by Jan Brenner, Editor-in-Chief
Wedding thank-you notes take mere minutes to write, but can mean the world to your guests.
I rarely go to weddings (maybe it's because most of my social circle is either already married or never going to be), but a year ago a friend invited me to one.
As my friend's date I wasn't obligated to bring a gift, but I'd been told the bride and groom liked to cook, so I got them a few of my favorite kitchen gadgets from Sur La Table as a wedding present. I put my present on a table with dozens of other gifts, and hoped that it wouldn't get lost in the pile.
I was fairly certain that soon after the wedding I would receive a thank-you note for my modest-but-thoughtful-and-super-practical gift. Alas, the postman never brought one. Months passed, and I wondered…Did the couple not like my gift? Had it disappeared? Been regifted? Eventually I just forgot about it altogether.
Until yesterday, that is. I flipped through my mail and was surprised to see the long-awaited thank-you note. Oh it was beautiful, all right—handwritten, very personal. But I have to say I had mixed emotions: Sure, it was great to know that my gift had been received and, in fact, "loved." But I couldn't help feeling that I shouldn't have had to wait an entire year to learn that my present hadn't been disliked, lost, or regifted after all.
Actually, Emily Post states that thank-you notes should be written within 3 months of the receipt of the gift.
Moral of the story: Honor your guests—don't wait a year to send out your thank-you notes!
→ Want to know more about the traditional etiquette for thank-you notes, and the best timeline for sending them out? Read on, friend.
Wedding Thank-You Note Etiquette:
1 } Any gifts received prior to your wedding should also receive a thank-you note prior to your wedding.
This includes any engagement party gifts, shower gifts, or early wedding presents. Send out these pre-wedding thank you notes within 2–3 weeks after receiving the gift. Our best advice? Send out your thank-you notes as soon as possible!
2 } Wedding thank-you notes for gifts received on your wedding day should be sent out within 3 months.
Although better late than never! If 3 months goes by faster than you can say "thanks for the chips-and-dip bowl!", don't hesitate to send your note a bit later than etiquette suggests—especially if you had an extended honeymoon.
3 } Go the old-fashioned route: handwritten notes on actual stationery sent via snail mail.
Sure, it's more work than a digital thank-you note or pre-filled-out card, but the extra effort lends a personal touch which further underscores your gratitude.
Besides the traditional etiquette, it's important to have fun with your thank-you notes. Split them up with your new spouse, put a bit of personality into them, mention how you plan to use the gift, and be sure to sign both of your names at the bottom of every note.
Because at the end of the day, putting a smile on the face of each thank-you note recipient is the goal!