Wedding thank you cards: Just when you've wrapped up your celebrating and are getting used to that new second ring on your finger, you realize you have this one last thing to do as newlyweds. While the task is often viewed as a chore, it's important to remember that this is a special way to take time out and thank those who spent your special day with you.
"Thank you notes are always appropriate, and they never go out of style," says etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore. "It is proper etiquette to send out thank you notes to let your family and friends know that you received the gift, you and your spouse appreciate the gift, and how you plan to use the gift."
Meet the Expert
- Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. She is the author of Poised for Success and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work.
Before you get started on tackling that stack of cards, check out our tips for thank you card etiquette.
Mail Thank You Cards One to Three Months After the Wedding
In the spirit of tradition, wedding thank you cards should be mailed in a timely manner, and the idea of mailing them within a year is a myth. A window of one to three months is more proper and provides ample time to ensure they are ordered, written, addressed, signed, sealed, and delivered without leaving the couple feeling overwhelmed.
If you have quite a few to complete, don't go it alone or try to cram it all into one session. Break up the process into smaller tasks, and set goals for a certain amount to do each day. Don't forget to split the "work" with your partner, too!
Set yourself up for success by creating a spreadsheet of the guest list and their addresses ahead of time.
Be Personal and Specific
As daunting as it may be, traditional etiquette stresses the importance of being specific and personal in your thank you messages. Keeping in mind that your guests devoted their time (and often, money) to celebrate with you on your special day, it is recommended that you acknowledge their specific gift, presence, etc. when writing your notes. Be sure to keep a detailed record of all gifts received and who gave them. Whitmore suggests including not only a mention of the gift you received but also including how much you appreciate the gift and how you intend to use it for truly poignant thank you cards.
For weddings with 150 guests or more, this can be very time-consuming, and more modern couples are opting for preprinted thank you cards that are more general in nature. However, for smaller affairs like bridal showers or bachelorette parties, jotting down a personal note is much easier. Regardless of your decision, guests will be grateful to receive a thank you in the mail, but remember that a little personalization goes a long way. "The thank you note does not have to be lengthy or elaborate," adds Whitmore. "But do personalize each note to each gift-giver."
Double Check You Didn’t Miss Anyone
When it comes to thank-you-card recipients, make a list and check it twice. What may seem like a simple oversight to you, and while mail errors do happen, nobody wants a valued guest to feel slighted upon not receiving a thank you message. By being organized and thorough, you can make certain you've done all you can to ensure that every person who should receive a thank you note gets one.
Be sure to do the thank you notes for your parents and bridal party first, while you are able to write the most heartfelt and genuine messages.
Send Thank You Cards to Anyone Who Gave a Gift
Anyone that gifted you a present for the upcoming nuptials should be at the top of your thank you card list. This includes any guest who could not make it but sent a gift and anyone who was not invited but gave a gift. In the case of the former, be sure to include how much they were missed at the celebration. For the latter, stick to communicating your appreciation for their thoughtful gesture but refrain from mentioning the wedding or other related events that they were not invited to.
Send Thank You Notes to Your Vendors
Who else should be on your list? Recipients should include any guest in attendance at your wedding as well as your wedding planner and all vendors. "All those who sent you a gift or contributed their time to make your event extra special should receive a thank you card," says Whitmore. "It’s also nice to send the vendors a gift (musicians, florist, caterer, etc.)"
Are thank you cards necessary?
Absolutely! Showing gratitude when someone gives you a gift or takes the time to attend your celebration is always a must.
Do you have to send thank you cards for every wedding event?
Yes, etiquette dictates that thank you cards should be sent to anyone that has given you a gift—whether that's at the wedding, bridal shower, bachelorette party, or beyond. Sending a note of appreciation to anyone who hosted or helped organize an event is also a nice gesture.
What should you include in your wedding thank you cards?
A wedding thank you card should include the recipient's name, an exclamation of your gratitude, specifics about the gifted item, mentions of how you intend to use it, any additional personal anecdotes you believe would be appreciated, and a sweet sendoff. If the gift is monetary, specify the exact amount and include details of how you will spend it.
Are digital thank you cards okay?
While we understand the pragmatism of sending a digital thank you card, most etiquette experts will advise you to continue the tradition of handwritten correspondence. Not only will this reflect more meaning and intention, but it will also ensure it doesn't get lost in someone's spam folder.