Writing thank-you notes may feel tedious at times, but we promise, the faster you get them done and sent, the happier you’ll be! (By the way, that one-year-to-send-a-note rule is a total wedding myth—try to get them out in three months or less.)
Regina Cialone, a NYC-based wedding planner with Cloud Nove Events's, says that proper etiquette dictates that the couple handwrite the notes. Anything preprinted might come across as "cold and impersonal," according to Cialone. "Even just a line or two of writing makes a difference."
The best way to tackle this seemingly never-ending task? Write the notes as you receive the gifts before and after the wedding. "Every Sunday, sit down with a cup of coffee and write out the thank-you notes for those items," says Alex Chalk of Taylor'd Events Group. But do a little planning first. Make a spreadsheet listing the invitee, the gift given, and then a third column to keep some helpful notes. Jot down whether you've used the item yet, what you like about it, or how you plan to enjoy it. For example, do you look forward to making weekend brunch with your new waffle iron? This kind of specificity will make the notes a little more personal and less generic, says Kristen Ley Green of Something New for I Do. "You can even do this with cash or gift cards," Green says. Let the gift-giver know what you plan to purchase or how you'll make use of their generosity.
If you’ve got a case of writer’s block about what to write in a wedding thank you card (to go along with that hand cramp), here are a few sample notes on how to write wedding thank you-cards for common gifting scenarios to get those creative juices flowing.
Scenario #1: A gift off your registry
Pro Tip: It’s something you wanted, so mention how much you love it and that you plan to use it all the time.
Thank you so much for the espresso machine! Chris and I have become serious coffee fiends, and are excited to be able to make our own drinks at home. We’d love to have you over for brunch soon so you can see it in action! Thank you again for being a part of our wedding day.
Scenario #2: A gift of money
Pro Tip: Don’t mention how much you received—but do hint at how you’ll use the cash!
Dear Aunt Melissa and Uncle Marc,
Thank you so much for celebrating our wedding day with us! Chris and I were thrilled with your generous and thoughtful gift. Thanks to the two of you, we were able to book the cooking class we’d had our eye on for our honeymoon. Looking forward to seeing you over the holidays!
Scenario #3: The gifter is someone you don’t know well
Pro Tip: Mention the person you know in common.
Dear Mrs. Bergen,
Thank you for the gorgeous crystal bowl. It will look absolutely beautiful on our coffee table. It was so lovely to see you at the wedding—my mother always speaks so fondly of you, and Chris and I were so happy to finally meet you in person!
Scenario #4: You have no clue what the gift is
Pro Tip: Focus on the givers, rather than the mystery gift.
Dear Jane and Tom,
Thank you again for being a part of our big day, as well as for the wonderful wedding gift. It means so much to us that you traveled so far to celebrate with us. Chris and I feel lucky to count you as our friends!
Scenario #5: It’s a group gift
Pro Tip: Send individual thank-you notes to each person, but give a shout-out to the whole group.
Thank you so much for the wine fridge. It will definitely be getting a lot of use in our new home! We are so lucky to have friends who know us so well, and can’t wait to have you all over to open a bottle or two!
Scenario #6: You already have one (or you’ve already exchanged it)
Pro Tip: Don’t mention that you’ve returned or exchanged the gift—just focus on the giver and the gift itself.
Chris and I want to thank you for the wooden salad bowl. The organic design is so beautiful, and the carved salad servers are the perfect finishing touch. You have great taste! We are so happy you were able to make it to our wedding—thanks for holding down the fort on the dance floor!
Scenario #7: You hate it—but you can’t return it
Pro Tip: Don’t like the gift and so don't rave about it, but do find something positive to say!
Thank you so much for the cut crystal vase. It reminds me of the one you always had on the table during the holidays, and brings back such great memories. We are thrilled that you’ll be at our wedding, and can’t wait to celebrate with you.
Scenario #8: They sent a gift, but couldn’t come to the wedding
Pro Tip: Mention how much you wish they could have been there.
Dear Uncle Dave,
Thank you so much for the set of wine glasses. It was so kind of you to think of us! Chris and I wish you could have been there on our wedding day—it wasn’t the same without you. We’re looking forward to more opportunities to celebrate together in the future!