Just a couple of weeks after sending out your wedding invitations, the RSVPs will start to arrive...as will the wedding gifts! (Which makes checking the mail in the month before your wedding so much fun.) And, thanking each and every guest not only for giving a gift, but also for attending your wedding, is an etiquette must. Here's exactly how to nail your wedding thank yous.
Purchase thank you cards before your wedding. You'll likely be completely overcome with gratitude in the days after your wedding and will want to send thank you cards immediately, so don't put off buying them. If you like the look of the modern thank you cards that include a wedding photo, at least choose the card you'll send as early as possible; then you can quickly complete the order once you have then photos from your photographer. And, buy notes to send for shower or engagement gifts in the meantime.
Send thank yous as gifts arrive. There's no sense in waiting until you have dozens of presents to sort through.
Send them within a few weeks of your wedding. You do not have a year to send out thank-you cards — you have three months max. Start writing and mailing your notes when you get back from your honeymoon. (But don't stop sending thank-you notes even if it takes you more than three months!)
Handwrite them. We have nothing but love for e-cards, but you should break out the pens for thank you notes. So retro, right?
Send a thank you to everyone who attends your wedding. And yes, that includes people who may not have given you a gift. There's no doubt that attending your wedding involved their time (and, most likely, some money), so let them know they helped you feel special and loved.
Send photos if you can. If you have a few early prints from your photographer, include one of your portraits or a picture of yourselves with the guest you're thanking, or a great shot of the guest in the photo booth. You could also take a photo of yourselves using the gift and send that along.
Try not to stress about it too much though: Just because you're following an etiquette rule by sending thank yous doesn't mean you have to adopt an unnatural tone. Stick to conversational language that's authentically you.
Not sure what to write? Here's a thank you card breakdown that our friends at Sugar Paper LA shared with us. And, keep in mind that many of the tips below are universal and can be applied to all types of thank-you cards.
1. The greeting. Address your guests (and be sure to spell their names right).
2. The gratitude. Note: While you should say thanks for the generous gift towards your honeymoon, or a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, refrain from mentioning the amount given.
3. How you'll use it. Guests want to know they've given you something you love and can use, so thank them for giving you cash towards your first home, or for the new KitchenAid mixer you plan to use to make fresh pasta.
4. Thank them for their presence. If they were at your wedding, let them know how much you appreciate it and how nice it was to spend time with them. If they weren't at your wedding, thank them for their long-distance good wishes and let them know you hope to see them in person soon.
5. More gratitude. Finish your note with "Many thanks!" or "Thanks again!"
6. The good-bye. You can sign off with "Love" if you're comfortable, or just use a dash and then sign your names.