Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thank You Note Etiquette 101

As your wedding day comes and goes, you are without a doubt—going to receive your fair share of gifts. The most important, however, most forgotten part of a wedding are the thank you notes! It is advised to send out all thank you notes within 3 months of receiving, but it is said to be socially acceptable for up to a year following the wedding date.

While you are sure to be thankful for all of the gifts – if you do not get a head start on thank you notes it can get extremely overwhelming and stressful.  It is highly recommended to order your thank you note stationary when ordering your invitations- that way everything is all ready to go when the gifts start coming.The best thing couples (yes, couples-both the husband and wife should partake in writing the thank you notes) can do is start sending thank you’s out as soon as gifts are received. In order to tackle the somewhat tedious task it is a good idea to set a goal to write a certain amount each day.

The Stationary:
As far as the physical card goes- get creative, steer clear of generic stationary such as fill in the blanks, online website thank you blogs or pre-typed notes. Spend time on the thank you notes. If there is a general theme throughout the entire wedding- incorporate that into the stationary (i.e. if it were nautical incorporate an anchor with rope spelling out thank you, using the color scheme used in the wedding). Other great ideas include taking some pictures holding a cute sign saying thank you and having them printed on to cardstock or using the new monogram of the married couple. Get creative, have fun, sit down and design something unique to the both of you!

Simple Thank You to go along with the theme of the entire wedding.

Utilize the new monogram of you and yours, nice added touch is to get it embossed!
Use pictures on the front flap of the card, a good idea would be to have separate thank-you's  to use incase you receive gifts before had (if you don't want your groom to see you in your dress before the big day)!
Who Should Receive Thank-You’s:
Anyone who gives you an engagement, shower or wedding gift, money, attendees, people who hosted parties or showers, vendors and parents should receive a thank you note in a timely manner.

The Contents:
What to put in the thank you note can be a challenge—as tempting as it is to type a generic message on the notes, do not do it, your friends and family put effort in to buying your wonderful gifts to help get you started out, the least you can do is hand write a thank you note.

Start the thank you note off by greeting the guest (if they are around your age, it is acceptable to address them by first names).  Express that you sincerely are thankful for the gift-but do not gush over it, remember to be specific about the gift – including how you will utilize the gift (if it was money, express how it might be used such as to pay off some of the mortgage).  Thank them for attending the wedding (if they attended or thinking of them if they could not make it). It is important to promptly acknowledge the guests sending the gifts, but do not stress if you get behind because you do have a lengthy time frame to respond back. Do not use being late as an excuse, even if the 1-year anniversary has passed-- keep writing!

The Envelope:
Addressing the outside of the envelope has always been a challenge and a somewhat gray area. For families example, address envelopes as Mr. & Mrs. John Smith. For close friends, it is acceptable to use first names such as Sarah-Anne Smith. It is still proper to spell out all parts of address such as Eight King Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401, as opposed to, 8 King St. Charleston, SC 29401. It is a nice added touch to put the new couples return address on the envelope flap instead of on the front in the upper left hand corner. As far as postage goes, it is seen as tacky to use pre-paid postage or to use metered postage-the standard book of stamps is the most popular option, however, many couples are choosing to use specialty stamps or design their own custom stamps to use. It is up to you ultimately as to what you do, just define your theme and have fun with in throughout the entire process!
Custom postage to remember the day.

Return address on the back flap. 

Final Thoughts:
Your thank you note is the last impression you will leave on your family and friends-remember to send out your thank you notes, it is never too late! You always want to stay on good terms with everyone so do not worry if you got too behind or stressed out with the entire wedding process. Come up with a plan and stick to it until each and every gift you received has a thank you sent! A good idea is to establish a rule stating that you will not let yourself use the gift until a thank you note is sent out. As you complete your notes keep a handwritten or spreadsheet list so you know which ones were already mailed and which ones still need to be sent (it can get really confusing as all the gifts arrive)! When it gets overwhelming, think of all that your family and friends have done for you and yours and how thankful you are for them, it makes it all worthwhile!

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