Giving Your Thanks

Thoughtful tips on writing and sending gracious notes

A good thank-you note will convey gratitude with warmth, sincerity, and a personal touch. Above all, it should be enthusiastic and conversational. Sound difficult when you've got 100 to write? Here's how to make it a breeze.

Pick Your Words

For notes that sound fresh, vary the language. Instead of beginning each with Thank you for the…, try We love…, We are thrilled with…, or other expressions that convey the same enthusiasm. Adhering to a basic structure will also simplify your task. For starters, date each note and begin with a salutation (Dear Mary). Next, identify the gift and how you'll use it (We adore the soup bowls! Nick and I are thrilled that we're on the way to completing our china set.). If you dislike the gift, you should still say something positive (Thank you for the candelabra! We appreciate your taking the time to find something so special.). Finally, though there should technically be only one signature on a thank-you note (after all, you didn't both write it), many modern couples opt to sign both their names. If only one of you signs, be sure to include the other's name (Jim and I love the plates!).

Timing Is Everything

Of course you're busy, but you should try to write thank-yous within three months of receiving the gift. Your groom should share the responsibility. One strategy: You write to your family and friends, he writes to his. If you plan to hold your thank-you sessions together, open a bottle of wine and turn on some music—it's practically a date. While you're writing, it's a good idea to keep track of who gave what—you'll be shocked how quickly you forget. Plus, this is a great cheat sheet for remembering years down the line.

Perfect Examples

Dear Aunt Denise and Uncle Steve,

The antique silver frame you sent us is absolutely stunning. Brian and I have already picked out our favorite photograph from our honeymoon that we know will look just perfect in it. We love it!

Affectionately, Kristen

Dear Megan and Ryan,

Thank you so much for the fantastic blender! We've been using it to perfect our margarita recipe. After the wedding, you'll both have to come over for cocktails with us.

Love, Nicole and Tim

Dear Mr. and Mrs. O'Neill,

Jessica and I can't tell you how much we appreciate the generous wedding check you gave us. We're planning to add it to our savings for a new house. Because of you, we're closer to getting one!

Sincerely, Jonathan

Fresh Ideas

Picture notes
Have cards printed with a photo of you and your groom.

Themed cards
For a destination wedding, use cards with local flavor.

Correspondence cards
Traditional white or cream heavy-stock cards are a great choice; they look full with just a few lines of text.

Personalized cards
Send cards with your first names before the wedding; if you're changing your name, send "Mr. and Mrs." ones afterward.

Matching notes
Order thank-yous in the same style as your invites. Add a playful graphic for a personal touch.

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