Please don't be intimidated by the
thought of writing thank you notes! If you have time to
plan beforehand, you can make life easier on yourself
when it comes time to expressing your appreciation to all
your guests for their gifts and attendance.
When to Send Your Thank You Notes
For bridal showers and other
pre-wedding events, the thank you notes should be
written within two weeks of receiving the gifts, if
For gifts received at the wedding reception, try to
have them completed within 3 months of the wedding. The
idea that you have up to a year to write your notes is
an unfortunate fallacy!
If you really are too swamped to
write your notes within these time frames, you might
consider sending pre-printed cards to lets your
guests know that you received their gifts and will follow
up with a handwritten note as soon as possible. The note
could read something like this:
Who Gets a Thank You Note?
Guests who brought or
Each person who
contributed to a group gift
Anyone who provided an
intangible item (like use of a car or other
property) or service (homemade food, helping to
decorate the reception hall)
House Party, including
the Flower Girls
Family members who
read Scripture during the ceremony
Your officiant or
Vendors who provided
A Few Rules...
Thank you notes are
written by ONE person and signed by the person who
wrote the note.
Only send pre-printed
cards to let guests know you received their gifts
and that you will follow up with a handwritten
Each gift requires its own card,
even if you receive a shower gift and a wedding gift
from the same person or family.
Use dark blue or
black ink since it is "more proper" for
correspondence and easier to read than other colors.
Mention each gift
by name in your note.
...and a Few Tips
Write your notes in a
conversational tone, as if you were thanking
the giver in person. Don't worry about trying to
dazzle your recipient with formal verse or clever
Be sure to put your new
address (if you are moving) on your envelopes
so that your guests will have your correct address.
Address your thank you
note envelopes at the same time as your
invitation envelopes so that you will have them
ready to go when the gifts start arriving.
Don't use White Out on
Organize your Guest List
Since most brides use a spreadsheet to organize their
guests' addresses and track their responses, it's a good
idea to add
a few more columns of guest information to the list to help you when you are
ready to write your thank you cards. Be sure to have a
separate row for each gift you received when they were
from different events such as engagement parties,
showers, luncheons, or the wedding.
PenDance offers a
that you can download to use as a starting point when
preparing your address list for envelope addressing. You
can add columns to this list as needed.
Be sure to ask a family member or trusted friend to be
the Gift Tracker and record all the gifts you
received at showers, parties, and the wedding. You might even put
them in charge of your guest list spreadsheet so that they
can keep it updated for you.
Some suggested columns to add to your guest
- Who invited them - the Bride, Bride's parents,
the Groom, Groom's parents?
- Did the guests participate in the wedding? If so, what
did they do?
- Which events did they attend (bridal shower, rehearsal
- Did they attend the wedding ceremony or
- List the name of the gift(s) received (be specific,
or include a description of it if you don't know the
name). Remember that each gift gets its own thank
- A column to record the date you mailed the thank you
- Additional columns for any other details you want to
remember when writing your notes
The ones who participated in the wedding planning or
actual ceremony should get longer, more personal notes
than your other guests. By noting who these people are
on the list, you can easily sort the list and choose to
write these longer notes first.
Anatomy of a Thank You Note - Sample Text
"Dear Aunt Sue and Uncle Bob,"
"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Allred,"
Make a personal remark
"John and I were so happy to see you at the
"Mary and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness
of your gift."
"David and I missed seeing you at the wedding,
but we understand that you couldn't miss your
"Dancing the Hokey-Pokey with you at the
reception was so much fun!"
Express your gratitude,
mentioning the gift by name
"Thank you so much for the crystal decanter you
gave us. It is simply stunning!"
Explain how you plan to
use or display the gift
"It is now on permanent display in the wine bar
in our den."
Thank them again
"Again, thank you so much for your
"Thank you for being a part of our celebration."
"Warmest regards, Sarah Smith"
"Yours truly, John Jones"
Date written in the
lower left corner
"February 12, 2009"
Sincerely, Regards, Kindest regards, Gratefully, Truly,
Fondly, Yours Truly, Affectionately, Warmest regards
What not to Say
Avoid starting your notes
with "Thank you for...". It sounds a bit generic.
Don't start a sentence
with "I", if possible. It is better to start with
"You..." or both of your names "Craig and I..."
If you are late with a
note, do not apologize, just write!
Now is not the time to
share news about your life such as a new job or
promotion, the hurricane that ruined your honeymoon,
etc. The thank you note is about thanking your guest for
If you receive a monetary
gift, avoid using the words "check" or "cash" in your
note. Instead, use words like "your generosity" or "your
kindness" when referring to money. You could say
"Your generous gift was so thoughtful! It will help us
purchase the new outdoor grill that John has had his eye
on at Lowes. We'll be sure to have you over for dinner
soon to test John's grilling skills!"
Never mention that you
returned their gift, you received several of the same
gift, or that it arrived damaged.
If the gift is something
that you can't stand or you don't like the color, try to
look on the positive side:
"Your gift of the bunny salt and pepper shakers that you
painted was very thoughtful. You are such a talented
artist! We'll look forward to displaying them during our
next Easter dinner."
Don't use the word "I"
more than "you." The focus of the note is on the
Avoid using the same word
(love, appreciate, thoughtfulness, etc.) more than once in the same note.