn’t have to be poetic, as long as it’s sincere. Below are a few tips to get you started.

Who Should Receive a Thank-You Note

Any gift you receive, from the engagement to after the wedding day, deserves a proper thank-you. In addition, you may want to send a special note to anyone who has helped make your wedding extra special, from the host of your shower to members of your bridal party and the officiant.

Get Organized

First, choose cute stationery that will motivate you to keep writing. You may want to order notes that coordinate with your wedding invitations or have cards customized with a photo, but you can also pick up inexpensive notes at the drugstore. One way to keep things manageable is to write a thank-you note as soon as you receive each gift — guests will be waiting to know that you received their package, and it will avoid a pile-up of notes to write after the wedding. Keep a stack of stationery, stamps and your master list of guests’ addresses on hand. To help keep track of who gave what, write down a brief description of each gift next to each person’s name on your master list.

Make It Personal

Stay away from the “formal letter” thank-you note, and make each one personal — it doesn’t need to be long to include a thoughtful message. If an actual gift was given, make a special mention of how much you love it (if it isn’t completely your style, focus on how thoughtful the gesture was). If you’ve received money, include what you plan to put it toward (a new coffee table, a great art piece to hang in your bedroom, etc.). Now is a great time to thank your guests not only for their gifts but also for sharing the wedding day with you and being part of your life. Sign notes from both of you, no matter who is writing them.

It’s Never Too Late

Aim to complete and send all of your thank-you notes within three months of the wedding. But keep extra notes on hand for late-arriving gifts, as they deserve equally earnest thank-yous. Some guests may follow the tradition that they have a year to send a gift. If a gift has gotten lost in the shuffle (say, Aunt Joan is wondering if you ever received the vase she sent), send a note immediately.

Keep It Short and Sweet

You don’t have to write a novel: A few sentences will do. Below are a few examples of great thank-you notes.

Thank-You Ideas

For a gift:

Dear Kathryn and James,

We were thrilled you were able to celebrate our wedding day with us. It was great fun having both of you up there with us on the dance floor, and we hope you enjoyed the red velvet cake as much as we did at your wedding. Thank you so much for the terrific pasta bowls, they’re perfect! You know we love to cook, and can’t wait to have you over for spaghetti carbonara.

Love,
Jill and Richard

For a monetary gift:

Dear Uncle George,

We can’t thank you enough for such a generous wedding gift. We’ve been saving for a dining room table, so are very excited to order it and host our first dinner party. It meant so much to us that you were able to travel all the way from Portland for our wedding — and that tuxedo suits you well! We’re really looking forward to seeing you again at Thanksgiving.

Love,
Jill and Richard

For help:

Dear Mrs Miller,

Our wedding ceremony was everything we hoped for, thanks to your beautiful voice. I’ve always loved any chance to hear you sing, so to have you do “Ribbon in the Sky” was really a dream come true. All of our friends and family are still talking about how wonderful you were! Thank you again for making the wedding so special for us.

All the best,
Jill and Richard