The last thing any bride-to-be wants to do is to play a game of “Guess who gave you this?” when unpacking bridal-shower gifts. After a day of celebrating with friends and family and the excitement of the festivities, neither you nor your maid of honor may even remember who bought you that toaster oven. But with a little bit of planning, you can avoid loads of detective work or being forced to send a bunch of generic thank-you cards. Here’s exactly how experts say you can keep track of who gave which gift at your bridal shower.
Take Advantage of Technology
The time-honored tradition of having a bridesmaid quickly scrawl down who gave what at the party isn’t necessarily your best bet. (And are you actually going to be able to make it out?) “Find someone to create the list who can write clearly. Otherwise, you’ll spend a ridiculous amount of time attempting to understand what they wrote,” says Sarah Parlos, CEO of event planning firm One Fine Day, LLC. “That’s where technology can certainly assist!” Have someone on hand with an iPad or phone to write up a list as you open gifts so you can avoid wasting time figuring out if that’s an H or a Q.
Make It a Picture-Perfect Moment
If you’re a visual person, you may appreciate getting a photo reminder of who to thank for each gift. “Personally, I love to have a Polaroid camera on hand,” Parlos says. “You snap a photo of the gift after it’s opened, write the guest’s name on the photo, and store it in a small recipe box for the bride. This way she can see each item and write a beautiful thank-you card.” Even better: You’ll have the camera on hand to record the rest of the festivities too!
Photos can also be snapped even if all you have on hand is your phone. Tap someone to photograph the signed portion of the card with the gift after it’s opened, suggests Shelley Grieshop, a creative writer at Totally Promotional. “It’s much quicker than jotting down the style and type of gift and the names of the gifters,” she says. “It also eliminates the misspelling of names because the correct version will be visible on the signed card.”
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
If you have bridesmaids who have a way with words, you may want to enlist them to help with your thank-you cards. Parlos recommends designating one or two bridesmaids to write the thank-you cards while the bride opens up the gifts. “This obviously saves the bride a lot of time and also is a great way to keep track of everything!” she says. “In the end, you save a step.” The host of the party can also provide blank envelopes and have guests self-address them to ensure no one is skipped or thank-you cards don’t end up at the wrong place, says Lindsey Nickel, owner and event planner of Lovely Day Events.
When it comes to thank-you cards, even if you go more of a traditional pen-and-paper route for recording the givers of gifts, bridesmaids can help out with some background info for the thank-you cards, says Jennifer Porter of gift retailer Satsuma Designs LLC. “If you’re going more traditional with a pen and a paper pad, have the maid of honor or other bridesmaid write down complete information next to the gift giver’s name,” she says. “Also, include the bride’s first remarks upon opening—provided they’re positive!. This becomes the first sentence of the thank-you note and will help the bride remember her first thoughts for a sincere note of gratitude.”
Additionally, the bridal party or shower hostess can also snag some label stickers (which can even be picked up at a dollar store) in cute shapes and write each guest's name to affix to the box or bag after opening instead of a list, says Porter.
It may be tempting to put off writing up thank-you notes in the midst of wedding planning, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be to recall which friend group went in on the slow cooker and who purchased your new sheet set, Nickel says.
“To keep track of who gave which gift, send thank-you notes within one week of the shower,” she says. “The more time that passes, the harder it will be to remember who gave what and you might lose the list from the event of who gave what.”