How long do you have to send a thank you note after your wedding? What is the best way to write a thank you note for money? Is it acceptable to send an email expressing your gratitude?
Just when you think the stress of planning your big day is over, you find yourself with a pile of empty thank you notes and a pen mocking you from its resting place on your coffee table. Coffee, that sounds good! I think I'll make coffee instead of trying to tackle the task of thank you notes! By all means, brew yourself some good coffee. But before you say, "I'll think about that tomorrow," Scarlett, here are some helpful tips from us and a few etiquette pros.
- Buy thank you cards early. Living and business magnate Martha Stewart encourages engaged readers of her web site to purchase thank you cards in advance, and I couldn't agree more! Purchase your thank you cards when you decide on your invitations. If you're working with an awesome designer like this one or this one, every paper element from your wedding will flow together beautifully! Or to make your notes extra personal, we can design cards using your engagement photos. Either way, it will be easier to start writing with the cards (and stamps) waiting on you when you return from your honeymoon. Do yourself this favor!
- Be Yourself. Even the queen of etiquette, Emily Post, encouraged her 1922 readers to compose notes genuinely instead of pretentiously stating, "In writing notes or letters, as in all other forms of social observance, the highest achievement is in giving the appearance of simplicity, naturalness and force. Those who use long periods of flowered prolixity and pretentious phrases--who write in complicated form with meaningless flourishes, do not make an impression of elegance and erudition upon readers, but flaunt instead unmistakable evidence of vainglory and ignorance."
- Two-week time frame. Peggy Post, wife of Emily's great-grandson and current spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, notes in an article on the site of the institute, "Contrary to popular myth, the happy couple does not have a year's grace period." She suggests thank you notes should ideally be written within two weeks, but you may take up to three months. Peggy offers the advice for setting a daily number goal of cards to write until they are completed. Above all else, she states being late is never an excuse not to write. If you do slip behind, keep writing!
- Short but sweet. A thank you does not need to be terribly long, but it should be heartfelt. On her site, Martha Stewart suggests four to five sentences will suffice for a note of thanks. "Identify the gift, say why you appreciate it, why it has a personal meaning for you, and how you plan to use it. If the giver came to the wedding, especially from a distance, also include a sentence thanking him for attending...For cash gifts, you need not mention the dollar amount, but it's a nice touch to say how you plan to spend the money."
- Hand write, don't type. In an article for the Huffington Post, Katy Hall wrote, "Spending hundreds of dollars in plane fare, hotels and wedding gifts is one of the most generous things we do or our acquaintances. A handwritten note is not too much to expect in return." A handwritten card is such a beautiful sentiment and means so much more to the recipient than an electronic message of thanks. Suffice it to say, sending a group thank you message on Facebook does not fall within the realm of appropriate wedding etiquette. (Please, oh please, do not do this.)
I also challenge you to, as Emerson wrote, "cultivate the habit of being grateful." Writing notes of thanks is a pleasure and privilege.
From our world to yours,