7 Top Tips For Your Thank You Notes
— By Lorna Urwin
21 November 2016
Usually, the final task on a wedding to-do list, preparing handwritten thank you notes is the perfect way to acknowledge the generosity, love and support of your loved ones. For all that it’s an essential part of wedding etiquette, it can also be time-consuming and a little daunting to tackle! Prepare yourself as best you can with these must-do thank you note recommendations.
1/ Stage a thank you photo
Image by Sophie Eaton Photography
While some beautiful stationery in the same theme as your invitations will give a consistent style, you can make your thank you notes more personal by using a posed photo holding a ‘thank you’ sign or bunting. While one from the wedding day is particularly apt, check that your photographer can get this particular photo to you quite quickly so that you’re able to have cards made, written and posted in time (three months after the wedding is the deadline!). Otherwise, one from an engagement shoot can work just as well.
2/ Have a system
Image by Kay English Photography
The more guests in attendance, the more daunting a task writing thank you notes can be! Make things as easy as possible by using a copy of your guest list (either on paper or in a spreadsheet) to develop a tracker for gifts. Include the guest’s name and address, the gift and the date it was received plus the date a thank you letter was sent. Adding a column for notes, like what you love about the gift or how you plan to use or enjoy it, can also make writing a note later much easier. Bear in mind that if one person has bought multiple gifts at different events (a bridal shower gift and a wedding gift, say), you should send separate thank yous for each.
3/ Address thank you envelopes with your invites
Image by Greg Finck Photography
Between invitations and thank you notes, you’ll be writing to the same people at least twice (more if they attend other events!). Take one thing off the post-wedding To Do list by addressing your thank you note envelopes at the same time that you address your invitations. Enlisting some helpful friends or family to get together for an envelope-addressing party will make this process far less time consuming and much more enjoyable!
4/ Invest in a stamp for your return address
Image by Paper Pastries
This is one of those inexpensive purchases that can make a huge difference to your workload – simply replace the laborious process of writing out the return address over and over again by hand with a stamp! As a bonus, these can also provide a whimsical or stylish touch, depending on the design you choose.
5/ Tackle the notes as a couple
Image by Bohemian Simplicity
As both the bride and groom are recipients of wedding gifts, it’s customary for statements of thanks and appreciation to come from both (‘Mark and I love the beautiful tablecloth you sent!’). When it comes to the writing, however, splitting the responsibility is only fair. It will help lighten the load on each other and allow the person who knows a guest best to provide a more personal response
6/ Set goals
Image by Taylor Lord Photography
Thank you notes should be in the post within three months of receiving the gift. Give yourself the best chance of meeting that deadline by thinking about how you work best and setting goals. Some people prefer setting aside whole days to devote to thank you notes and get them done quickly, others prefer breaking the task down and aiming for a smaller number per day or per week. Whatever your preference, make a plan and stick to it!
7/ Follow a formula/template
Images by Michele Beckwith and Abby Jiu Photography
For a successful thank you note, it’s essential to make it both personal and sincere. An impersonal mail merge approach, sending an identical note but swapping out names and gifts, can be disappointing for someone who put a lot of thought and love into choosing a wonderful gift for you. It can also lead to errors when assuming that certain phrases will work for every gift/guest.
Having a loose formula in mind for each note, however, is a good way to ensure consistency in style and length. A sample formula might be:
- A warm and sincere thank you with reference to the gift
- A note about your response to the gift, its use so far or plans to use it in the future
- Reference the person – your gratitude for their presence at the wedding (or regret that they couldn't make it), a note about their thoughtfulness in sending the gift/thinking of you
- A hope to reconnect soon and an extra note of thanks